Hey Fletch … Questions & Issues

/Hey Fletch … Questions & Issues
Hey Fletch … Questions & Issues 2018-02-20T14:11:52+00:00

Ask a Question or Note an Issue

No personal data, church name or other identifying information will be posted about you or your church. Contact David using the button in the lower right hand corner of any XPastor page. When this page opens, all posts are listed chronologically. Click on a category to filter areas.

Some Want Others than the Senior Pastor to Create Vision 2018-02-20T14:42:28+00:00

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am a Senior Pastor here in Australia. We just formulated an Executive Pastor role description. I have operated as ‘leader of the leaders’ in terms of bringing values and vision. Some of the leadership wants us to operate as a level team—no leader of that group. The vision and values would equally arise from anyone in that group. Thoughts?

DRF—I would offer three items to consider: First, walk slowly. It may be time to add a new role in the church, or that may cause more rancor.

Second, grow the spiritual breath and biblical thinking of the new leaders. Accept as a working hypothesis their managerial input and advice. As our ethic is Jesus’ Kingdom, the church is more than “good business.” We should never settle for “poor business,” nor should we forget that our first priority is to “love others as Christ has loved us.” Before you get an answer to the church vision question, ensure that the leadership team is spiritually mature.

Third, get a good coach to work with you. There may be someone in your denominational headquarters. There may be another pastor near you. In this season, get competent outside advice every week—and let me emphasize “every week!”

In some churches, a leader other than the Senior Pastor creates vision. It isn’t common though. The issues that you raise are deeper than “who.” I would take plenty of time to explore the “why.”

HR Policy and Best Practices 2018-02-19T17:02:08+00:00

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hey Doc … Our church isn’t of a size to yet need an HR person on staff. Yet, I need help on HR policy and best practices. Our state has lots of laws and I don’t want to run afoul of them.

DRF—Contact your church insurance company. Many have ample resources to help you stay clear of personnel problems. I’m amazed at how much information a good agent can give you at no cost. At some point, do an HR audit. Hire a professional to audit your policy and practices. This may cost anywhere from $1,00-3,000 but it would be money well spend. The audit will produce a task list to bring your church up to state and federal requirements. Then the “fun” of implementation begins! If you need help on an HR audit, contact me.

We Had a Narcissist on Staff 2018-02-18T19:43:13+00:00

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m on the other side of the international date line from you, but church issues are the same the world over. We had a Narcissist on our staff and ruined staff and congregational morale. Can you give advice on how we can heal?

DRF—I’m so sorry to hear of your trouble. One definition of a Narcissist is “a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. Narcissists think the world revolves around them.” Check out the Wikipedia page, especially the provocative painting of Narcissus by Caravaggio. As you now know, dealing with a Narcissist is a high challenge. The damage in your church will take many moons to heal. If you don’t know Ken Sande’s book, ‘The Peacemaker,’ it would make a good read.

To deal with the hurt and pain, you may need to lead a time of confession in your church. Ken gives 7 A’s of a Confession: Address everyone involved. Avoid if, but, and maybe. Admit specifically. Acknowledge the hurt. Accept the consequences. Alter your behavior. Ask for forgiveness.

Over time, you can instill a culture of peace, but it takes a great deal of work.

Criticizing Others Is a Reflection of My Insecurities 2018-02-17T15:41:46+00:00

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Criticizing others is a reflection of my insecurities

DRF—Nick Carraway, the narrator of ‘The Great Gatsby’ quoted his father: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” God has given us all so many gifts. Why carp about others?

We are insecure and hope to feel better by belittling them. My sharp criticism says more about me than about their actions. A better way is to deeply enjoy the security that Jesus offers. 

“Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:29-30 NET Bible®.

Church Grows from 300 to 2,000 in 5 Years 2018-02-16T15:35:51+00:00

February 17, 2018

Hey David … We have grown from 300 to 2,000 in less than 5 years. Our original Executive Pastor job description was for a smaller church. What do you have as examples of Executive Pastor Job descriptions. What services do you have available for coaching an XP?

DRF—Everyone wants your problem! It’s wonderful. Massive growth is an enormous challenge. You have blown through the culture levels of 600 and 1,200 attenders. Here is a ministry description for an XP of a church of 3,500. When you get to that size, the role description tends to be broad. Specifics go into annual strategic goals and tactical plans, which are highly specific and change from year to year. Other job descriptions can be found here.

I would be pleased to talk about personalized coaching. My style is to do 6 and 12 month engagements. There are specific things that the Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor and Elders need to do … and they radically change when attendance goes from 300 to 2,000 to 3,500.

Lifetime Salary from a Church 2018-02-15T18:53:30+00:00

February 16, 2018

Hey Fletch … A guy just told me that he has a lifetime salary from his church. What are your thoughts about that kind of retirement plan?

DRF—In a GuideStone presentation at the XP-Seminar, one year we learned about Rabbi Trusts. They are valid unless the church goes bankrupt. I never thought that I would hear about it again. According to news reports, the Rev. Robert Schuller learned a hard lesson when the Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy and apparently he lost his retirement.

Though different from a Rabbi Trust, a pastor that receives a “lifetime salary” could be headed for future trouble. I would be wary and would consult an attorney and financial advisor about the concept. My preference is to provide cash for a church sponsored retirement plan for all staff. 

Who Creates the Vision in a Church 2018-02-14T22:15:51+00:00

February 15, 2018

Hey Fletch … I would love to know if you have any further comments on the Elder Job Description on XPastor. I’m interested your ideas on the role of discerning and setting vision. Is this with the Senior Pastor who then shares with the elders, or is it with all the Elders?

DRF—There isn’t one-size fits all. Some churches have a shared style of creating vision. Many have the Senior Pastor create the vision and then have the Elders processes it and (hopefully) agree with it. Some churches have other leaders, such as the Executive Pastor, create the vision—then often the Senior Pastor shares it from the pulpit.

I’m coaching a guy currently on this. Part of our time over the next several months will be talking through how to do it best in their church. Each church and circumstance is unique.

Cancel an Obligation for an Exciting Invitation? 2018-02-13T22:08:08+00:00

February 14, 2018

Hey Doc … This is a big one. I have some obligations next week at church and they can’t be moved. But now I just received an exciting out-of-town invitation with an important person in our church. What should I do?

DRF—Jesus said, “ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ.” I’m giving you Matthew 5:37 in Greek because the truth it is like a foreign truth to us. The translation is: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no.’” If you have made obligations, and can’t in good conscience cancel them, then you must keep them. Tell the “important person” that your ‘yes’ is a ‘yes,’ that you gave your word. Psalm 15:4 says, “He makes firm commitments and does not renege on his promise” or in the NIV, “who keeps an oath even when it hurts.” NET Bible®

It hurts to not do the exciting thing. It will hurt you more to dishonor your commitments. The right kind of people will see that you honor your word. They will want to hang out with you and extend more invitations in the future.

When You Leave, Don’t Burn Bridges 2018-02-12T20:24:32+00:00

February 13, 2018

Hey David … When you recently moved on from your church, you sent out a “keeping you in the loop” email. It was short, factual, upbeat and didn’t throw anyone under the bus. Just wanted to let you know that yesterday I changed jobs (in business) and that I followed your lead.

DRF—Thanks for the encouragement! Emulation is the highest form of praise. When you leave a ministry or business job, don’t burn bridges. As Jesus said, “bless and curse not.” What you will remember is your response, words and actions. In two years you will forget much of the joys and pains of a farewell, but will remember who you befriended or belittled. The words of Jesus have so much application today!

Growing a Small Church in Africa 2018-02-11T18:10:05+00:00

February 12, 2018

Hey Doc … I have just been posted to a very small church in Africa, just 15 older people. What should I do to help grow the little church? What are some of the workable principles to getting the church to grow?

DRF—You are asking a huge question there. The great thing about retired people is that they have more time than working people. Here are a couple of ideas: 1) make your church as friendly as possible. Teach everyone to get to know newcomers, inviting them to lunch. 2) Though you have an older congregation, have a working nursery! Make sure it is clean and ready for a young couple. Staff it with some grandmothers! Love on those young moms. 3) Preach the clear and compelling gospel of Christ. 4) Talk about your church on social media. Be prepared for visitors and let them feel loved. God’s best to you in Africa!

The Church Moves at Glacial Speed 2018-02-17T15:42:45+00:00

Sunday, February 11

The church moves at glacial speed

DRF—This is so unfair to glaciers! Churches can move slower than sheets of ice. This is especially true when hiring staff or implementing changes. Weeks and months can pass and nothing happens. Then, like a glacier calving an iceberg, there is a flurry of action. With an announcing ‘boom,’ everything seems to happen at once. A better way is to set an orderly process of casting vision, planning, communication and process-implementation.

Sunday is for Aphorisms

‘Aphorism’ from the Greek ἀφορισμός—a delimitation, distinction, definition. A terse saying, laconic and in memorable form, expressing a general truth or principle; an astute observation.

Defining Church Interns 2018-02-09T21:58:44+00:00

February 10, 2018

Hey David … Do you have anything on internships. What to expect out of an intern and expectations of me as the Student Pastor?

DRF—We don’t have much in the way of job descriptions. I don’t know why, as over the years we have had so many paid and non-paid interns. The best practice is, if you use the term “intern” then make it a learning internship. If the situation is really “unpaid labor” or “cheep and abused labor” then expect trouble sometime in the future. Have a clearly defined role description. Pay a fair wage and don’t expect free overtime (as in, that’s illegal). Teach, instruct and mentor the intern. Give them lots of hand-on experiences. Send me a role description when you have one and I’ll post it for the XPastor tribe.

No Response to Emails 2018-02-09T21:58:34+00:00

February 9, 2018

Hey Fletch … Some of our junior staff are terrible at responding to emails. They say, “our generation likes texts.” One staff member took a month to get me his annual review. 

DRF—Well, you could see how fast they respond to an email about a possible raise … milliseconds perhaps? Consider that if they are not responding to you, how will a parent feel about an youth group emergency. Email is the primary means of business communication. Use texts for quick communication. You need to do training on email and text etiquette with your staff.

Here are some of my rules for staff. 1) All emails get a response within one business day. 2) Responses can be as brief as “I got it and will get back to you soon.” 3) When people don’t respond to emails, I remind them that they may not be getting a paycheck either. 4) When you go to bed with an empty inbox, you sleep better.

Great Books 2018 2018-02-09T21:58:25+00:00

February 8, 2018

Hey Fletch … When are you going to post your annual list of recommended books? Don’t you do it right before the XP-Seminar?

DRF—Nothing gets by you, friend! Yes, for each of our 14 annual XP-Seminars we cull the world for great books on personal enrichment, management and leadership. The current year’s books are available at the XP-Seminar Free Book Table. Here are the books, covers and descriptions from 2005 to 2018. As the Spanish philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás (known as George Santayana in English) wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Read, grow, learn from others!

You Are Not a Pastor 2018-02-09T21:58:14+00:00

February 7, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m a hurtin’ puppy in Oklahoma right now. Got my tail between my legs. A fellow pastor on staff came into my office and said, “You are not a Pastor. Pastors should do this and that, and you don’t do those things.” I know I should be tough and let it roll off, but it came from a guy on staff.

DRF—That’s a bummer on steroids. Part of the fall of humanity is that we see things through our own rose colored glasses. We want others to be just like us. What a boring world it would be if everyone was just like everyone else. There are three key words in the New Testament for church leaders: shepherd, overseer and elder. Your role has more of the overseer and elder, and his has a lot more shepherding. The New Testament doesn’t say one is better than the other, just different. Hang in there and let him see that you do function in all three roles, even if the majority of your work is as an overseer and elder. Spend some time with him. Serve him and see if perhaps he was speaking out of some personal pain.

Live Translation of a Worship Service 2018-02-07T08:58:09+00:00

February 6, 2018

Hey Fletch … Is anyone out there successfully using a system that will allow a church to broadcast a Spanish speaking translator to our congregation? Their desire is to sit in on our live service, rather than attend a Spanish speaking service. We would prefer not to distribute devices but rather have them stream a signal to their cell phone or tablet with a set of earbuds.

DRF—I love this question! Thanks for writing back and saying: “We’ll be testing a device that promises to be a very good fit.  A little pricey, but just what we’re looking for with expandability. The recommendation came from a person in our church.” If you go with it, write an article about the journey. That is valuable!

Weekly Financial Reporting 2018-02-06T20:42:27+00:00

February 5, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m working my way through the Finance 1 course on XPastor. There was a spreadsheet in class 5 on “offerings received” with an accompanying analysis of current week versus the income budget. More broadly, I’m looking for resources to help our finance reporting so anything you may be able to share with me would be greatly appreciated!

DRF—My favorite reporting mechanism is a 52 row spreadsheet, one line for each week. Here are the titles for the columns: Weekly Donations, Weekly Budgeted Donations, Weekly Delta. You can add more columns if you want to see year-to-date actual and budget deltas. I sent you the full sample file, enjoy! Remember: keep the data in your financial reports manageable. Don’t drown in a sea of meaningless data. 

New Donor Email is a Mess 2018-02-04T17:22:43+00:00

February 4, 2018

Hey Doc … Our new giver email is a mess. I clicked on a link and got a 404—page not found. The fonts are all strange for people who get it. Help!

DRF—An email to a new donor needs to be pristine. This is how newcomers see your! I’d suggest that you get a wordsmith to help on the text. Then, place that text in one master document. Select all and change the typeface to the same font and size. Check and double check all the links. A 404 happens when the link goes to a non-existent page. 

We recently got a quote from a company that had the link: “Click here to see that we are Number 1 in the industry!” When I went to the review by an independent company, the firm was rated number 2. Oops, so much for bragging and not checking links!

A new donor email should be reviewed every six months. Check the text for it being fresh and up-to-date. Input the latest ministry story. Click all the links! Then copy the text all at once to your email. Different fonts happen when you copy from multiple sources.

Elder Role Descriptions 2018-02-04T16:26:24+00:00

February 3, 2018

Hey Fletch … When we have our coaching call later today, can we talk about role descriptions for elders?

DRF—Few churches lay out a role description for their elders (or deacons, trustees or other governing board titles). I’m a fan of listing the scope, essential elements, constitutional demands, expectations, delegated responsibilities, etc. List what elders do and what they don’t do. Here’s a great example that I helped create when we served in Dallas. I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas and talking about what best fits your church.

Finding Über-Techs 2018-02-01T08:09:59+00:00

February 2, 2018

Hey Fletch … We need some über-techs for a short project. Are there super-users or trainers on the following platforms that we could pay to write a key stroke script? The platforms are Shelby Arena, Shelby Next, Shelby V5, ACS, Elexio or Planning Center. We will pay good money for the work and need your help.

DRF—I’m not aware of any ‘public’ internet boards to post this need. It doesn’t fit the XPastor Job Boards which are for full-time jobs. I did forward it to my secret cadre of tech wizards who have a ‘private’ network. As you are going to create scripts on as many platforms as possible, you may need different specialists. Many churches also have this need on a project-by-project basis.

The ‘Hey Fletch’ column never prints names or locations. If a reader knows an über-tech, they can contact me through the green button—lower right screen.

Recording Songs in the Worship Service 2018-01-31T09:59:09+00:00

February 1, 2018

Hey Fletch … Someone suggested that we record some songs during our worship service and create a CD from them. Any thoughts on this?

DRF—Off the top of my head, I can think of three issues. First, you will have to pay royalties if you perform a published song (see a lawyer). If the song was created in-house, you will want to have an IP agreement in place, if you want the composer to be paid. Second, there are plenty of technical challenges. These can be contained in a studio, but your worship space may have mixing and recording issues. Have you thought about noise from the crowd? Third, to sell a CD requires a market that wants to buy it. What will be your unique edge that will encourage someone to pay $9.99 or $14.99 for your music?

Just Got Dissed in an Email 2018-01-30T09:41:52+00:00

January 31, 2018

Hey David … This one is personal and hard to write. I just got an email that seems to say that I wasn’t on a project any longer. I’m totally shocked. I thought that I was the project leader and now they are bringing in another person. I’m pretty mad and hurt. Thoughts for me?

DRF—In reading your email, your Senior Pastor didn’t say much, just two lines. What he said was ambiguous. It all turns on one verb. The email was as clear as mud. I’d suggest not attributing motive or making an accusation. Why don’t you just reply with a simple question, such as, “Could you expand on your thoughts?” 

Follow up—So, the Senior Pastor clarified his thoughts and his original email was poorly worded. Instead of ousting you, he was trying to laud your leadership. Email is tricky as the fingers sometimes type faster than the brain thinks. Here are take-away principles: Ask simple questions for clarification. Don’t assume motive. Don’t return fire with fire. Treat others as you want to be treated.

Criteria for a Usable Website 2018-01-30T09:42:36+00:00

January 30, 2018

Hey Prof … I’m in XPastor’s class on Church Communication—Ops 102 and doing the assignment on church websites. Here are the criteria that I’m using to evaluate a usable website: Staff, Locations & Directions, Service Times, Service Recordings, Live Streaming, Contact Information, Statement of Faith, Social Media Links, Favicon, Search Capability, Events Calendar, Online Giving, Mobile Friendly (responsive or not), Search Engine Results, Updated Content and a Members Portal/App.

DRF—Those are fantastic criteria to evaluate a church website. Mama and Papa are looking for those things when they consider a visit to a church. For example, some churches seem to be embarrassed about their staff and have the pages hidden under obscure menu names or buried deep in the site.

Great work here! Church Communication—Ops 102 is helping you with a key item in the church, communications!

Am I Underpaid? 2018-01-30T09:43:36+00:00

January 29, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m trying to get a handle on my compensation. Is it fair? Am I underpaid? Please give some advice on comparable salaries for my role.

DRF—There are some great online tools that you can use. Christianity Today’s Salary Survey, MinistryPay and Leadership Network (for large churches).

XPastor has a Compensation Survey. I’m right in the middle of indexing the numbers for 2018 inflation. Most folks have found our numbers are right on the mark for their size church.

For churches in the south in your size range, the average salary for your role is $77,500.

Technical Director and Tech Engineer 2018-01-30T09:43:31+00:00

January 28, 2018

Hey Dr. Fletcher … I’m a pastor in charge of media ministry in our church in Africa. Please, is there a job description for a technical team, video team and multimedia team?

DRF—I’m so glad that XPastor is helping you across the ocean and that we get to connect. Let me send you sample job descriptions for a Technical Director and Tech Engineer. They aren’t posted on the site yet and I hope that you can adapt them for use. God’s best in your work … we are all on the same team serving Christ.

Creating a Ministry Description 2018-02-04T16:36:02+00:00

January 27, 2018

Hey Doc … My Presiding Bishop is looking to create a role for someone to visit churches inside and outside our organization. This person would stand in for the Bishop when he is unable to be at events and conferences. Do you have any suggestions for a role description and title?

DRF—Sounds like a wonderful role for the right person. XPastor does not have a job description on file for such a role … my thoughts for creating it would be:

    1. Create a role description that has the scope of what you expect and empower the person to do.
    2. Have percentages of time for each of the major sections.
    3. Limit the role description to one page. Focus on strategic areas and don’t get bogged down in tactical details.
    4. Get lots of buy-in on the role from the Bishop and others on the team, so that everyone is on board with the scope and major aspects.

As for the name, I’d suggest a title that shows the representative nature of the role. Perhaps, Executive Liaison or Staff Officer for the Bishop. Let me know how you craft the role and the title you choose.

Who Needs an XP? 2018-01-30T09:43:20+00:00

January 26, 2018

Hey Fletch … What is the best way to convince a strong Senior Pastor of the necessity for creating an XP role at the church?

DRF—The answer is “complexity.” Strong Senior Pastors understand that! Churches of all sizes deal with complex budgets, the Affordable Care Act, ministry strategy, child safety, security to prevent an active shooter, hiring and termination, legal issues, staff culture, ministry best practices, etc. On “complexity” check out this interview I had with Matt Branaugh of Christianity Today. 

Dan Reiland wrote on XPastor, ‘Who Needs an Executive Pastor, Anyway?’ It is a short and to the point summary of the need. Dan wrote that in 2014. Due to ever increasing “complexity,” in 2018 we are now see the role in ⅔ of churches with between 500-1000 people in worship. I’m still boggled at that statistic. Ask your Senior Pastor how “complexity” has affected your church.

Staff Culture 2018-01-30T09:43:13+00:00

January 25, 2018

Hey David … We are wanting to get a feel for how our staff is doing. What can you suggest? We want to understand how our staff feel and get a handle on our staff culture.

DRF—I’m coaching an XP who just did a survey with the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. They got plenty of useful data points from the survey. It was incredibly helpful for them. Take a look at their site and see if it is a fit for you. 

We just posted an article on XPastor from William Vanderbloemen on ‘Creating an Irresistible Workplace.’ That is a must read article, excerpted from his book, ‘Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace.’ William will be doing a workshop on ‘How To Establish Your Staff Values & Build A Winning Team Culture’ at the 2018 XP-Seminar in February. 

Finally, check out the free online Culture Conference that Generis & Vanderbloemen Search Group have produced.

Elder Decisions in a Church of 600 2018-02-09T21:57:47+00:00

January 24, 2018

Hey Doc … We have grown to a church of 600. Lately some of our Elders are asking, “Why did you two (the SP and XP) make this or that decision? I thought that we Elders were leading the church?”

DRF—One of the challenges of church growth is changes in situational leadership. The decisions that an Elder Board can make in a church of 200 is different from a church of 600, and will be even more different if your church grows to 1,200 or 2,400. I would suggest that you have a conversation and get elder input on that—what exactly do they want to decide and why?

As churches grow, Governing Boards need to set vision, policy and make strategic decisions. They need to empower staff to carry out vision and to take tactical action. A church plant is like an infantry platoon—small, mobile and with direct access to leadership. As an army grows, you need officers to carry out the leadership vision of the Pentagon.

Church Finance 101 2018-01-30T09:43:01+00:00

January 23, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’m looking over this PDF that you taught at Dallas Seminary on Church Finance 101. Could you send me the full copy of this topic?

DRF—For several years, I gave that lecture on “Basics of Church Finance.” The 36 slides in the PDF constitute the entire lecture. I enjoyed giving the talk because the audience was so unaware of the issues. They came alive when they learned the upsides of good accounting and then unglued when paying for Social Security was explained to them. 

Church Finances is an enormous area. To help understand it, XPastor created 10 classes in Church Finances, Part 1 and another 10 classes in Church Finances Part 2. Issues range from cash to invoices, from expense reporting to audits, from insurance to legal issues.

Salaries in the Pacific Northwest 2018-01-30T09:42:47+00:00

January 22, 2018

Hey Prof … This is a hard question. Can you give me some guidance on what kind of salary I might expect as a Senior Pastor of a church in the Pacific Northwest? It has about 1,000 in worship.

DRF—XPastor’s Compensation Survey has churches in the west near that attendance. The salary range goes from $64,000 to $132,000. That’s a wide gap but when you look at all the salaries for each church, it makes sense. I like a salary survey that shows me all the major salaries in a church, that way I get the data and the big picture.

Website Not Scaling Graphics 2018-02-04T16:41:47+00:00

January 21, 2018

Hey Fletch … We are having some website trouble. It looks great on a desktop monitor but some of our pages are awful on a tablet or cell. Can you take a look at our site and give us some coaching?

DRF—We were overseas one summer and a friend went to the doctor with stomach pains. The doctor said, “you’ve got bugs.” Your site has “bugs.” The banners on your home page are 950 pixels wide and not scaling to smaller sizes. Your staff photos are in a table that has the first column acting like a header column—so one has to scroll in a weird way to see others in that row.

You are missing a Responsive Web Design (RWD)—“an approach to web design which makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes.” Most sites are built on a theme, where a professional has laid down solid tracks to run on. Purchase a responsive theme and then customize it like crazy. Here’s how to tell if a site is responsive while on a desktop machine. Open a site on Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox and make the screen as narrow as it can go—it will look the width of a smartphone. If the page and graphics scale correctly, then you are have a responsive theme. 

I suggest that you ask a web designer in your congregation to volunteer to audit your site or hire a free lancer to do the same. If you want some names, let me know.

XP Ministry Description, church of 750 2018-01-19T20:53:32+00:00

January 20, 2018

Hey Doc … I’m reviewing my ministry description as an XP. I’m in a church of 750. Can you give any input on it. 25% is Finance & HR, 25% is Working with Ministry Staff, 25% is Facilities and 25% is Leadership & Direct Ministry.

DRF—I always like percentages of time in a role description. It demonstrates an agreed upon priority of ministry. For a church your size, the percentages look realistic and doable. The full description that you emailed to me has lots of bullet points under each section—too many for my taste as it becomes a task list. I like to see a ministry description fit on one page. Great revision of it!

Cell Phone Policy 2018-01-19T21:01:38+00:00

January 19, 2018

Hey David … I’m working on our church’s cell phone policy and wondering if you have any resources that address that?

DRF—Here is some policy thoughts on that: “Cell phones are a part of our personal and professional lives. There are issues regarding safety, security and privacy. Mute your phone within the office. Don’t take calls during meetings, unless it is a personal or ministry emergency. Keep personal texting to a minimum during the workday, as also with social media. If possible, make personal calls during breaks or lunch. For safety’s sake, only use a hands-free mode while driving, if at all. If you have minors in the car, the driver cannot be on the phone. The driver must pull over to the shoulder to make or take a phone call. For security, have a good password in use on your phone. Set the phone to auto lock after a short period of time. You must have the ability to lock your phone if it is stolen. If you violate this policy, you are subject to disciplinary action, which may include termination of your employment.” 

And what about reimbursing staff for their cell phone use. Any ideas?

DRF—I’m not a fan of reimbursing because people have different plan levels. Instead, I favor cell phone allowances. They are taxable but they do pay for ministry work done on them. You can set allowance levels, such as: Level 1—Directors and Pastors; Level 2—Team Leaders; Level 3—Senior Leadership. Do remember that if a non-exempt employee (such as a facility worker or administrative assistant) takes a phone call after hours, it must be put on their time card.

Board Member Not Giving to the Church 2018-01-23T20:30:35+00:00

January 18, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a board member who wants a new vision and direction for our church. Also, he told me that he hasn’t given to the church in nine months. Now what?

DRF—I wish that I hadn’t heard that one before! I’d suggest that you set up a six-month period to walk with him through the vision and ministries of your church. Let him know that you hope he can get on board as you have focused discussions. If he can’t, then it is probably God’s time for him to rotate off of the Board. 

Giving to your church can’t be a weapon that is brandished to get one’s way. We give because we respond to God’s grace in our lives. My favorite Rabbi said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). So the board member is telling you that his heart is not in your church’s ministry. Seek to engage his heart.

Stolen W2 Statements for All Staff 2018-01-19T21:00:44+00:00

January 14, 2018

Hey David … A shipping firm claimed they left the W-2s for all of our employees at the church’s front door. No signature was required and they left the package at 9:00 pm. Financial data, social security numbers, addresses … all vanished.

DRF—I haven’t heard of that one before! I’m so glad that you looked into identity theft protection for all of those affected. All I can suggest is that you go electronic next time. Perhaps use a service that empowers the employees to download their W2. A Finance Office worker could print out a W2 for anyone without internet access.