Archive for the ‘church extension’ Category

On Monday I was interviewed by Alex Johnson, a reporter for MSNBC.com about how churches are using social media.

In the interview I really tried to stress that churches really have a great opportunity to connect with their local communities (via social media), and that the conversation was taking place, with or without their official presence.  Here is the link to the full article: “For Some Churches, The Internet Clicks; for Others It Doesn’t”

social media


Much of article focuses on how different denominations and local churches have adapted to using social media.  But, the article also helps to spell out that congregations need to think through how they plan to use it.  It is not enough just to create a facebook page or to have a static website.  Instead, churches really need to think about their ‘brand’ and what messages they hope to convey to their potential audience.

As you read the article, here are some helpful questions to ask about your church’s use of Social Media:

  1. Who are we trying to target?
  2. What is our overall goal for using Social Media
  3. What messages should we try to communicate?
  4. How can we participate in the conversation, rather than just push out information? (more…)

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Social Media Magazine


With so many people interacting online through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc) more and more companies and nonprofits have begun to develop their own social media presence and brand.

Usually the entrance into social media happens through the interaction of members of the organization, and then maybe someone creates an ‘official fan page.’  But quickly (and informally), many churches and nonprofits have found themselves expanding and creating online content, without creating a full vision of how they wish to use and maintain their social media presence.

This topic has been on my mind this week after I was asked by a pastor, “Do you have or know of a good social media policy for churches?”

I had to respond by saying, “No, but if you give me a day or so, I can pull some notes from the social media policy at our office, and share them.”  So here goes… I have cut an paste a few suggestions that are good rules of thumbs if your congregation wishes to have a social media policy for its staff, operations, board, and members.

Social Media Policy


XXX (insert your church or nonprofit’s name here) encourages employees, directors and other partners to adopt social media as a means to engage others in our ministry in missional ways. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog, uploading (more…)

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Football Coach


It is funny how most of us grow up being coached in sports (soccer, tennis, football, basketball, etc.), but never think about how personal coaches can improve our work performance.

For the past five years, I have observed how coaches have made an impact in (more…)

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Today’s guest blog was written by Mary Heron Dyer, a Unity minister.   Since Mary’s becoming deaf, a main focus of her ministry is informing congregations of faith about the prevalence and effects of adult hearing loss and consulting with them about appropriate and affordable hearing assistive technologies. Mary is married to Sheryl Butler, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, and together they run www.journeyroad.org

I awoke on May 22, 2008, ready to leave the hospital after knee surgery. But something was wrong. I couldn’t hear.

(L) Mary Dyer (R) Sheryl Butler

Panicked, I rang a nurse to call my spouse Sheryl to come ASAP! As the day wore on, doctors trooped through, offering guarded opinions about my inexplicable deafness.

Home a week later, I hoped the steroids and antivirals might cure me. It soon became clear, however, I would be deaf for the rest of my life. I struggled with depression, fear, and by far the worst, isolation. For seven months everyone had to write out EVERYTHING they said to me. A true test of friendship!

I now have a cochlear implant, giving me some hearing: mostly face to face, without background noise.  Every time I go out I have to “come out” as deaf, asking people to repeat. I cannot go to non-captioned movies. I struggle with telephones. I miss nuances in conversations. (more…)

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Today’s guest blog was written by Ellen L. Mitchell. She is the Vice President for Donor, Investor and Church Relations at Church Extension.

Ellen holds the Certificate in Fund Raising Management, one of 5,300 Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE), and is a Licensed Minister within the Christian Church Disciples of Christ.  She also is currently the Stewardship Chair of her local congregation. 

picture of EllenIf your congregation had as its mission to welcome, nourish and send out people who are transforming witnesses for the love of God, would you barricade your church doors?  Probably not!

Yet each time we allow physical barriers to be a hardship for people seeking to be a part of our ministry that is what we are doing.  What are we saying when our restrooms are inaccessible? How about when those with hearing difficulties feel left out because we have not accommodated their needs to hear, understand and participate in worship or the life of the congregation?


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This past weekend, I attended the 2011 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church.  This event is the collective gathering of the denomination to worship, learn, share, and to conduct the general business of the church.

Lori Adams speaking

Hope Partnership Dinner

It was a great event and it helped to refuel my soul for the ministry that I provide for local congregations and their leaders.  Thank you so much!



From my time at Assembly, I thought I would share these news stories and links:

Additional Videos can be found at www.disciples.org/GeneralAssembly/Video/

It was a great assembly. Thank you to all who participated and to the many leaders who made it such a success!

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Meet Tashana Robinson.  She is one of our administrative assistants at Church Extension, and she is a vital part of our organization and ministry.

Tashana, like many administrative executive assistants and church secretaries, is on the front line of our organization’s ministry.  She is here to help people who call, visit, or attend one our events. And, just like a local church, she is probably the first face you will see when you walk in the door.

In your local church, you likely have a similar person who helps take calls, host visitors, and direct people to the appropriate ministry or person in the church.  This person, or staff, is likely to be vital to your ministry, and it is always good to think critically about how you select and celebrate the work of this person.

When you interview for this type of position, it is best to select someone who has a big heart and who can deal with a wide range of issues, people, and problems. In my experience, I have seen administrative staff deal with everything from payroll to feeding homeless visitors, and everything in between (phone calls, writing the newsletter, and keeping the church calendar).

If you have a great administrative person, it can mean a great deal to the efficiency and effectiveness of a church’s ministry, and the same can be true of a poorly skilled person.  Thus, be sure to critically think through who you hire for the post, and always be sure to thank them graciously for their hard work and ministry, on behalf of the church.

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Friends, I wanted to share with you the launch of the ‘Green Chalice’ program and network.

Symbol of Green Chalice

Green Chalice

The Green Chalice is a growing ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and it is designed to empower local congregation to take action in their church and community.

The Green Chalice program originally started as a ministry of the Christian Church of Kentucky (CCKY) in 2007, and since then the program has grown to include both churches, ministers, and lay leaders.  The new program will expand the Green Chalice program and network to the entire denomination (USA & Canada), and it is a joint sponsorship by Disciples Home Mission (DHM) and the region of Kentucky.

Rev. Carol Devine, of Republican Christian Church  in Cynthiana, KY will be the lead coordinator for the program, and already her work has been recognized by the KY chapter of Interfaith Power and Light.

Earlier this year, Rev. Devine was awarded the 2011 KIPPE award for her leadership and the work of CCKY in creation care.

For more information about the Green Chalice program, visit these sites:

Blog Note- Republican Christian Church is not affiliated to the national Republican political party. The church was founded in 1809, in Cynthiana KY.

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Are you a church leader looking for a ways to increase your knowledge about church finance, management, fundraising and stewardship?

If so, I would encourage you to participate in the Stewardship Academy in Nashville, TN on July 8th.

The one day academy is being sponsored by the Office of Faith and Giving, and it is being headlined by:

  • Dr. Sharon Watkins
  • Dr. Stephanie Crowder
  • Dr. Frank Thomas
  • Rev. Bruce Barkhauer
  • Dr. Richard Lower
  • Rev. Bill Thomas
  • Rev. Martha Grace Reese
  • Rev. Marily Fiddmont

I will also plan to make an appearance and the cost for the event is only $75.

For more information, check out this flyer .

You can also register at https://docgeneralassembly.webconnex.com/cfgsa11


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Last week in a meeting someone asked, “How much money should a church keep in its emergency savings account?” and it got me thinking…. what a great idea for a blog post.

In personal finance, most financial advisers will tell you to keep between 3-6 months of expenses in a rainy day or emergency cash savings account.  The reason being that if something catastrophic happened to you (such as your house burns down or you lose your job), you then have some money available to help you recover.

It makes sense…and so what about the original question.

Well, as it turns out, most financial church leaders would also advise nonprofits to keep around 6 months worth of expenses in a cash equivalent or emergency savings account.  The same idea applies, and the purpose of this money is to cover general operating expenses in the event of an emergency. This way the church knows it has money set aside to help cover payroll, mortgage payments, and other expenses.

Now let me be clear, this money is not to used for operations, and it should be set aside in a separate account (protected).

In best practices, this money is usually invested in an account that is very safe, accessible, and that offers limited risk.  Some churches will invest this money within their church denomination’s extension fund (like Church Extension), a money market account, or a savings account.  It is not smart to put this money in a stock account or other investment vehicle that has risk or that takes multiple days to transfer.

Beyond the general 6 month rule, the following other factors can be considered:

  • Is there a way to use this money to help the church’s financial goals?
  • Does the church have a large amount of debt that may cause this amount to be higher? (more…)

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