WydenYourHorizons.com

Wyden Your Horizons!

The Newsletter of VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
Headquarters: 118 Westchester Drive, Amherst, Ohio 44001
Additional Offices in Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA ē Toll-free Phone - 888-245-5826

Providing Professional Counsel
for Churches & Non-profit Organizations

E-mail: Bill@WydenYourHorizons. com ē Web: www. WydenYourHorizons. com
Capital Fund Campaigns, Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns

December 2007

INSIDE THIS ISSUE. . .

1. Wyden Your Horizons with Hope Click
2. Ministry Facility Review Form Click
3. Profound Quotes about Hope and Giving Click
4. Churches and Individuals May Benefit Greatly from Giving Tax Savings Opportunity that Ends in 2007 Click
5. More Year End Giving Ideas that Can Provide Significant Tax Benefits Click
6. About VanderWyden Consultants, Inc. Click
7. Subscribe / Unsubscribe Instructions Click


In this Christmas Edition of Wyden Your Horizons, we are reminded in this season of the power and necessity of hope in our lives and in our churches. This time of year is also known as the season of giving, and we have learned in our work that giving and hope go hand in hand. Our lead article helps to clarify that relationship, as it illustrates how to transform a church that is struggling financially into a church that is thriving and hopeful.

And as we near the end of this year, we have highlighted some year-end giving and tax savings opportunities, and one major tax-savings opportunity that is ending this year.

We have also included in this issue a very helpful tool, our Ministry Facility Review Form, which can enable you to view your facilities from the vantage points of first time visitors, so that you will be able to identify facets of your facilities which may be impeding your church's ability to grow. Finally, we have provided some profound quotes about Hope and Giving.

Wyden Your Horizons is provided as a free resource for churches, non-profit organizations, and individuals who are raising funds for good causes. Our mission is to enable churches and non-profit organizations to implement faith-raising programs that inspire their members to find the "Joy of Generosity." When individuals adopt this lifestyle, they experience giving as a joy and a privilege and eagerly contribute their resources for the ministries and programs of their churches and non-profit agencies who work to create a better world for all.

VanderWyden Consultants, Inc. provides professional guidance for Church Capital Fund Campaigns for renovations, repairs, and new facilities, for Church Stewardship Campaigns providing funds for church operating expenses, staffing and programming, and for Church Planned Giving Campaigns to create or increase endowment funds, and for Judicatory Campaigns throughout the United States. We enjoy sharing our discoveries about Fund-raising through Faith-raising with others. Please feel free to forward this email to family, friends, colleagues, or co-workers. If you have any questions about topics covered in this newsletter, or about any of our services, or if you wish to share your insights, please write us via email or call us through our toll-free line: 1-888-245-5826 (888-Bill-Van).

 

Wyden Your Horizons with an attitude of Hope

"Our church has been struggling financially for several decades. Every year it seems to get worse. We just canít afford to give more. Our members are good people. We have tried to get more money for the expenses of the church. But our members say they canít afford to give any more. "

In my 20 years of assisting churches with their fund-raising needs, I have heard the above lamentation many times. Many churches in our country continually struggle financially to support their ministries, and many at this time of year put out an appeal for additional funds so that they can pay their bills as the year ends. Some of these churches due to their financial struggles have had to reduce staff and/or to decrease ministries, which, of course, creates a vicious circle of decline, because less staffing and less programming leads to less individuals attending church, which leads to less members to support the budget, and so on and so on... This plague of churches struggling financially sometimes seems to be an epidemic in our country.

But I have found that it doesnít have to be so. There usually is not a shortage of money, but rather a shortage of faith in God's providing, and a shortage of creativity in ways to inspire members to be more generous. The attitudes of the leadership of a church about money make all the difference in the world as to whether the church has enough money, or is constantly struggling.

We Live in an Age of Unprecedented Wealth

We live in a time when Americans have far more personal wealth than at any time in history. Compared to Americans living 50 years ago, we are incredibly wealthy. We have twice as many cars per person, our houses are twice as big, and we eat out almost three times as often. With the terribly unfortunate exception of those Americans who are living in or near the poverty level, never have so many people had so much financial wealth, had so many possessions, and had so much discretionary money to use as they desire. Yet even as many Americans are enjoying such previously unforeseen wealth, many churches in our country are struggling financially, even though much of the time their members have abundant financial resources to fully support their church's ministries and programming.

The Mythology of Scarcity

Many churches in our country are growing smaller every year. They spend as little as possible on their ministries, staffing and programming. They delay maintenance of their facilities year after year until the necessary repairs become extremely costly. Many members in these churches feel that it is a virtue to not spend money in the church. Somehow the concept of being a good steward in these churches has come to mean not spending money. So at the end of the year it is celebrated when the Christian Education committee has not spent all of its allocated funds because they cut back on the educational materials that they provided for the Sunday School. The music leadership is applauded that they used the old music that they had on hand rather than buying new music. The Personnel Committee is commended for doing a good job because it has kept raises for staff to a minimum. Unfortunately this thriftiness often means that church programs and ministries are out of date and do not speak to young people and young families who the church needs to attract if it is to have a future. In these settings, just scraping by is seen as the way the church should function. And of course those who believe in a theology of meagerness in Godís providing and who adopt an Attitude of Scarcity when it comes to providing for the church, attract other members who also believe there just isnít enough to go around.

Many of the leaders of these churches are wonderfully dedicated individuals who give unselfishly of their time to help the church get by with less. These churches are also often led by devoted clergy who also believe in a mythology of scarcity and who believe that they can demonstrate their faith by going with less. Unfortunately, the leadership of these churches usually also has a woeful attitude that this is just the way things are, and the church has to go without.

The leaders of these churches love their churches, and worry and wonder why their churches are struggling and dying, while other churches just down the street are thriving and growing. This Attitude of Scarcity and living as if there isnít enough for the church, and there is never going to be enough, leads churches to act discouraged and depressed. It's no wonder that people don't want to join churches with these attitudes. The attitude that next year is going to be more difficult than this one, and we just have to get by with less, creates a vicious spiral that can only lead toward the death of a church.

Yet the fact of the matter in many of these situations is that there is not a shortage of money. The average member in most protestant churches in our country is giving around 2% of their income. This is far from the joyful minimum guideline of giving a tithe to the church. Since most members in many churches are not giving close to the joyful minimum, it is no wonder that many churches are struggling financially. The members in many of these churches renovate their homes more often than they expect the church to be renovated. They buy new cars every few years, and take nice vacations, and expect the hotels they stay in to be air-conditioned and to have clean modern, up-to-date facilities. They expect the restaurants they eat in to be attractive with comfortable seating. When they send their children off to college, they expect the schools to have good facilities, new dormitories and classrooms, and state of the art teaching technology.

And yet many of these same people wonder why more people aren't coming to their church, but they don't seem to notice that the parking lot is decaying, and it has no landscaping, and inadequate lighting at night. They wonder why young families wonít come a second time to their church, and don't realize that it is important for the nursery to be attractive and on the same floor adjacent to the sanctuary, and that it needs to have nice furniture and cribs and new toys that are not hand me downs. There seems to be a disconnect between Sunday and the rest of the week. These churches don't seem to realize that church facilities and programs need to be constantly updated to meet the needs of each new generation. With the amazing wealth in our society the expectations about facilities and programs have risen dramatically.

Churches that live with the Attitude of Scarcity are like those who look at a half glass of water and who conclude that the glass is half empty. These church leaders in effect feel that the funding for their churches is totally in their control, and vision for the future is limited because they can't see God's role in providing abundantly. On the other hand, those who look at this same half-filled glass with an Attitude of Hope, in essence see God's presence in the empty portion of the glass, and believe that God will provide resources that will overflow the glass, that the "cup" will overflow with blessings, and that miraculous blessings will come if you start out with faith.

The Attitude of Hope

There are also many churches in our country who have broken out of the vicious circle of the meagerness mentality. These churches face the future not with fear but with faith, and with hope that God will provide. They remember that Jesus said, ďI have come that you may have life and life in abundance.Ē

In the first line of the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews it is stated, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen." Churches and individuals that live with an Attitude of Hope function with the faith that the things they envision will become substance as they act out that faith in their giving.

These churches are not shy about talking about money and giving and preaching the gospel message that giving is beneficial to the giver. They realize that Jesus spoke about money often because he knew that the major barrier to our trust in God is money. And money by its nature can be very seductive. For example, if you have a little extra money one year you may say, "I'd be wise to save some of that money for a 'rainy day.'" The following year you also have a little extra money, and you say, "I'd feel even more secure if I save a little more money for a 'rainy day.'" And this habit of thinking that your security equates with having a lot of money tucked away for a rainy day becomes ingrained to the point that some people have enough saved to be ready for Noah's time and they still worry that they don't have enough! This is obviously a very unhappy and unhopeful way to live, and Jesus wants us to live with Joy and Hope, not with worry, fear, and discouragement.

Jesus had a gift for being direct. In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the 38th verse, Jesus is quoted as saying, "Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken and overflowing shall be poured into your lap, for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." That statement is more direct than most sermons. It is important to notice the order of events in this statement. We are expected to first give, and then God will bless us. The order is not the other way around. We often hear people say, "When I become rich, or when I win the lottery I'll give generously." Jesus makes it clear in this statement that it is important that we demonstrate our faith in God by first giving, and then God will bless us.

This statement of Jesus reminds us of the statement of God from the 10th verse of the third chapter of the book of Malachi from the Old Testament. In this verse, God is quoted as saying, "Bring the full tithes ...and I will open the windows of heaven and will shower you with blessings." (notice once again the order, "Tithe, and then God will bless you.") Those individuals who I meet in my work who tell me that they have a habit of tithing always seem to be very joyful individuals. They have hopeful, enthusiastic attitudes about life, and they have faith that God will provide everything that we really need, if we have a life habit of giving generously.

I have found this to be true in my life. I was not raised in a home where tithing was the norm. I did not hear anything about tithing in seminary. I first encountered the word when a layperson humbly said to me with great confidence, "I have always tithed, and God has always provided everything I needed." That statement caught my attention as this person had very humble resources, and yet had great joy for life. I began to hear that word more often, and it was always from individuals who seemed to have great peace of mind about their lives, and great confidence and with zest for life. They also often told me that the longer you tithe in your life the easier it becomes, because you get in the habit of giving the tithe in gratitude to God first, and you learn to live on what's left, but that God always seems to make sure that plenty of what is really necessary is provided.

I wondered if perhaps these people knew something that I should know, and I really wanted to have the confidence, and peace of mind, and Hope and Joy that they had. So one year we decided to indicate on our Intention to Give Card an amount that was easy to figure out based on our income, but it was hard to envision how we could afford to give 10% of our income with four young children. Our indication on that card was in essence a statement of faith, the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen. Our children were young at that time, and we were living on a small church pastor's salary, but I wanted to learn if God really would provide. We changed our lifestyle, borrowed movies from the library where it's free, ate out less often, didn't buy new cars, etc. and we found that we could afford to tithe and our family did not have to go without anything that was essential. The following year I was given a bonus on my pay that was unanticipated, so we tithed on that as well to our church. Our children have now grown up in a home where tithing is the norm of life. I have found that God does provide and that you can't out-give God. If you start out by giving generously first, God truly does shower you with blessings, overflowing in your lap.

How can your church develop an Attitude of Hope?

The best way to begin to develop an Attitude of Hope would of course be to lead by example. Decide to tithe in 2008 and express confidence that God will provide. Change your lifestyle in 2008 to reflect your values on what is really essential, and share joyously when you find that God has provided a blessing in your life.

One other way to develop an Attitude of Hope in your church would be to create an opportunity where your congregation can experience Godís abundant providing. If your church has not had a positive experience of generous giving in quite awhile, it might be time to conduct an ambitious Capital Fund Campaign. By definition, Capital Fund Campaigns are conducted to enable a church to raise significant amounts of capital to provide for major repairs, renovations or additions to facilities. Capital Fund Campaigns can be wonderful, faith-raising, unifying, inspiring experiences for churches, and they can also stimulate giving for programs, ministries and operating expenses.

No matter how effective your pastoral and lay leadership may be, if your facilities are in disrepair, or are not up to date, or are cramped or unattractive, they can stifle your churchís ability to grow and to thrive. Many times devoted members work very hard to try to get their churches to grow, but they do not realize the limitations of their churchís facilities. Inadequate facilities usually condemn a church to a continuous struggle for survival, because their facilities do not meet the needs of younger generations.

The Ministry Facility Review Form that is in provided in the next section of this edition of Wyden Your Horizons can enable you to view your facilities as a new visitor would encounter them. Regular church members typically overlook deficiencies in their churchís facilities, but first time visitors notice the facets of your building that do not meet their needs, and will not return to your church. If you conduct a thorough inventory of your churchís facilities using the form below you will probably find many projects that a Capital Fund Campaign could fund. Often churches that function with the myth of scarcity delay maintenance, or allow their facilities to deteriorate, or do not update their facilities. A Capital Fund Campaign could enable your church to raise far more funds than you might imagine, and could enable you to renovate and refurbish your facilities to bring them up to date to provide for the ministries that are essential at this time for your members and community.

If you want your members to experience and to enjoy the Attitude of Hope, and you want your church to thrive, it may to be time to conduct an inspiring Faith-raising Capital Fund Campaign to repair, update, renovate and possibly to expand your facilities. A Capital Fund Campaign can enable your church to raise the funds required to refurbish or add on to your present facilities, and at the same time your members will experience Godís abundant providing. Many times individuals tell me that their church's Capital Fund Campaign was the greatest faith-raising experience of their lives.

Churches that have an Attitude of Hope conduct Capital Fund Campaigns often to renovate their facilities because they understand that Stewardship means being a good steward in providing the facilities, ministries and programs that are required by each new generation. They understand that if a church is to to thrive and have a wonderful future it must continually be attracting young people and young families, and nothing attracts young people to a church more than exciting joyful programming, energetic hopeful attitudes, enthusiastic state of the art facilities and inspiring ministries that meet their needs.

Having conducted Faith-raising fund-raising campaigns with hundreds of churches I have found that God does always provide the resources to fund required ministries. There truly is never a shortage of money, it's rather a shortage of creativity and faith in Godís providing. Churches that function with an Attitude of Hope, have broken the vicious cycle of the meagerness mentality, they have Wydened their Horizons, and they look forward to the future with joy, enthusiasm, faith and hope.
Top
 

Ministry facility needs review Form

 Neglect in the areas listed below will limit your churchís growth because new visitors will be turned away. Place a check in areas that require attention.

1. Have your church members tour your church facility from the standpoint of a first-time visitor
__Are there areas that are uninviting, or unsightly - Some examples:
__Is there adequate parking, and signage, and landscaping that is attractive?
__Is the entrance to the church clearly marked and handicap accessible?
__Are there signs providing directions to offices, nursery, sanctuary, church school, etc.?
__Is there a smooth traffic flow throughout the building, and no areas of congestion?
__Are there areas of over-crowding - in classrooms, parking, choir/music areas?
__Is the whole building handicap accessible, and are there handicap accessible restrooms?
__Is the heating, air-conditionings, lighting, sound-system, seating adequate in the sanctuary?
__Are there cracks in walls, stains on carpeting, or areas that need to be painted, or repaired?
__Are all the rooms in the building clean and attractive?
__Has your church been renovated in the last 20 years?

2. Ask Church Boards, Committees, Fellowships Groups, and Ministers for input
__Are there needs for additional funding for programming, or for additional staff?
__Christian Education, Music Program may indicate that their ministries are limited by facilities.
__Are the pastorsí offices comfortable and do they provide for confidentiality?
__Worship leaders feel that sanctuary configuration/condition limits worship experience.

3. Consider the needs of your community, and the Global Community
__ As you walk around your community notice people in need as Jesus would
__Does your community need a place for youths to gather after school or on weekends?
__Does your community lack a place for eldercare, senior citizen activities?
__Does your community have a place where singles can socialize in a positive atmosphere?
__Are there shelters for homeless people in your community that provide food and counseling?
__If you wanted to start an after-school program does your church have adequate facilities?
__Are there social service groups that need a place to meet?
__Pray for guidance from God regarding ministries that are necessary in your community
__Consider partnerships with global ministries or communities that are in need

4. Review demographic data regarding future growth in your community
__Do the trends indicate that your ministries will have to adapt in the next 5-10 years?
__Consider starting a small or large group, community program in your church.

5. Consider Ministries that can be created, supported, or supplemented by Endowments
__Are there specific ministries that could be funded through Endowments Funds

6. Meet with an architect or engineer to review your facility needs from the above list
Hire an architect or engineer that has experience working with churches
Ask for drawings of floor plans, or elevations if considering an addition to your building
Ask for an itemized estimate of total costs of improving your church facilities

Conduct a Capital Fund Campaign to raise the funds required to attend to the items you have checked above, so that you will be able to repair and renovate your facilities. If you conduct your campaign with the professional assistance of VanderWyden Consultants, you could raise as much as 13 times your present annual giving. Capital Fund Campaigns also typically stimulate giving for Annual Operating/Program/Staffing Budgets. Top
 

PROFOUND Quotes About hope and giving (from Bits and Pieces Magazine, Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc.)

"Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist." Paul Harvey

"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things that we do." Freya Madeline Stark

"Change your thoughts and you change the world." Harold R. McAlindon

"You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." John Wooden

"There is nothing like a newborn baby to renew your spirit and to buttress your resolve to make the world a better place." Virginia Kelley Top

CHURCHES and individuals MAY BENEFIT GREATLY FROM GIVING TAX Savings Opportunity THAT ENDS in 2007

As our population ages churches have more older members. Even though many of these members may be retired some of them may have significant assets. Sometimes these older members worry whether they will have enough saved up for however long they will live. But sometimes these individuals do not realize that if they give some of their appreciated assets to their church, they may also have more to spend. This can apply in many ways for retired individuals, but this year especially it can benefit older retirees.

If you're 70.5 before the end of 2007 and you have a traditional or Roth IRA, you may be able to exclude from your gross taxable income IRA distributions that are directly donated to charities. The Pension Protection Act of 2006, which was extended through 2007, allows you to exclude up to $100,000 per person per year in giving to qualifying charities. To take advantage of this tax break, you must do the following:

bulletThe distribution must be made directly from the IRA to the charity.
bulletThe charity must give you a gift receipt (a contemporaneous written acknowledgement of the gift) for your records.
bulletThe charity should be informed of the gift so it knows why the IRA is making the distribution.

Keep in mind that since this charitable distribution will not be included in taxable income, you cannot claim a tax deduction for the charitable contribution. This is especially good news because qualifying charitable distributions from IRAs will eliminate the need for donors to claim an income tax charitable deduction; even people who don't itemize their tax returns will enjoy the equivalent of a charitable deduction. Also, people who have reached the 50% of Adjusted Gross Income limitation can give more because the qualifying charitable distributions operate independently of the percentage limitation rules. Therefore, they don't affect other gifts to which the limitations apply.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this new tax law, be sure to talk to your accountant about how to claim this exclusion from gross income on your tax returns. The IRS has not yet made this procedure clear.

The above illustrations are meant to provide ideas for gifts to charity. They are not professional recommendations. Remember to consult your professional financial tax advisor before implementing the above giving illustrations to see how they may or may not apply to your personal tax situation. Top
 

 more year-end giving ideas that can provide significant tax benefits

As you consider your year-end tax planning, you will be wise to make good use of the income tax charitable deduction. Not only will this enable you to save significant taxes, but it will also enable you give more generously to make the world better. Year end giving is of course much more than tax savings, you gifts will help to bring hope to the world.

bulletGifts from Income - Not matter what your income, if you itemize, you can almost always lower your income taxes through charitable giving. The amount of the income tax savings will depend on your tax bracket. For example: if are in a 33% income tax bracket in 2007, and you itemize your deductions, a gift of $1,000 will in essence only cost you $670, because you will save at least $330 in taxes. If you live in a state that has an income tax, you may also be able to save on those taxes. Consider making more charitable gifts in those years when you have the most income - and are in the top federal income tax brackets. If such is the case for 2007, you may wish to consider accelerating future charitable gifts in this year. Always check with your tax advisor before you make your gifts.
bulletGifts of cash - Gifts from cash are fully deductible up to a maximum of 50% of your adjusted gross income. For example, if your adjusted gross income for 2007 is $50,000, up to $25,000 of charitable gifts may be deducted in 2007. Any excess can generally be carried forward and deducted over as many as five subsequent years. Make sure to check with your financial advisor to clarify exactly how this way of giving may apply to you.
bulletGifts of Stock - If you own stock, it is almost always more tax-wise to contribute stock than cash. This is because a gift of appreciated stock generally offers a two-fold tax savings. First you avoid any capital tax on the increase in the value of the stock. Second, you receive an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the stock at the time of the gift. For example: If you purchased some stock many years ago for only $1,000, and it is now worth $10,000, an outright gift of the stock would result in a charitable contribution deduction of $10,000. In addition, there is no capital gains tax on the $9,000 of appreciation. Make sure you have owned the stock for a "long term" period of time (this generally means that you have held the stock for more than one year) to qualify for these tax advantages. To receive the tax savings you will want to make sure that you transfer the stock to your church, not cash it in. Gifts of appreciated stock are fully deductible - up to a maximum of 30% of your adjusted gross income. For example, if your adjusted gross income for 2007 is $100,000, up to $30,000 of long term appreciated and other property gifts may generally be deducted in 2007. Any excess can be generally be carried forward and deducted over as many as five subsequent years. Always check with your stock broker or trust officer to arrange for a year end gift from your account.
bulletGifts of Real Estate - A residence, vacation home, farm, acreage, or vacant lot may have so appreciated in value through the years that its sale would mean a sizable capital gains tax. By making a year-end gift of this property instead, you would avoid the capital gains tax, and at the same time, receive a charitable deduction for the full market of value of the property.

The above illustrations are meant to provide ideas for gifts to charity. They are not professional recommendations. Remember to consult your professional financial tax advisor before implementing the above giving illustrations to see how they may or may not apply to your personal tax situation. Top
 

ABOUT VANDERWYDEN CONSULTANTS, INC. . .

VanderWyden Consultants provide professional fund-raising guidance to non-profit organizations and churches who need assistance with their fund-raising. We provide professional guidance for Capital Fund Campaigns, Stewardship Operating Budget Campaigns, Planned Giving Campaigns, Comprehensive Financial Feasibility Studies, and Workshops on the dynamics of stimulating growth in membership. If you would like to meet with us, since we provide our services throughout the United States, we may be available to meet with you and your church leadership when we are in your area, or if your church would like to host one of our Professional Workshops for churches or non-profit organizations in your area.

Our staff has conducted over 350 successful campaigns throughout the United States. Our "Joy of Generosity" Capital Fund Campaign program enables churches to raise as much as 13 times existing giving levels, and our "Wyden Your Horizons" Operating Budget Stewardship program results in increases of 15 - 35%. Top


SUBSCRIBE UNSUBSCRIBE INSTRUCTIONS. . .

To subscribe to this newsletter, send any email to Subscribe@WydenYourHorizons. com. To unsubscribe from this newsletter, and to remove your name from our database, send any email to Unsubscribe@WydenYourHorizons. com.

Doing so will generate automated replies from our database, requiring a confirming click. Email providers occasionally place this reply email in your Bulk, Junk, or Spšm folders -- so be sure to look there. If you do not receive or click the link in the reply email, you will not be subscribed or unsubscribed.

You can also contact me directly by replying to Bill@WydenYourHorizons. com. I will be happy to respond promptly and accommodate your requests. Please forward this to family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers who may be interested in subscribing themselves.

Blessings,

Bill VanderWyden

Rev. P. William VanderWyden, CFRE
President VanderWyden Consultants, Inc.
Headquarters -118 Westchester Drive, Amherst, Ohio 44001
Toll-Free Phone: 888-245-5826 (888-Bill-Van)
E-mail: Bill@WydenYourHorizons. com
Web: www. WydenYourHorizons. com

Top