SACRIFICE & How a Lowly Monk Ended Rome’s Bloody Gladiator Duels – celebrated Jan. 14th.

By Lawrence W. Reed, author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction.

… Fought in stadiums before tens of thousands of boisterous onlookers, ancient Roman gladiator duels are well known today—more than 1,600 years since the last one was fought. Too few people, however, know of the one man who deserves the most credit for bringing those bloody spectacles to an end. A lowly monk from either Turkey or Egypt, his name was Telemachus.

By the old Julian calendar of Telemachus’s day, he performed his famous duel-ending deed on January 1, 404 A.D. You can wait a couple of weeks and celebrate it on January 14 if you choose, because that’s the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar the world uses today.

…By January 404, the remaining days of the western Roman Empire were numbered… The place had largely become a moral cesspool run by brutal and often megalomaniacal tyrants

…In this environment, Telemachus made his appearance. Rome was his destination after a long sojourn from Asia Minor. A stadium packed with raucous, sadistic pagans may not sound like a place that would attract a pious pilgrim, but Telemachus was on a mission. What happened on that fateful January day in 404 was recorded as follows by Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus in Book V of his Ecclesiastical History:

There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavored to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another.  The spectators of the slaughter were indignant and inspired by the fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the admirable Emperor (Honorius) was informed of this he numbered Telemachus among the victorious martyrs and put an end to that impious spectacle.

Another account claims that as he raised his arms between dueling gladiators, Telemachus repeatedly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Yet another, though likely spurious one, reports that the spectators fell silent at the monk’s murder and then, one by one, quietly filed out of the stadium. There’s no real dispute over this central fact, however: Moved by those last, courageous moments of Telemachus’s life, Emperor Honorius immediately stopped the killing games of ancient Rome—forever.

One man made a difference. He was a man of little note before January 1, 404. We know almost nothing else about him but what I’ve told you here. It’s likely that few, if any, in the stadium that day noticed him when he entered, but they all knew afterward what he came for and what he did.

Read more at … https://fee.org/articles/how-a-lowly-monk-ended-romes-bloody-gladiator-duels/

#SundayChurchHacks: Don’t let architects or city regulations dictate how many parking spaces you have. You should have a surplus of 25% on the busiest day of the year. Today (January) and parking was completely full two minutes after the service started. I watched car after car drive around the parking lot and just leave. #MissioMisstep

SECULARISM & Church of England has ‘swallowed political correctness wholesale’, Queen’s former chaplain says, as he converts to Catholicism.

by Izzy Lyons, The UK telegraph Newspaper, 12/22/19.

Dr Gavin Ashenden, who served the Queen from 2008 to 2017, said that the Church is increasingly bowing to the “non-negotiable demands of secular culture” and has remained “astonishingly silent” when it comes to defending Christian values…

He has now chosen to convert to Catholicism because he believes it has the “courage, integrity and conviction to hold the Christian ground”…

“Freedom of speech is slowly being eroded; those who refuse to be ‘politically correct’ risk accusations of thought crime and Christians are being unfairly persecuted,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday. “And where is the Church of England in this crucial culture war? Is it on the front line? Not that I can see. If anything, it has switched sides.

“This isn’t just a shame, it’s a calamity…

“In each generation, Christianity has a choice: convert its surroundings or be converted by it. Regrettably, I have come to believe that the Church of England has given up on the essentials of the faith at points where it really matters,” he added. 

Read more at … https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/22/church-englandhas-swallowed-political-correctness-wholesale/

STAFF & Ditch the Annual Performance Reviews. Do this Instead (and Unite Your Team). How Successful Companies Do It.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I suggest most of my clients initiate at least quarterly one-on-one meetings with their staff instead of an annual performance review. Read the article below to see why annual performance reviews have shown to be ineffective about 80% of the time. Discover instead how one-on-one meetings at least each quarter (where you discuss goal setting, growth opportunities and how you can assist one another) grows better employees.

by Marla Tabaka, Inc. Magazine, 11/30/19.

This SHRM study found that as many as 72% of companies still conduct yearly reviews even though 87% of both managers and employees find them ineffective. 

A Gallup study revealed that employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t communicate regularly. The benefits related to frequent feedback, goal setting, and growth opportunities far outweigh the value of an annual review. 

 Here are a few tips on how to make your transition smoothe.

Take notes.

Doing away with annual reviews does not preclude the need for documentation. Keep ongoing notes on your discussions and the action steps that result from them. In the case of an underperforming employee, this is especially important.

Discuss reward and compensation.

Tell employees when and if they can expect a raise. The absence of an annual review could leave employees wondering about their financial future with the company.

Don’t slack. 

It’s great when you stop someone in the hallway to acknowledge an achievement, but a scheduled meeting still needs to take place. I have one client who meets with each of her five employees weekly, some of my clients hold meetings with employees monthly, and some quarterly. Determine your schedule by considering goals for your culture, the stage of growth the company is in, and how employees are performing. Avoid putting off a meeting with an employee for any reason; this sends the message that they don’t come first.

Listen.

These meetings aren’t about you; they are about the employee. Your time together is the perfect opportunity to ask them questions about their ideas and vision. Ask them for feedback about your leadership and communication style and let them voice their general concerns should there be any. 

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/ditch-annual-performance-reviews-this-is-how-progressive-companies-do-it.html

STAFFING & The Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network Method for Analyzing the Cost Efficiency of Your Staff (FTE, full-time staff equivalency)

by Tim Stevens, Vanderbloemen Associates, 5/30/18.

… Below are three key factors to consider when answering the question, “Are we spending too much on staff?”

1. Percentage of Budget Designated for Staff

…Generally you will hear that your staff expenses (salaries, benefits, training, etc.) should not exceed 50% of your total general operating budget. That is a good rule-of-thumb, but there are several variables that you’ll want to consider, as each situation will be different.

  • Established multi-site churches with several sites often see staff costs as low as 35% to 40% of their overall budget. This is because they can find efficiencies with a central support staff, and if they utilize a video venue model, they don’t have to pay teaching pastors for every location.
  • If you believe in hiring proven leaders who can grow their ministry, you will likely have a higher percentage of your budget going toward staff. High capacity leaders cost more.
  • If most of your hires are internal (hired from within your congregation), you might be able to keep staff costs lower. These staff members might be in a dual-income family (thus reducing costs of benefits), and might be willing to work for far less than the national average due to their connection to the church and belief in the mission.
  • How well you leverage your volunteer base will make a difference in how much you spend for staff. I’ve worked with many churches that have a history of hiring staff way too quickly. Their first impulse is to hire, rather than to organize and equip volunteers. I think that is wasteful, both of the church’s money, but also of the giftedness of the congregation members, many whom would step up and serve if asked…

2. Staff-to-Congregation Ratio

The second benchmark is to look at how many staff you have compared to the size of your congregation (measured by average weekly attendance). Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network published a joint study of large churches (defined as 500+ in attendance) that took a deep look at salaries and trends in church staffing. That study indicates that the attendance to staff ratio is 76:1. That is, for every 76 persons in average worship attendance, churches have one full-time staff person. Those numbers consist of all staff, including pastors, directors, administrative staff, custodians and others. (It would not include staff devoted to non-church functions like a school).

Other studies have reported similar findings. Paul Alexander, who works with The Unstuck Group, reports that they see the average ratio of churches they consult at 86:1.

How to calculate your ratio:

Example Your Numbers
1. Add the total weekly hours of your part-time staff

(Example: 2 staff x 10 hours (20), 2 staff x 20 hours (40), and 1 at 30 hours would equal 90 hours)

90
2. Divide line #1 by 40 2.25
3. Add total number of full-time staff 6
4. Total Full-Time Equivalents (add lines 2 and 3) 8.25
5. Average weekly attendance (include kids) 950
6. Divide line 5 by line 4 115
7. The result is your attender-to-staff ratio 115:1

If your ratio is higher than 90:1, that means you are more efficient with your staff than the typical church. This might be a good sign, demonstrating a highly efficient team or showing an unusually good usage of volunteers. It also might mean your team is showing stress cracks. If you are in this category, and you have noticed your team is working unusually long hours and finding it difficult to balance family with work, then you probably need to work toward a solution that may involve bringing on additional staff. If you have high turnover, it might mean the expected work level is unsustainable.

If your ratio is lower than 70:1, then you are blessed with more staff than the average church. Start-up churches often have low ratios since they begin with a core of staff (worship, teaching, children, etc.) and initially don’t have any people. Their staff ratio can get closer to the average as the church takes root…

3. Combining These Two Benchmarks

For a deep dive into your numbers, consider both of these benchmarks together. What percentage of budget are you spending on staff and what is your attender-to-staff ratio?

  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is low – you have room to increase salaries. Make sure you are paying your core staff what they are worth. It costs a lot more money to replace a high-performing staff member than it does to keep one. Consider this as you set next years’ salaries.
  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is high – you need to consider reducing staff over time through attrition. You likely have too much staff. If your offerings are okay, you probably don’t need to lay off staff. But every time someone decides to leave, you should consider moving people around and avoid replacing them – that is, until your attendance or offerings increase.
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is low – you have room to hire additional staff, and may want to consider doing this for the health of your existing staff. They are likely feeling the stress of long hours and wearing multiple hats. Get them some help!
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is high – you likely have limited income and need to work hard to engage and equip your volunteers to help carry the load. Consider getting a copy of my book, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and focus on getting more of your laity engaged in the work of the ministry.

This article provides some broad categories that will hopefully give you some direction. If our team at Vanderbloemen Search Group can be helpful in providing customized consulting for your team, we’d love the opportunity to partner with you.

Read more at … https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/cost-efficient-employees-church

STAFFING & A History of FTE (full-time staff equivalents) and How Many Staff Members Do You Need? #Staffing/MembershipRatios

By Susan Beaumont, Ministry Matters Magazine, 6/29/13.

… Faith Communities Today (Fact 2008, 2010) is a study out of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, that looked at, among other things, how 3,000 congregations allocated their budgets. Researchers discovered that the average U.S. Protestant congregation allocates 45 percent of its total operating budget to payroll-related costs. Mainline churches spend considerably more (49 percent) on payroll-related expenses than either the Evangelical Protestant (31 percent) or the Catholic/Orthodox communities (41 percent)

… A Leadership Network study (which focused on staffing costs in larger congregations) found that the following factors were related to staff costs:

  • Whether the church is growing. Staffing costs are leaner for churches whose attendance is growing, perhaps because growing churches have not “caught up” with emergent staffing needs.
  • The dominant age group of the congregation. Staffing costs are leaner, but only slightly, for churches where the average person’s age in the congregation is lower.
  • The year in which the church was founded. The younger the church, the leaner the staffing costs.
  • The location of the church. Staffing costs are lower for residential and new suburban locations and slightly higher for older suburb and downtown churches.
  • Race. Staffing costs are leanest for predominantly African American churches and highest for Anglo European churches.
  • Use of paid part-time staff. Staffing costs have no relationship to the percentage of paid part-time staff in relation to full-time staff, until a congregation employs three or more paid part-timers for each full-time staff.
  • Economic level of the congregation. Staffing costs are leanest for churches whose internal constituency is described as poor and highest for churches with an internal constituency described as wealthy.

Staffing/Membership Ratios

Perhaps the longest standing rule of thumb about staffing structures is the ratio of program staff to average worship attendance. In 1965 Martin Anderson wrote one of the first books to address staffing models in the larger church, Multiple Ministries. He recommended a staffing ratio of 1 pastor for every 500 members (1:500) . Looking back on that number, it is hard to believe that congregations ever functioned with such lean staff teams, but in fact they did. Remember that this book was written during a time when worship attendance and membership were more closely aligned, when membership meant different things than it does today, when volunteerism in the church worked differently, and when church programming was more homogenous and standardized than it is today. No church today would ever dream of targeting a 1:500 staffing ratio and expect to meet the needs of its congregants.

In 1980 Lyle Schaller wrote The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church in which he introduced average worship attendance as a more reliable indicator of staffing needs. Schaller proposed a ratio of 1:100 as a guideline for the typical ratio of full-time paid professional staff positions in mainline Protestant congregations. In 2000 Gary McIntosh wrote Staff Your Church for Growth and suggested that a 1:150 paid professional staff ratio was a more realistic and affordable guideline. Both Schaller and McIntosh focused on the combination of professional clergy leaders and professional program staff leaders. Their ratios did not include administrative or support staff. Both assumed that the staffing ratio remained constant across size ranges.

So, given these conflicting guidelines, what is the most effective way to think about the size of the staff team relative to the active membership base of the congregation? The same 2010 Leadership Network Study that looked at the characteristics of a lean staff team created an alternative way of thinking about staff size relative to attendance. Rather than thinking solely about program or clergy staff in relationship to attendance, the Leadership Network study looked at the ratio of all full-time staff equivalents (FTEs) to attendance. Furthermore the study looked at how that ratio changed as the percent of budget devoted to staffing expense increased and decreased. Here is what they found.

Staff Costs as a Percent of Budget              Ratio of Staff to Attendees

10-19%                                                1:108

20-29%                                                1:91

30-39%                                                1:73

40-49%                                                1:73

50-59%                                                1:70

60-69%                                                1:59

The conclusion here is obvious. If you spend more of your budget on staff, then you have more staff per attendee than other congregations do. The results also suggest that churches with higher staffing budgets don’t necessarily pay their staff better; they just hire more staff. The ratios are helpful benchmarks as to how many staff congregations employ. Given that the average congregation spends between 48 and 50 percent of its operating budget on payroll, we can assume the average congregation employs one full-time equivalent staff member for every 70 to 73 people in average weekend worship attendance.

Determining how large of a staff team that you need depends upon your mission and your context. No benchmark can answer the question for you. It should never be your objective to match the averages quoted in this article. However, these averages can be used as a starting point for good dialogue between you and your leaders. Do you lie inside or outside of the normative parameters outlined here? In what ways does the unique nature of your mission and your context require something outside of the norm?

Read more at … https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/4094/how-many-staff-do-you-need

#OD723 #FTE

SOCIAL MEDIA & Archbishop of Canterbury, warns against ‘alternative facts’ online & launches “social media guidelines” for the church. #GoodModel

by Alex Hern, The London Guardian Newspaper, 7/1/19.

The archbishop of Canterbury has said “there is no such thing as an alternative fact” and called on Christian social media users to engage with an attitude of “truth, kindness and welcome” online.

Speaking at Facebook’s London office to the social network’s European head, Nicola Mendelsohn, Justin Welby expressed his concern at how “savagely social media can be used”.

“Look at any article, and then look at the comments below it and very quickly you find stuff that is just poison,” he said.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 12.39.49 PM.png

In an effort to counter the problem, the Church of England announced a set of social media guidelines, a first in the organisation’s history, built around the three precepts – truth, kindness and welcome – articulated by the archbishop.

“When you’re talking on social media, put the truth out. There’s no such thing as an alternative fact: there are opinions, and there is truth.

“When you are expressing an opinion, do so with kindness. And be welcoming: don’t throw out stuff, tweet or post things, that is a shut-out. That’s not the point of social media. It is social media.”

The Church will be following the guidelines in its postings on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Welby said: “We don’t want people to lie, to act with cruelty, or to use religious jargon in a way that ontologically results in some epistemological confusion – to use some religious jargon… it’s the golden rule that Jesus Christ talks about: treat others as you would like to be treated.”

A livestream was broadcast to an online audience of 300, a small group compared with the larger crowds who tuned in to watch the archbishop leading bible studies when Facebook Live was a newer platform. The select audience may have missed Welby apparently coming down on the side of reform of Britain’s upper chamber of parliament, when he said that, sitting in the House of Lords, “you just think: why am I here?”

Read more here … https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/01/church-of-england-publishes-social-media-guidelines

Here are the guidelines:

Our community guidelines have been created to encourage conversations that reflect our values. They apply to all content posted on the national social media accounts run by the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York.

Social media is a very public way of enabling us as Christians to live out our calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ. One of its many joys is that it is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This opportunity comes with a number of downsides if users do not apply the same common sense, kindness and sound judgement that we would use in a face-to-face encounter.

While written specifically for all users who engage with the Church of England’s and Archbishops’ national social media channels, these guidelines are built on universal principles. They are a resource for Christians, people of other faiths and people of no faith. Dioceses and local churches across the Church of England are welcome and encouraged to adopt them.

By engaging with the Church of England and Archbishops’ social media accounts, you agree to:

  • Be safe. The safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults must be maintained. If you have any concerns, ask a diocesan safeguarding adviser.
  • Be respectful. Do not post or share content that is sexually explicit, inflammatory, hateful, abusive, threatening or otherwise disrespectful.
  • Be kind. Treat others how you would wish to be treated and assume the best in people. If you have a criticism or critique to make, consider not just whether you would say it in person, but the tone you would use.
  • Be honest. Don’t mislead people about who you are.
  • Take responsibility. You are accountable for the things you do, say and write. Text and images shared can be public and permanent, even with privacy settings in place. If you’re not sure, don’t post it.
  • Be a good ambassador. Personal and professional life can easily become blurred online so think before you post.
  • Disagree well. Some conversations can be places of robust disagreement and it’s important we apply our values in the way we express them.
  • Credit others. Acknowledge the work of others. Respect copyright and always credit where it is due. Be careful not to release sensitive or confidential information and always question the source of any content you are considering amplifying.
  • Follow the rules. Abide by the terms and conditions of the various social media platforms themselves. If you see a comment that you believe breaks their policies, then please report it to the respective company.

How will we respond to people who breach our social media community guidelines?

The Church’s and Archbishops’ Communications teams may take action if they receive complaints or spot inappropriate, unsuitable or offensive material posted to the national social media accounts. This may include deleting comments, blocking users or reporting comments as appropriate.

Who do I speak to for further advice?

If you have a safeguarding concern, please follow the policies and procedures on this page or use this contact form.

 

Read the guidelines here … churchofengland.org/guidelines