April 2004

Selecting the right fundraising consultant : Friday, April 2, 2004

April 1 2004 by Jane Page

Selecting the right fundraising consultant : Friday, April 2, 2004
Friday, April 2, 2004

Selecting the right fundraising consultant

By Jane Page
Special to the Recorder

Church members at Yates Baptist Church in Durham were ready to renovate and expand their facilities. They had a general plan and an idea of what they wanted. But the 640-member congregation had to figure out how to raise the $1.8 million for the project.

"We needed some outside help to raise this amount of money for our church work," said Mike English, chairman of the church's long-range facility committee. "We decided to have a capital funding program and hire an outside consultant to help us."

After interviewing three church fundraising consultants, the church selected Dan Euliss, team leader of stewardship education and offering promotion for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, to conduct the financial campaign.

The convention's stewardship department is just one of several that coordinate capital fundraising campaigns for churches. Several national companies, such as Cargill Associates, based in Texas, and LifeWay Church Resources, located in Tennessee, offer similar services. The groups charge for their services, often based on the size of the congregation.

Euliss and his team offer a 13-week program entitled "Mobilizing to Build." It focuses on securing commitments for capital funds to be paid over a three-year period. The emphasis is divided into four phases: preparation, communication, commitment and follow-up. The majority of campaigns take place in the fall or spring.

"Our program is a biblically-based process designed to encourage church members to give sacrificially for church building needs, land purchases and debt reduction," Euliss said. "The program is not about equal gifts, but equal sacrifices."

The first seven weeks of the campaign focus on evaluating the church's giving potential, setting goals, building the organization, training the leaders, preparing promotional materials and creating a spiritual climate. The next four weeks focus on intense communications with church members. The final two weeks are the commitment period, including a celebration banquet.

Many church members fear that a capital fund campaign will be too expensive, Euliss said. However, the convention's program includes the consultant's fee, banquet expenses and printing costs. The total cost is usually no more than 1.5 percent to 2 percent of commitments, he said.

"Some churches also are afraid we will use high pressure methods or do something to hurt the spirit of the church," Euliss said. "However, in our case, the consultant is responsible to the Baptist State Convention and has concern for the total giving efforts of the church. The basic emphasis is to build up the spirit of togetherness in the church through financial discipleship."

The convention stewardship office also has a one-day program entitled "New Challenge" especially designed for smaller churches, usually fewer than 125 members.

Yates Baptist received pledges for $1.2 million during its campaign. The funds are being used to renovate the education building and construct a new welcome center and a special youth space. Construction work is just starting on the projects. The fundraising campaign was conducted in June 2003.

"We received pledges two times our normal church budget so we had a very successful campaign," English said.

Cargill Associates, based in Fort Worth, Texas, also has conducted fundraising campaigns at several Baptist churches in North Carolina. The 12-to-16-week program focuses on receiving pledges for a three-year period.

"We encourage churches to conduct a capital feasibility study before beginning the building fundraising process," said Cade Garrison, director of marketing for Cargill. "It is extremely important to learn the financial potential in a church before getting started with a building campaign."

The key to a successful fundraising campaign is the involvement of all church members, he said.

"This biblical stewardship can end up being the spiritual highlight of the church," he said.

According to Gwenn McCormick in his book Planning and Building Church Facilities, every dollar raised in a capital fund program can save $2 in interest and pay back over the life of a 15-year loan at 12 percent interest. The church is able to save the interest, but it is also freed from long-term principal payments. It also opens the way for a fast-growing church to prepare for the next building program which might have been delayed by long-term indebtedness.

English, with Yates Baptist Church, said the capital fund program was a positive experience for his church. "We were extremely pleased with the way the campaign worked out for us. We are now well on our way with our new construction."
4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by Jane Page | with 0 comments



Construction costs depend on variables : Friday, April 2, 2004

April 1 2004 by

Construction costs depend on variables : Friday, April 2, 2004
Friday, April 2, 2004

Construction costs depend on variables

From staff reports

The final cost of a new building depends on choices made along the way about the church's structure, systems and finishes, according to the church building planning team of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Be wary of:
  • Basements: Because codes discourage the use of basements for assembly, basements have become fairly expensive spaces.
  • Clear span: The larger the clear span of your building, the more expensive it will be.
  • Roof slopes: Higher roof slopes carry less snow and catch more wind. They're more dramatic, but offer more space to heat and cool, require more money to finish, and are more trouble to transport.
  • Tilted floors: Sloped floors are tough to finish, less adaptable for multiple use, and difficult to add onto in the future.
  • Building materials: Some construction materials are better suited for volunteer labor.
  • Shipped goods: Building material that's available locally is usually cheaper than what must be transported over distance.
  • Shape of sanctuary: Rectangular plans offer more seating efficiency for up to 500 people. With more than 500, a fan shaped sanctuary works better.
  • Installation: The more difficult a product is to install, the more expensive its installation and subsequent repairs or replacement will be.
  • 4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by | with 0 comments



    Family Bible Study Lesson for April 18: Church Builder : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by Vic Ramsey

    Family Bible Study Lesson for April 18: Church Builder : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Family Bible Study Lesson for April 18: Church Builder

    By Vic Ramsey
    Key verses: Ephesians 2:21-22

    "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main ..."

    So opens John Donne's famous reflection on the connectedness of all humankind. We are all related one to another. We are social creatures.

    Christianity is a social experience. But today, the church no longer holds a central place in many Christian lives. Millions of Americans profess to be Christians, but they have no active involvement in the life of any congregation.

    No doubt, the church's own history has contributed to this "go it alone" approach to faith. Moreover, the church seems to have soaked up the individualism of our culture. Even in our worship music, we sing "I" and "me" more than "us" and "we."

    Jesus called His disciples to, "Come, follow me." When they answered, they entered into an enduring relationship, not only with Jesus, but with one another. Jesus did not simply save souls; He built a community of faith.

    Based on a Vital Confession

    Matthew 16:13-16

    Jesus took His disciples to a place north of Galilee, beyond the reach of crowds and onlookers, to pose to them a crucial question.

    He begins by asking what other people think of Him. The answers, while positive, fail to capture the full dimension of Jesus' identity.

    Then Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?"

    Peter replies, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

    The word "Christ" is the Greek form of the Hebrew "messiah," which means "anointed one." It is not so much a name as a role or identity. Peter identifies Jesus as the unique savior the Jewish people had been waiting for a thousand years.

    Promised by God's Son

    Matthew 16:17-19

    These verses are among the most controversial in the New Testament.

    Peter's given name was Simon, but Jesus called him "Cephas," Aramaic for "rock," of which "petra" is the Greek translation. Prior to New Testament times, there is no record of "Peter" being used as a personal name.

    In verse 18, Jesus uses a pun on Peter's nickname. Commentators differ on the meaning of "upon this rock." Does Jesus refer to Peter, directly and personally, or to Peter's declaration of faith?

    Understandably, Catholic commentators have tended toward the first, seeing scriptural support for the apostolic succession of the pope. Protestant scholars have tended toward the second, seeing support for an understanding of the church as built on faith - faith in Jesus as the Messiah and God's Son.

    Peter's leadership of the early church cannot be denied. That role, however, was unique and unrepeatable, and cannot be used to support a doctrine of apostolic succession.

    Verse 19 speaks of the "keys of the kingdom" being given to Peter. This does not mean that he would determine who would or would not enter heaven. Rather, "the keeper of the keys" is probably a reference to leadership and administration, perhaps with an emphasis on teaching. "Binding" and "loosing" are commonly used in Jewish writings as "forbidding" and "permitting."

    The key declaration is one that is clear and uncontested. Jesus said, "I will build My church."

    Built According to the Divine Plan

    Ephesians 2:17-22

    For Paul, the church was the essential witness to the Christian faith. Its continued existence, health and strength is a testimony of the truth of the gospel. Paul didn't simply win people to faith, but, like Jesus, invited Christians to participate in an enduring community of faith.

    Paul's most common and powerful metaphor for the church is the human body. Here, however, he uses another picture, that of a building. Every Christian is part of the building, a "holy temple" in the Lord.

    As a pastor, I've been involved in two major building campaigns. One thing I've learned is that a building is a complex system, almost a living thing, in which every piece must fit and function properly.

    So is the church. There are no unimportant, non-essential members. Every one of us is necessary for the church to become what Jesus is building it be.

    4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by Vic Ramsey | with 0 comments



    Family Bible Study for April 25: Returning King : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by Vic Ramsey

    Family Bible Study for April 25: Returning King : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Family Bible Study for April 25: Returning King

    By Vic Ramsey
    Key verse: Matthew 24:44

    Many years ago, I received a book entitled Eighty-Eight Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. Alas, 1988 has come and gone, and Jesus has not yet come.

    This is not a new phenomenon. In every generation, there are voices declaring, "Jesus is coming soon, next year, in our lifetime." For 2,000 years, those voices have been wrong.

    Today's lesson speaks to the certainty of Jesus' return, coupled with our uncertainty about when and how.

    Be Alert at All Times

    Matthew 24:42-44

    Jesus tells His disciples in verse 36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." If a verse should put to rest the predictions regarding the date of the Lord's return, this is it.

    It may be that Jesus will return in our lifetime. It may be that the church is in its infancy, and there are 10,000 years of work left to do. We simply do not know.

    In the focal passage for today, Jesus draws the implication that since we do not know when the day will come, it behooves us to be ready at all times. He illustrates this point with the clear picture of a homeowner, who must be on guard against a burglar at all times.

    Likewise, consider our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. They do not know when an attack will come. Their safety depends on being ready at all times.

    What does it mean to be ready? The remainder of chapter 24 through chapter 25 is devoted to this point. Jesus' teaching culminates in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46). "Being ready" means to do what the Master wants us to do - feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners and welcome the outcast.

    A story is told of Martin Luther as he chopped weeds in the garden one day. One of the other monks asked him, "Martin, if an angel of the Lord appeared to you this morning, and told you the Lord would return this afternoon, what would you do?"

    Luther replied, "I'd keep on chopping."

    If we are about what the Lord would have us do, then we'll be ready when He does come.

    Be Encouraged in the Face of Death

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    It's clear from reading the New Testament that many first century Christians expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. When the first generation of believers began to die, they were understandably dismayed.

    Paul addressed that concern by reminding the Thessalonians that death would not be a barrier between believers and the returning Lord. In fact, those who had died in the faith would be raised first, to meet the Lord in the air. In the King James, the word "prevent" in vs. 15 means to "go before, precede".

    Therefore, even those who have died can count on participating in the return of Christ. This hope transforms our grief. While grieving the loss of a loved one is natural and appropriate, Christian grief is leavened by the hope of eternal life, an everlasting communion of the saints with one another and with the living Lord.

    Be Confident in the Father's Love

    1 John 2:28-3:3

    In his characteristic way, John reflects on spiritual truth like a jeweler examining a diamond, rotating from one facet to another.

    Here, John tells believers they can be "confident and unashamed" before the returning King. Why?
  • Because the Father loves us: He made us His children. John can hardly contain himself: "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us!"
  • Because we shall be like Him: When Jesus returns, we shall be changed, much as Jesus was at His resurrection. Paul speaks of a "spiritual body" that will be permanent and incorruptible (1 Cor. 15).
  • Because we can be righteous: In Christ, we participate in His righteousness. Through Christ, and by His power, we can act righteously toward God and others, "purifying ourselves just as He is pure."
  • 4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by Vic Ramsey | with 0 comments



    Formations Lesson for April 18: What it Means to Believe : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by Mike Womble

    Formations Lesson for April 18: What it Means to Believe : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Formations Lesson for April 18: What it Means to Believe

    By Mike Womble
    Focal passage: John 20:19-31

    Why is there nowhere to hide these days? Lets face it, with mobile phones, laptops, faxes, instant messages and Global Positioning receivers, we are overloaded with information and tasks. All of these things are supposed to help us fulfill our responsibilities more efficiently, but all too often they become the things that drive us. In the midst of our overly committed lives where are we to find peace and hope?

    In Running on Empty Fil Anderson describes the struggle of nurturing his own spirituality while discerning the driving pressures of professional and personal life. The things that drive us become the "urgent" but not necessarily the "important" areas we need to address.

    In the Bible passage for this week the disciples are being driven by fears and doubts that prevent them from fulfilling the calling they received from Christ Himself. The pressures that pressed in on them were so overwhelming they found it difficult to sit and share a meal together without having to defend themselves from intruders or betrayers.

    What was it like to run in the shadows, hiding from everyone you know? How could they begin to explain their experiences with Christ to the very people who shouted, "Crucify Him?"

    Driven by Fear

    John 20:19-23

    In her accounts of the Nazi occupation of Holland, Corrie Ten Boom described hiding from the Nazis - quietly waiting for everyone to disperse so that life could regain some sort of normalcy.

    This must be the same sensation the disciples experienced following Christ's death and the recent word from Mary Magdalene that He was alive (John 20:17-18). Frozen by fear for their own lives, the disciples huddled closely together, trying not to make a scene and lead Jesus' accusers to them.

    When Christ appeared He brought a wonderful gift for His friends in hiding - peace. By His presence alone they could be overwhelmed, not with fear, but with peace.

    John's detailed account of this conversation reveals simple words that lay gently on their listening ears: "Peace be with you." These four words defused any fear they might have held tightly.

    Jesus' gift of the Holy Spirit to His closest friends reminds us not only of the creation story (Gen. 2:7), but also the story of Ezekiel's witness of God breathing life into a valley of dead bones (Ezek. 37:9). Only the breath of God can peel back the layers of protection we build around ourselves and penetrate our fears with new hope and life. When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they were re-receiving their calling from Christ.

    Driven by Doubt

    John 20:24-29

    During Christ's first appearance to the disciples, He brought hope to a community driven by fear. In this second appearance, Jesus brought hope to a devoted follower who was driven by doubt.

    One of Thomas' greatest virtues was his commitment to what he believed in. Christ invited Thomas to physically touch His scars in order to replace his doubt with hope. Thomas' response was simple but overwhelming: "My Lord and my God!"

    Once Thomas experienced the risen Christ he was never the same. His fear and doubt were filled with peace and hope. He knew without any doubt that Christ truly was alive.

    Driven by Belief

    John 20:30-31

    Although there are disputes over who actually wrote this section of the text, one truth remains: the amazing signs John writes about are to be a record of truth that Christ was and is alive. In contrast to the previous two sections where the disciples were driven by something not of God, this section speaks directly about being driven by belief so that "... in Him (we) will have life."

    Who's Behind the Wheel?

    What is it that drives you? What are you hiding, or think you're hiding, from your spouse, your friends, your colleagues, God? If Christ can appear before the disciples in a hidden room behind a closed door, surely He can come into your presence and bring you unfathomable hope, peace and life.

    4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by Mike Womble | with 0 comments



    Formations Lesson for April 25: I Serve a Risen Savior : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by Mike Womble

    Formations Lesson for April 25: I Serve a Risen Savior : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Formations Lesson for April 25: I Serve a Risen Savior

    By Mike Womble
    Focal passage: John 21:1-19

    As a missionary kid in Nepal during the mid-80s, I have a vivid memory of the abundance of God's grace. One morning as I headed out for my daily chores, my parents were having a discussion about some financial concerns. It seems that our funding source was behind and therefore we felt the impact.

    While I rode my bike through streets of Kathmandu, I remember reaching in my pocket and making a huge discovery. Somehow some cash had appeared there; not much, but enough for some fresh fruit and vegetables. It was in U.S. dollars, which was odd because that was something I had not seen for months.

    When I told my parents they were stunned and overwhelmed. We chalked it up as a miracle from God. This happened several more times with no reasonable explanation. All I had done was try to fulfill my responsibilities. God had found a way to pour His grace upon our family and bless us beyond our wildest imagination.

    In the Bible passage this week, we see a devoted group of disciples who were trying to make sense of their recent experiences of Christ and in the process discovered something about grace and undeserved blessings.

    Reality and Abundance

    John 21:1-14

    Probably as a way to clear his mind, Peter decided to take a fishing trip. The others found that a refreshing idea, and they decided to head off shore for the evening. According to W.M. Thomson, night fishing was the most productive because of the calm wind and glassy seas. Despite optimal fishing conditions, the disciple's efforts were fruitless, or so they thought.

    By the time dawn came they were probably exhausted and frustrated. They had nothing to show for their work except sore muscles and sweat-covered skin. When they heard someone shout, "Throw out your nets on the right-hand side of the boat ..." they tried it, hoping the onlooker could see a school of fish from his vantage point.

    Jesus knew something about exhaustion and frustration. In the midst of their journey for truth, He offered them hope and renewal. Once the disciples realized who the onlooker was, they rediscovered that the resurrection was real. Their Lord was with them. He even prepared breakfast for them.

    The reality of the risen Lord was sure to be a pinnacle moment in their lives. Not only was Christ's presence rediscovered but so was the abundance He gave away to so many during His ministry.

    In John 10:10 Jesus says, "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." In their moment of encountering the risen Lord the disciples also had an experience of abundance beyond their wildest imagination.

    Remembering the Call

    John 21:15-19

    This memorable dialogue between Jesus and Peter is an incredible image of grace beyond imagination. By asking Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Jesus is doing more than showing forgiveness for Peter's denials. He's reminding Peter of his calling.

    Just a few years earlier Jesus approached Peter on the same shore and said, "Come be My disciple ..." (Matt 4:18). With the reality of Jesus' resurrection through this dialogue on the shore, Jesus reminds Peter why he was called to be His disciple. Jesus empowers Peter with forgiveness and charges him to complete his calling, even until death.

    Experiencing the Risen Christ

    What is in your life that brings a feeling of exhaustion and frustration? How did that happen? If Jesus were to shout toward you to throw out your nets on the other side, what would that mean for you? Try something new. You just might be overwhelmed with blessings beyond your wildest imagination.

    Peter's conversation with Jesus is a fresh reminder of God's calling for each of us. Sometimes we become so swamped by life's chores that we may forget the calling God has given us. Use this story as a way to renew your calling. Read this passage out loud in a group or individually, then ask: What is your calling and are you fulfilling it? Why or why not?
    4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by Mike Womble | with 0 comments



    Creation's caretakers : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by

    Creation's caretakers : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Creation's caretakers

    Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Amazon Forest of South America. I was appalled at the loss of flora and fauna because of man's clearcutting and slashandburn methods of deforestation. What wanton disregard for a priceless resource for the welfare of mankind and the ecology of the world. Little did I know that before our very eyes we would see the same thing happening across the mountains, foothills and plains of our beloved North Carolina. Clearcutting and the erosion that follows disregard a precious resource and handiwork of God. Both old timber, 405080100 years of growth and saplings are cut and hauled away to feed some mechanical processing giant that has no conscience.

    However, man does have a conscience. Man is also a steward of his Godgiven resources. A steward is a caretaker; someone who jealously guards and defends someone else's property. In this case, it belongs to God, and mankind is the beneficiary. I am not one to stand in the way of freedom of man's will or of free enterprise. I am one to advocate for preservation, stewardship of the earth and a future for our children.

    At the very, very least where clearcutting is done it should be written into law that trees should be replanted on the 1and with responsibility belonging to the land owners and wood cutters.

    Richard N. Bass

    Rutherfordton, NC

    4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by | with 0 comments



    Gentleman and leader : Friday, April 2, 2004

    April 1 2004 by

    Gentleman and leader : Friday, April 2, 2004
    Friday, April 2, 2004

    Gentleman and leader

    Ron Kiser was a Christian gentleman and a good leader. I had the privilege of working with him three and a half years before he was elected director of missions for the Buncombe Baptist Association. Ron had his priorities in the right order - God first, family second and work third. His walk with the Lord was intimate and real. He kept a daily journal of his scripture reading, his personal comments about what the scripture meant to him, and how he could apply the scripture to daily living.

    Ron was a friend to pastors of the Buncombe Baptist Association, a visionary with the association and ahead of his time in many respects. He led the association with revising the constitution and moving the association from a committee/council based body to a team ministry. He made his mark in the association.

    I had the honor of spending an hour with him on the morning before he died talking about the work of the association, praying together, and praying for each other. He passed on to glory in the early hours of the next day. He will be missed by many - especially me.

    Gayle D. Brown

    Asheville, N.C.

    4/1/2004 11:00:00 PM by | with 0 comments



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