Author Archive | Sarai Rice

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When is the Right Time to Close Our Doors?

We live in anxious times, and one of the things that makes small congregations especially anxious is the fear that they might need to close. As members watch their Sunday morning worship attendance dwindle, someone usually starts “running the numbers,” trying to determine how long they can continue before the money runs out and they’re […]

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Sunday May Be Sacred, But Church Is Not

“I only have my son every other weekend and he doesn’t like church, so I don’t come those Sundays.” This is the voice of a church member attending a committee planning session I recently led. She was clearly an active member, committed enough to the life of her congregation to spend 4½ hours talking on […]

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Are We Half Full or Half Empty?

As I reflected on Mary’s death yesterday, I realized that Mary and I were good friends with very different perspectives. When it came to people, she always saw the glass as half full, which may explain her faith in my children but which got in her trouble sometimes when people she trusted turned out to […]

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What, Besides Money, Do Churches Owe the IRS?

by Sarai Rice Today, I’m talking to the 95% of you who think IRS rules are not as interesting as biblical texts or pastoral visits. You may be right 🙂 ! However, not caring about IRS rules could cost your congregation time and money. Let’s start where I started this week—with a religious body that […]

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How Do I Learn What Seminary Didn’t Teach Me?

Most ministers, me included, probably discovered early in our careers that we don’t have the full set of skills essential to congregational leadership, skills that include not only preaching and pastoral care but also congregational governance, employee supervision and evaluation, fundraising, change management, long-range planning, marketing/brand development, and budgeting. When this is true, where do […]

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Stepping up our Congregational Fundraising Game

An entire philanthropic industry, complete with journals, associations, specialized vendors, academic research, and special reports, exists to support nonprofit fundraising. I know because in my day job as a nonprofit executive, I’m bombarded with articles, tools and reports designed to help me raise the $3.5 million that I need annually to feed 15,000 people a […]

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Is It Ever the Right Time to Fire Someone?

Most of us clergy didn’t go into ministry because we like to fire people. Nor do members of congregations like to spend time otherwise designated for spiritual renewal addressing personnel issues. But every congregation that has a mission needs competent staff who are willing to be held accountable for their jobs, and not everyone is […]

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