Tag Archive | church

Why You Should Attend Discovery Weekend

IMN’s second Acts 2 Journey (A2J) Discovery Weekend is scheduled for June 28 – 29, 2013.  I would strongly encourage you and your leadership team to attend this free weekend.  Why?

  1. Discovery Weekend provides a free opportunity to “test drive” A2J.  You will come away with an assessment of your church’s health and you’ll have plenty to discuss with your leadership team.
  2. It’s an opportunity to meet with your team, providing a shared experience and a common vocabulary to help you steward the leadership of your local church.
  3. Registration is free.  And that includes the lunch on Saturday. (Transportation and lodging are the church’s responsibility.)
  4. The lead pastors and spouses meet with Ron McManus on Friday from 1 to 6 pm to hear some great insights about healthy churches.
  5. The vision team (6-15 leaders you’ve chosen from your church) meets with Ron on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.
  6. You and your team can decide whether to participate in the A2J following Discovery Weekend.
  7. Scholarships are available through AG Trust for church’s under 100 in Sunday morning attendance at the start of A2J.
  8. Your vision team will develop your mission, vision, values and action steps to become all that God intends you to be.
  9. Some of your friends have already experienced A2J, and they can give you more information (1st Generation A2J churches include Adel Fusion, Algona Faith, Creston River of Life, Iowa City First, Muscatine First, Mason City First, New Sharon, Newton First, Oskaloosa First, Sioux City Central, Sioux City First).  Feel free to contact the pastors of these churches to get a first-hand account of the experience and the results.
  10. You can discover more at http://www.healthychurchnetwork.com.

Please contact the IMN office (515-276-5493) or email me (tjacobs@imnag.org) for more information.


Service Transitions

Service transitions can be tricky – here are some great thoughts.

IMN Communications

One of the wonderful and scary things about church leadership is that the weekend is always coming. Once your head hits the pillow Sunday evening and you have a chance to get a good night’s sleep, it’s time to start planning for the next weekend. Each weekend brings another opportunity for your church to impact your community; another possibility for lives to be changed; another moment to connect with people.

And another service full of transitions.

Transitions can be one of the most frustrating aspects of service planning for leaders. Everything can be going along smoothly and then a shaky transition can make everyone feel uncomfortable and distracted. Nothing can cause a service to lose momentum quite like 30 seconds of dead air while someone scrambles to the stage. However, the best transitions during service are those that no one even notices. Here are a few things to keep in…

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Break the Egg

by Tom Jacobs

In 1752, artist William Hogarth created an engraving titled “Egg of Columbus.”  The piece depicts a story told by Girolamo Benzoni in his Historia del Mondo Nuovo.  While eating a meal together, several of Columbus’ detractors began to comment that any number of other people could have found their way to the New World and that Columbus’ feat was unremarkable because of its simplicity.  Columbus replied that it was only easy now that he had demonstrated how it was done, and by way of an example, he challenged anyone present to stand an egg on its end.  After all those attempting the feat had admitted defeat, Columbus demonstrated the simplicity of the challenge by crushing one end of the egg.  Placing the crushed end on the table, he stood the egg on its end.

This messy illustration reveals a vital truth.  Many tasks or visions seem impossible if they are seen with limited perspective.  Often times, we fail to think of “breaking the egg” because that approach has never been attempted.

I love the story of the four friends of the lame man, in Mark 2:2-5.  The men knew that their friend would be healed if they could just get past the crowd and bring him to Jesus.  They didn’t allow the crowd or the obstacles to dissuade them.  They broke the egg . . . or, the roof and lowered the man into Jesus’ presence.

What project or problem are you currently facing?  Let me encourage you to ask God to help you to be creative in your pursuit of His will in your situation.  Ask God if there are eggs that you need to break.  Is there a new way to look at the same old problems?  We are surrounded by people who are far away from God.  If we are going to reach people we have never reached, we may need to do things we have never done.

Let’s break the egg!

Resolve: World Missions

by Don McGarvey

A New Year: with it comes hope, new ideas, new faces, new challenges and a fresh resolve that this is going to be the best year ever. It can be so for your World Missions ministry as well as every other aspect of life in your church if you consider these four steps:

1. Start off by doing what King Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:3. He “resolved to pray” in order to learn what God’s strategy was to save Judah from their enemies.

2. Get someone to help you do this. We were not created to be alone.  We need to find others to join us as we follow after the strategies of the Spirit.

3. Check out the following web site for some great ideas: www.mat.ag.org  All the resources are free, downloadable and ready to use.

4. Incorporate the idea of sharing the Gospel down the street and around the world in your sermons, teaching and organizational meetings. You can find some great illustrations at the following web site: www.worldmissions.ag.org  As  others see and hear your resolve, they will begin to get serious and develop a new resolve of their own to reach the lost.

Very few good things just happen. Most good things happen because we have made up our minds to make them so. If you resolve that this is going to be the best year ever for World Missions in your church, it will be so!

Importance of Process

by Don McGarvey

Have you discovered times when the process is more important than the outcome of the process?

The four-fold mission of Assemblies of God World Missions is reaching, planting, training and touching in the spirit of Luke 4:18 “preach to the poor, proclaim freedom to prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind and release the oppressed.”

Too often we become consumed with how much money we give to World Missions, how many missionaries we support or how many missions trips we can go on, all while missing the heart of our mission.

Raising money, supporting missionaries, and going on missions trips are great! But more importantly, we need to catch the vision for partnering with our missionaries to reach, plant, train and touch.

One step you can take toward casting this vision to your church is to recruit a missions team for your church. This team doesn’t need to be large. It can simply be a few church members who have a heart for missions and are committed to getting the church involved in missions projects that are consistent with the personality of your church.

Assemblies of God World Missions offers many tools to assist you in this process. You can find sermon resources, monthly videos and much more on their website.

Please feel free to contact me, mcgarvey.don@gmail.com if I can assist you in this important process.

Process: The Who, When, Where and How of Counting

by Brad Thomas

When it comes to tithes and offerings, it is important for church leaders to set forth a process.

Who Counts

The church board should appoint two or more trustworthy people to act as a counting team, usually selected from among the ushers and leadership team. In selecting counters for the counting team, consider these safeguards:

  • Church leaders should select and train a sufficient number of people to allow for absences and to alternate counters.
  • The first counting of the offering should not involve the church treasurer, bookkeeper or those who help keep the financial records and/or spend the money.
  • It is not recommended that the pastor, church treasurer or bookkeeper take the offerings home and count and deposit them in the bank the next working day. This presents problems of security, possible physical harm for the person carrying the money and possible accusations against the person’s reputation should any money be missing.

When to Count

Churches count their offerings at varying times.

  • During the service. Some churches choose to count the offering during the worship service, directly after it is received. All envelopes are checked for accuracy, a bank deposit slip is prepared and an appropriate offering count form is prepared and signed by the persons who count the offering. when possible, the offering is placed in the church safe and deposited in the bank night depository by a designated person on Sunday evening or Monday morning.
  • After the service. Another option is to place the received offering on the communion table or in a secure place (sch as a bank bag, cash box or the church safe) until the end of the worship service. Members of the counting team can count the offering at the church following each service. Once the money has been counted, if bank bags are used, they may be placed in a secure place or in the bank’s night depository.
  • Sunday afternoon or the next day. In this option, all the ushers assist in preparing a preliminary count immediately following the collection of the offerings. They do not take the time to open the envelopes or prepare a bank deposit slip. Instead, they simply prepare an offering count form and sign it. The offering is then placed in the church safe and thoroughly counted on Sunday afternoon or the next day by the counting team.

Where to Count

Offerings counted at the church should be counted in a safe, locked room that has no windows where counters can be seen by people on the street. Where modern security services are available, a security viewer should be installed in the door to allow the counters to identify anyone who knocks at the door. The door should never be opened to strangers. The room should be quiet and well lighted for efficiency in counting and should be supplied with an adding machine, paper, pens, offering count forms and bank deposit slips. Some banks offer such a room for their customers to use in counting offerings. A large church may call for volunteers from the congregation to meet at the bank on Monday morning to count the Sunday offerings. Smaller, more rural churches can take different, yet equally effective measures to provide the optimum level of security for their needs.

How to Count

  • Open all offering envelopes, comparing names, amounts and designations with the donor’s writing on the outside. Note any discrepancies on the offering count form.
  • Separate all currency and coins, stacking them according to denomination (dimes, quarters, one-dollar bills, etc.). Count and record the amounts on the cash count form. A second counter should count the coins and currency and verify the totals of the first count. Differences should be settled by the counters.
  • Separate all checks and other negotiable instruments. Prepare an adding machine tape with totals of check amounts. Endorse the back of each check with a rubber stamp that reads, “For Deposit Only at [name of bank], [church’s name, address and account number].” Record the total of checks and other negotiable instruments on the offering count form.
  • Record any special designations and respective amounts on the offering count form, including a list of any goods-in-kind donated.
  • Prepare an adding machine tape with the total of all currency, coins, checks and negotiable instruments. This figure represents the total of the offering excluding any goods-in-kind.
  • Prepare an adding machine tape of the amounts recorded on the offering count form. Re-check and settle any differences.
  • Prepare a deposit slip for the bank deposit. The total being deposited must equal the total of the offering count form.
  • Complete the offering count form. The counters should verify the count by initialing the form.
  • Send copies of the offering count form and bank deposit slip to the church treasurer and bookkeeper. Some pastors also want a report of the amount of each offering. Give empty envelopes to the church secretary for posting to the record of individual giving.
  • Hold any offerings received in the church office during the week and place them in the next church service offering; or deposit them separately in the bank account after the church secretary (not the bookkeeper or church treasurer) prepares an offering count form and deposit slip. Copies of these should be sent to the bookkeeper and treasurer as well.

For more information about church finances,  on December 3, from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM we will offer a Minister & Church Tax & Finance class taught by Brad Thomas, CPA, Iowa Ministry Network Business Administrator. The class will cover proper completion of tax forms for health care premium refund, updates and review of important tax and finance information and a discussion on reducing workers comp costs. The cost will be $25 for the first person; $15 for each additional person from the same church. To register for this class, download this form and return it to the Iowa Ministry Network office by November 30, 2011.

Renewed Communication

The way we communicate has changed. No longer are we limited to the phone and mail to disseminate information. Now we can communicate through several mediums, utilizing their individual strengths and weaknesses to communicate effectively. Church is not immune to these changes. Although it can feel confusing and frustrating to change the way we communicate, these new avenues open up a world of possibilities! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you assess how your church communicates.

Say more with less. In this digital age, people have access to a plethora of information literally at their fingertips. This access can easily turn into information overload, so people pay attention to pertinent information communicated concisely. In written communication, be sure to edit not only for grammar and punctuation, but also for conciseness.

Develop a brand. As ministers, we often cringe when we think about communicating the Gospel using marketing terms. However, in order to make sure your voice is recognizable in a world with so much noise, it’s important to develop a consistent look. Choose a logo, 2-3 colors and a text and heading font that all complement one another and stick with it. Keep it simple and consistent. The more you develop your brand, the more clearly your voice will be heard.

Remember your manners. Although in some ways the rules for communication have changed, some things have not. It’s still important to use correct grammar and proofread. With the ease of digital communication, sometimes we are able to communicate too quickly for our own good, so be sure to read what you write before posting or sending. In the world of visual communication, USING THE CAPS LOCK IS THE EQUIVALENT OF YELLING, AND IT’S EVEN MORE SERIOUS WHEN BOLD! Avoid using the caps lock. Instead bold important dates or pieces of information for emphasis.

Consider new avenues. Nearly 85% of visitors will check out a church’s website before actually going to church. It’s important to have an online presence in your community. If you don’t have the time or resources to develop a detailed website, you can put together a church website for free here. Provide information about your staff, service times, location and a brief overview of what you believe. Keep your communication simple, clear and up-to-date. Setting up a Facebook page, Twitter account or moving your bulletins to an email service like Mailchimp can add to your online presence. Remember to keep your branding consistent with your online communication by using similar colors, fonts and language.

Although the way we communicate has changed, our message has not. We have the unique opportunity to utilize so many great resources to connect people with a Father who loves them!

This blog was originally posted at the brand new IMN Communications Blog where you can get information about church communications.