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Bible engagement is at an all-time low. That might be true, but technology provides numerous tools to help us engage with the Bible more deeply.

 

With a new year just around the corner, we would like to encourage your ministry to challenge everyone to go through God’s Word in the coming year. One of the most important personal spiritual disciplines is reading through the Bible every year, and it is the most important action you can encourage anyone to take to grow in their Christian life. Technology makes creating the tools to equip your people very easy.

 

To make that practical, here is a group of FREE resources. You’ll find motivational articles, reading schedules and free templates to enable you to create either handouts or booklets to share with your congregation.

 

We hope this coming year, with all the incredible tools we have available, that you’ll take the challenge.

 

Shelby Systems has decades of experience working with ministries of all sizes, for more creative ideas and suggestions contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!


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(Financials Product Owner, Alfred Johnson, leading the What’s New breakout session at HQ 2017 in Memphis)

If you wrestle with the complexities of financials in a church environment, then you’ll want to check out Alfred Johnson’s blog at alfredjohnson.net

Alfred is the Financials Product Owner and recognized financials authority at Shelby Systems. During his 21-year career with the company, he has served in such key roles as Training Manager, Director of Customer Development, Director of Business Development, Director of Sales and Major Accounts Manager. In addition to his experience at Shelby, Alfred has a wealth of technical and management expertise coming from his time as the COO and Vice President for Ethos Leadership Group, General Manager for Graham Pharmacy and a manager at JC Penny. 

As a former pastor of 32 years, Alfred is well-acquainted with issues that ministries deal with every day. He is an expert in solving stewardship issues for churches and non-profits and has served as a consultant to churches, conferences and dioceses across the country. With this blog, he looks forward to bringing that experience to bear to help you overcome the numerous hurdles surrounding finance management. 

“I developed the blog at alfredjohnson.net to serve as a resource for a church’s financial leadership,” he said. “Here they will find a variety of information including helpful ways to use the software, year-end tips, accounting news, coming feature updates, advance notice of releases and release notes as well as the status of existing software issues and resolution progress. I’d also like this to be a forum where church leaders can share their opinions on new ideas that might be included in future software releases as well as a forum for questions around ways they can best use the software to streamline their day-to-day work on behalf of their ministries.”

Many of you may also remember Alfred as the Editor of the popular SSTips Newsletter which ran for many years.

We’re so confident that that you’ll enjoy Alfred’s blog, that we’ll be sharing his posts on the Shelby blog each week. If you want to see other posts and announcements from Alfred, be sure to visit alfredjohnson.net, and while you are there, subscribe to the feed so that you are notified of each new post. Feel free to view the numerous articles that have already been posted including: Advanced Release Notes for v8.9.


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How often do you think about year-end reporting?  Probably as rarely as possible!  Sure, you’re forced into filing those W-2’s, 1099’s, and maybe 1095’s every January, but most people dread it.  It’s a process requiring you to be up to date on your data, government regulations, and software; and you have less than a month to complete it!

You may think about year-end reporting for only a few weeks a year, but Nelco thinks about it year-round. We are the experts so you don’t have to be. For more than 13 years, Nelco has been serving Shelby customers with the products that work with their software, are compliant with all government regulations, and save time. 

Every year Shelby and Nelco work together to test the products we provide, so you can rest assured that the forms you receive from us will work, guaranteed.  We supply preprinted or blank forms to meet whatever needs you have along with the compatible envelopes to keep information secure and save time in distribution.  We also supply a 4up form that saves you time in separating and collating employee forms – we make distribution as simple as printing and folding the paper and inserting it into the compatible envelope.  You can find all the Shelby compatible paper products here.

To save you even more time, we have worked with Shelby to provide paperless reporting solutions, integrated directly with your v5 or Shelby Next software.  With just a few clicks, Nelco can print and mail the forms directly to your recipients (employees or vendors) for you, file the forms directly to the Federal government and any states that require reporting.  To see how much time this can save, watch a brief video here.

Finally, if you’re wondering what has changed in year-end reporting and want to see how Nelco can help you to have the smoothest January ever, join us on our webinar exclusively for Shelby users on December 14th at 10:00 am CST. 

You can register here

We will review changes to W-2, 1099, & ACA reporting including due dates, state filing changes, and form changes. In addition, we want to share ways to save hours this January on form filing, printing, and mailing with products by Nelco.


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Wouldn’t it be wonderful for your church to have a steady, growing income that you could depend on—even during the summer months? Can you imagine how things would change if even sporadic givers became steady contributors? Recurring giving can make that happen!

 

You can encourage recurring giving sign ups in places like:

Bulletins

◦ Website

◦ Membership classes

◦ Sermon series on giving and generosity

◦ During offering times on Sunday morning

 

Management consultant Joseph M. Juran once suggested that in many situations, it’s common for 80% of the effect to come from 20% of the effort you put into it. This is called the Pareto principle (or the 80–20 rule).

 

You may feel like the same could be said of your church’s giving. In a recent study, Christianity Today found that only 10–25% of families in a church tithe, but they often provide 50–80% of a church’s funding.

 

The most important thing you can do to encourage recurring giving from your church is to have a single giving platform that’s your primary focus—and then work on an adoption strategy. You may still take offerings or have a giving form on your website, but the less focused you are on your preferred giving method, the more likely people are going to fall through the cracks.

 

Many churches already have digital giving solutions that facilitate recurring giving, but because of a lack of strategy and focus, they’re not having a lot of success. However, Shelby has a plan to help you get everyone in your church on board.

 

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!


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Christmas is the busiest time of the year for people in ministry. For most of you, it takes up the entire month of December. There are added services of Christmas Eve, concerts, and other various festive events. But you wouldn’t do this if you didn’t love it, right?

 

  1. Call in a pro

There is no dishonor in calling for help—do not get sucked into the mindset that there is. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes and ears is essential to providing the best experience possible. This is the perfect time to have someone come in and tune your room, inspect the gear, and maybe even hold a training session.

 

Another idea is to look now at hiring an engineer for your Christmas services. You’ll have a lot to juggle during the Christmas Eve services. Talk about a relief to know that is taken care of by a professional, freeing you up (if you’re the main audio engineer) to oversee more of the bigger picture. This can also be a relief to your volunteers who are feeling the stress of the season, the pull of work, and their families. It’s a big request to make of them to be there for all the rehearsals and then the services. Consider blessing them by handling it—and locking in now could save some money.

 

  1. Rent NOW

I know we don’t always have our ideas completely figured out just yet. There are some of those churches that know on December 26th what the next year’s service will be, but that isn’t the norm. However, by this point you should have some givens, and some broad ideas. It is a good idea to start talking with rental companies to get things locked down. Their availability of gear may force you to change your plan if you wait too long.

 

  1. Check your inventory

It is easy to remember the big things like making sure the band is scheduled and the choir has their rehearsal materials. But you should stock up on things like batteries in November. Talk about a stressor when you open the cabinet between rehearsal and the service to find an empty box of AAs or 9volt batteries. You rack your brain, sure that you had just purchased more but realize that those are now gone.

 

Consider using rechargeable batteries. When planning out my wireless setup, make sure to have twice as many batteries as needed at one time. Usually a single set will get you through a normal weekend, but for the Christmas season—there are always more rehearsals and longer sets. Having fresh batteries in for the actual service is key. Also, keep a small supply of regular AAs as insurance batteries, just in case. In addition, these are good for musicians who need to swap batteries in their instruments/accessories, and we don’t have to remember to get our rechargeable ones back.

 

  1. Have a backup plan

The best laid plans of mice and sound engineers…. With digital reigning king in today’s production workflow, it is critical to have a backup of your settings. Become extremely backup conscious. Not only keeping copies of your console settings, but also your wireless microphone configuration, DSP, and the band’s personal monitor mixers. Back all of these things onto a USB stick and keep it with you, but also store a copy in the cloud. USB sticks can fail—especially after a trip through the washer and dryer.

 

Beyond the digital, keep extra microphone and instrument cables handy because they have a tendency to just die without warning.

 

We all know Christmas is coming, so use this calm before the storm to prepare. Working this far out too can help lock in lower prices with rentals and give you time to shop the sales for other equipment. Bottom line, you have a lot on your plate, why not reduce the stress and make this year’s Christmas production even better with a little pre-planning?

 

Source: Ministry Tech

 

Shelby Systems has decades of experience working with ministries of all sizes, for more creative ideas and suggestions contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!


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Every church should be using online giving software to maximize contributions for ministry work. Next, you want to let your members know that this option is available during the worship service.  Explain your church’s giving philosophy, how donations will be used to accomplish your mission, special programs and capital campaigns.  Provide the benefits of how easily members can establish recurring gifts, track their individual donations and view giving church-wide.

 

Make it Easy to Give:

Place a “Give” button and/or tab on your website homepage so that it is easily accessed by your members. Provide your church’s giving philosophy, steps to set-up online gifts and methods that people can give (i.e. ACH, Credit/Debit Card Processing).

 

Put it in Print:

Spread the word by incorporating your church online giving in each week’s programs and church bulletins.  Add “how to give online” information to new member packets, pledge packets and financial updates.

 

Electronic Messaging:

When using Shelby Systems’ electronic messaging tool, provide a link to donate to new funds, program registrations, or inform members when funds will be closing so that they have an opportunity to give.

 

Make it Social:

Post information about online giving on your church Facebook wall, Blogs or Twitter feed. 

 

Communicate the Benefits:

It is important to communicate not only how online giving benefits the church but also how it benefits the donor.  Some of the key donor benefits are:

 

  • Much like online banking, online giving allows members to budget their household finances by including recurring gifts to the church.
  • Members can manage their giving (i.e. change gift amount and frequency, donate to a new fund, view their giving history, etc.) anytime without delay.
  • Members can donate via their most preferred method as established by the church (ACH, Credit Card, Debit Card).
  • When the church sends out electronic bulletins communicating new programs or church funds, members can immediately donate or register online.
  • Members can easily track their own, church-wide giving as allowed by leadership team, as well as receive personal tax receipts at their convenience.

 

Through effective communication, each church can utilize online giving to increase donations while stabilizing giving trends.

 

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!


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Gift giving itself isn’t the challenge at Christmas for many Christians. The challenge is that much gift-giving has become so self-centered, so materialistic and we suspect so useless, as most of us have more than we could ever need and know that many gifts are simply tossed or exchanged.

 

Yet, we want to give. One solution might be to give from the many extraordinary resources from around the world that the web makes easily available to us. Rather than supporting a faceless corporation, gift purchases from these groups not only provide wonderful gifts (the quality and selection is astounding), but they directly provide a livelihood to individuals and community development.

 

Below we have highlighted some of our favorites:

 

TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES

One of the oldest and largest of the free trade ministries offers a huge selection of all kinds of gift items from beauty care to toys to decorative items and jewelry. They have a unique selection of Christmas ornaments; two favorites include a red glass firebird ornament and a tiny nativity scene nestled in a flower.

 

JESUS ECONOMY

Jesus Economy creates jobs, plants churches and meets needs in the developing world. They fund their efforts through donations and the fair trade store. They’re dedicated to holistic community development. In addition to Christmas ornaments, the site features attractive jewelry, scarves and decorative items. One favorite is the “Give a hoot” pillow, which is not only a fun decorative piece, but also a conversation-starter to introduce people to fair trade nonprofit ministries.

 

GLOBAL HANDMADE HOPE

There is a large selection of beautiful items, many of the metal decorative pieces are equal to the ones in high-end design shops. Tasteful pottery, adorable knit angel and animal ornaments, plus lots of jewelry and accessories and so much more fill the site.

 

THE FAIR TRADE FEDERATION

Dozens and dozens of shops of certified fair trade organizations. Not all are Christian, but all are doing commendable work. Browse through for all your Christmas shopping in an immense list of items. One that caught my eye is JusTea, a delightful fair trade tea company.

 

 

GIFT ALTERNATIVES FOR KIDS:

Here’s an idea you might want to try with your kids: go online to one of the organizations (such as World Vision) listed below and print out gift items along with the prices and stories that go with them. At gift exchange time, give the kids an amount of money, a selection of the stories and pictures. They choose what to buy, what programs to support, what countries to give to. It’s fascinating to watch how they decide, how they discuss priorities and how they make the most of their money. At the end of the process they are both excited about what they give to and conscious of the many needs yet unmet. Then go to the computer, enter in all the gifts and they get a thank-you card from the organization for their donation.

 

WORLD VISION

Lots of options in all price ranges from soccer balls to shares of building a well, school supplies to sewing machines.

 

THE HEIFER PROJECT

One of the oldest surrogate-giving sites, The Heifer Project, began with the idea that you could give a cow or a share of a cow. This has expanded to numerous programs that they describe in this way: “The core of our model is Passing on the Gift. This means families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.”

 

HOPE INTERNATIONAL

This group primarily provides micro financing to help people in poverty start their businesses. This site is recommended as a giving project for older students with the same idea: Give them an amount of money and then have them decide what businesses to fund.

 

COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL

Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus’ Name. Sponsor a child for a little more than $1 a day. Give a chicken or a goat to family in need for Christmas. Compassion educates children, teaches them the Gospel, offers health-care and food and then gives all of the credit to the church in the local village. Shelby Systems has teamed up with Ministry Brands and Compassion International to help build a child development center in El Salvador. Read more about this Global Mission Initiative.

 

Source: Ministry Tech

 

 

Shelby Systems has decades of experience working with ministries of all sizes, for more creative ideas and suggestions contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!

 

 

 


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Use these 7 ideas to boost your church giving.

 

  1. Buy a Giving-Themed URL

Most churches have a giving link on their website, but it takes some time to explain to congregants how they can find it. I tried something a few years ago and our online giving grew from 25% to 55% of total monthly giving. Buy a domain that is related to your church name and giving. Our church name is Northwood Church so I bought www.northwoodgive.com and forwarded it to the url for our giving page.

 

  1. Get Automated Payments

Most of my life, I have seen pastors try to “make the case” for giving every week. What if we borrow a strategy from the business world and promote subscription giving? This is one way to increase stability in your summer giving. Most people would love to be more consistent in their giving. Automated payments help them do that.

 

  1. Teach Generosity in Life

Being generous is not just about money or a moment. Generosity is a lifestyle. When your culture has generosity embedded into the DNA of the church, everyone benefits. Evangelism, benevolence, and regular giving are all beneficiaries of a giving church culture.

 

  1. Prepare Your Giving Talks

We have all heard the 25-minute offering sermon before the actual message. People take their money very seriously and we should take our communication about money seriously as well. Make your talk about giving personal, simple, and efficient.

 

  1. Share Stories

A newly saved couple at our church had been attending for about 6 months. The husband worked two jobs to support the family, but they still fell on hard times for a period of time. They sat in our service with $10 in their bank account. The wife leaned into her husband and said, “I think we should start giving today. We don’t have any food left in the pantry and you don’t get paid for 3 days. What could it hurt at this point?” So they gave $5 in the offering that morning. When they got home, their neighbor came knocking on their door and said: “When I woke up this morning I just felt like I should make you this big pot of roast stew. It should last you the next few days.” Information often doesn’t always move people, but stories do. As often as you can, share stories. It will inspire people to step out in faith. Perhaps for the very first time.

 

  1. Follow Up with a Thank You

We live in a selfie culture that likes to ask, but doesn’t always remember to express gratitude. “Give to our church.” “Sign up for our new class.” “We need your help.”  Saying thank you goes a long way to any giver at your church.

 

  1. Make Giving Easy

People shop in various forms. I use cash at the ballpark, but my card at the mall or online. Sometimes, I use Paypal. It just depends on what is most convenient and comfortable for me. Strive to make the process of giving at your church a convenient and comfortable experience. Provide opportunities for your congregation to give cash/check in the buckets, online with their phone or at home, or giving kiosks in your lobby.

 

Giving should be an easy experience, especially for people who are giving for the first time.

 

Source: Pastors.com

 

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!


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Ready or not, Christmas is coming. That means churches are planning events, socials, and special services. Today we provide some tips to make this a great Christmas season for your church.

 

  1. Christmas Eve is the time when the unchurched are most receptive to attending church.
  2. Traditions are key: hymns and carols, candlelight with Silent Night, etc.
  3. The service should be brief, 30-minutes max.
  4. Begin promotion right after Thanksgiving.
  5. Use your Facebook page and Facebook ads.
  6. Design a very simple registration card: first name, email, guest or member, prayer request. Ask everyone to complete it.
  7. Prepare for multiple services in most churches, at the very least for greater attendance.
  8. Plan for staff to have time off post-Christmas.

 

Source: Lifeway Resources

 

For more great ideas on how to communicate effectively with your congregation, contact one of our Shelby Ministry Consultants today!

 


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If every person in your congregation supported your church financially in generous ways, think of all your church could do to reach and serve people for Jesus. It would be great, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, however, many Christians don’t give generously.  The average churchgoer currently gives just 2.56 percent of his or her income.  As a result, many churches are struggling to afford the costs of doing the ministry work that God has called them to do.

 

Here’s how you can help people in your church learn how to give:

 

Don’t hesitate to talk about money. While it’s true that some people in your church may become uncomfortable if you discuss money matters, you shouldn’t shy away from talking about the importance of supporting your church financially through generous giving. Keep in mind that Jesus talked a lot about money in the Bible because it’s crucial for people to have healthy attitudes about money for them to be spiritually healthy. Trust that as you faithfully teach people about the importance of financial giving, the Holy Spirit will work in their lives.

 

Explain that giving equals growing. Help the people in your church understand that they can’t really grow spiritually unless they learn how to give generously. Jesus often stressed the importance of people releasing their hold on money so it won’t derail them spiritually, and learning to trust God and help others more by giving money away. Stewardship is essential for discipleship, since people’s attitudes toward money strongly affect their level of spiritual maturity.

 

Help people see how God Himself models giving. God has given people the greatest gift possible: salvation. God is giving by nature and loves to give good gifts to the people He created and loves. Encourage the people in your congregation to be alert to the many fresh blessings that God gives them every day.  The more that people notice how God is constantly giving to them, the more their gratitude will motivate them to respond to His generosity by answering His call to give to support their church.

 

Create a culture of generosity in your church. If your church doesn’t invest much in resources to help people grow, that culture of scarcity will promote an attitude of scarcity in people’s minds when you ask them to give financially to the church. But if you create a culture of generosity in your church by giving people plenty of resources to support them, the generous attitude that you model will encourage them to be generous with their monetary donations to support the church. So give to the people who attend your church, in ways such as passing out free books or CDs to first-time visitors and providing free breakfasts or lunches for volunteers either before or after the worship services.

 

Turn a first-time giver into a regular giver. People who haven’t given money to your church before may be struggling with fear about giving money away. You can help them loosen their grip on money and open their hearts to God by encouraging them to give to the church for the first time, and then keep on giving. Let people know that your church’s ministry is supported by its members, talk about how giving will help people grow spiritually, and give people information about their various options for how to support your church financially (from putting checks in an offering plate to donating online). Teach on stewardship during worship services at least four times each year. Have people who currently give to your church tell stories in worship services at least twice per year about how giving has helped them grow, so people who haven’t yet given can be inspired by their testimonies. Make the logistics of giving easy for people in your church, such as by giving people advance notice that an offering is about to be taken so they have time to get their gifts ready. Follow up with people after they give for the first time, to thank them for giving and encourage them to make giving a new habit. Stay connected with them, sending them financial giving statements and expressing gratitude. Present an annual giving challenge during a worship service to encourage everyone who attends your church to give regularly over a set period of time.

 

Turn a regular giver into an extravagant giver. Help people who faithfully give learn how to give sacrificially beyond their regular giving, building a lifestyle of generosity that will keep expanding their souls and expanding God’s kingdom work on through your church. Challenge people to give extravagantly during special giving opportunities, such as capital campaigns to add onto your church’s building or the annual Christmas offering near the end of each year. Let them hear personal testimonies from others who have given extravagantly and experienced God’s blessings through their generosity.

 

Adapted from the book Maximize: How to Develop Extravagant Givers in Your Church.

 

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!