Wendy McCormick


Wendy McCormick is the Center for Congregations’ southwest Indiana director. She has an interest in congregational fundraising and stewardship, including planned giving.

Contributions From Wendy McCormick

For The CRG Created For The CRG
Making Planned Giving Work

Planned giving doesn’t need to be a complicated challenge for your congregation. By following these principles, your congregation can start securing the financial future of your ministries.

Everyone needs a will.

Some people assume planned giving only applies to the very wealthy. The reality is that most people need a will, so a good starting point is to educate the congregation about the importance of having a will. As part of that conversation, invite people to include a final gift to the congregation in their wills. The vast majority of planned gifts arrive at the congregation in this manner.

Your faith community is uniquely positioned to talk about end-of-life issues.

Planned giving is best seen as a ministry. You can help people approach the end of life and stewardship of their assets from the perspective of their faith. Your congregation should root this conversation in your own faith tradition’s teachings about life and death, helping congregants to think about managing their assets based on what they most deeply believe and value.

Link this topic to your mission and vision.

Potential donors need to envision what your congregation could do with their gifts. Share your vision and help people to see how they could leave a legacy by supporting your congregation’s ongoing mission or a particular ministry or program. Make sure your congregation has a gift acceptance policy and a plan to receive and manage gifts through an endowment or other special fund. These tools will be helpful to your congregation and important to share with potential donors.

Congregations don’t need expertise in tax and legal issues.

The role of the congregational leader is to explain why planned giving is important in terms of faith and values and to share how the congregation can benefit from a planned gift. To determine the most beneficial planned giving vehicle, refer the individual donor to his/her attorney or tax advisor.

Rely on resources from your denomination or partner with your community foundation.

A number of denominations have resources to help congregations plan and promote wills and planned giving. Some denominations also offer a foundation to manage a congregation’s endowment fund. Consult your local community foundation as a possible partner in setting up an endowment fund and receiving planned gifts.

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
This book is based off a four-part biblical peacemaking method centered around the New Testament, giving congregations tools to take the first step towards reconciliation.
What To Do When… A Fight Breaks Out
These two video discussions suggest how to avoid congregational conflict and what to do when conflict arises.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
This resource outlines the importance of initiating difficult conversations, providing tips on how to do so and offering advice for specific topics situations like having a difficult conversation via phone.
A Door Set Open: Grounding Change in Mission and Hope
This book covers the basics of Family Systems Theory, identifying where congregations get stuck and how to reframe challenges and move forward.
Conflict Prevention and Mediation in the Jewish Tradition
This article provides an overview on conflict resolution and mediation in contemporary and traditional Jewish settings.
Principled Ministry: A Guidebook for Catholic Church Leaders
Grounded in scripture and tradition, this resource organizes 30 leadership principles into categories to target all areas of ministry, focusing on how to address situations of change and conflict.
Stilling the Storm: Worship and Congregational Leadership in Difficult Times
This resource offers guidance for worship planners in congregations going through difficulty and identifies key considerations for worship life.
Correcting Poor Communication
Written by two consultants on human sexuality issues and abuse prevention in congregations, this book chapter offers a guide on how congregational leaders can reduce secrecy and promote healthy communication, particularly related to abuse.
Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences
This book offers ground rules and strategies for handling disagreement.
The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict
This scripture-based book offers a Biblical view of peacemaking to help congregations through inevitable conflicts, outlining the steps of peacemaking.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
This guide can be useful for everyone within the congregation, ranging from clergy to congregates. It provides the reader with tools to effectively communicate during difficult conversations, along with how to listen, manage anger, and producing results.
Parish Evaluation Project (PEP)
This consulting organization provides a large variety of consulting services and is best known for the Parish Assessment and Renewal Process (PAR), a seventeen day assessment of all aspects of parish life leading to a strategic plan.
Thriving Through Ministry Conflict: A Parable of How Resistance Can Be Your Ally
This book seeks to resolve conflict on an individual level, asserting that the only thing one can change is oneself; therefore it is essential to understand how one manages conflict.
Getting to Amen: 8 Strategies for Managing Conflict in the African American Church
This book addresses the unique characteristics of conflict in African American congregations, revealing the eight strategies for managing conflict, and identifying divisive issues.
Staying with Conflict: A Strategic Approach to Ongoing Disputes
This book addresses the unique challenges of enduring conflict and equips congregational leaders with tools to minimize conflict avoidance before focusing on the importance of communication and managing power differentials.
Avoiding Splits – Fighting Fair in Church: Guidelines for an Effective Church Peacemaking-Mediation Process
This article addresses the problem of church conflict and the lack of training for pastors to handle it.
How to Lead in Church Conflict: Healing Ungrieved Loss
This resource equips leaders to help congregations grieve and heal after conflict, focusing on how to handle emotions such as loss, anger, guilt, and renewal.
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC)
This organization offers hands-on training clinics and onsite consulting for nonviolent conflict resolution and transformation.
Transforming Church Conflict: Compassionate Leadership in Action
This book evaluates nonviolent communication as a useful tool to be used by churches as a response to conflict, drawing connections between nonviolent communication theory and the Bible.
Orchestrate the Conflict: How to Creatively Engage Conflict to Achieve Leadership Goals
This book chapter offers a variety of strategies for congregations to address conflict creatively, allowing for positive change.
Engage Conflict Well: A Guide to Prepare Yourself and Others to Engage in Conflict Transformation
This 12-page booklet is divided into two sections --- first addressing the individual's internal process to address conflict, then applying those principles to the work of engaging others in conflict transformation.
Insights Into: Congregational Conflict
Part of a series produced by Faith Communities Today, this article analyzes the results of two surveys on the subject of congregational conflict.
Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict
This book reveals how congregations can deal with conflict in a healthy way that will promote growth, offering plans for action and accountability while identifying various "intensities of conflict."
Starting a Nonprofit at Your Church
This comprehensive book provides congregations with the necessary tools to decide whether or not starting a nonprofit organization is in their best interest, helping determine readiness and moving forward.
Thinking of Forming a Non-Profit? What to Consider Before You Begin
This 25-page booklet reviews the questions to ask and steps to take before determining whether or not to start a nonprofit organization.
Should Your Church Start a Nonprofit?
This concise article will be helpful for any congregation beginning to think about starting a nonprofit.
How to Start a Nonprofit
This article is a comprehensive overview of the steps for creating a successful nonprofit organization.
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This free online web resource, developed by LifeChurch.tv, aims to support a church staff in developing goals and addressing individual growth as well as conducting periodic evaluation. Focusing attention on the individual’ s personal dreams and goals, together with job responsibilities and ministry calling, it creates an overall culture of personal development in the ministry team or church staff.
Evaluating Your Ministry
This brief article advocates for ministry and program evaluation and overcoming discomfort with evaluation to include it in intentional and effective ways. It begins by noting that evaluation inevitably happens in informal ways, such as participants' casual conversation or their decision whether or not to continue participating. But since evaluation that is not planned and followed up doesn't provide benefits, it is important to build formal evaluation into all program planning. Some benefits include providing participants the opportunity to express opinion, providing planners with measurements to use in future planning, building on success and correcting mistakes. A simple process of tying evaluation plans to program goals is outlined along with some key questions for conducting an evaluation. Finally, the article includes brief descriptions of ten creative methods for inviting feedback and evaluation, along with a simple grid to use for conducting an evaluation. Designed for evaluation of education and formation programs, this tool will be useful to anyone involved in program planning and evaluation.
Projects That Matter: Successful Planning and Evaluation for Religious Organizations
This book describes a six-step process for designing and implementing a project evaluation, introducing project planning as a mission-related practice.
Completing the Circle: Reviewing Ministries in the Congregation
This book outlines an easy-to-follow process churches can use to more effectively evaluate their pastor, one that will result in a conversation between pastor and congregation about the ministry they are working towards.
When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the 21st Century Church
This book offers a 3-step process for effective congregational leadership evaluations, starting with the pastor's self reflection and a feedback group before the review group.
Level Best: How Small and Grassroots Nonprofits Can Tackle Evaluation and Talk Results
This resource makes it easy for congregations to measure the effectiveness of particular programs or ministries through the use of evaluations, providing sample questions and information on the different types of evaluation.
God's Tapestry: Understanding and Celebrating Differences
This book is meant for individuals and congregational leaders invested in understanding racial-ethnic differences, and is both practical and theological in its approach.
Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission
This resource will be useful for congregational leaders interested in ministry within a multi-cultural context. Using an ethnographic study of a single multi-cultural congregation, this book offers a case study on how to move a homogenous congregation towards a more diverse direction.
Becoming a Multicultural Church
This book details how one church went from being a traditional congregation to becoming a larger, multi-cultural church.
The Post-Black & Post-White Church: Becoming the Beloved Community in a Multi-Ethnic World
This book examines how to combine the theories behind multi-ethnic and missional church movements to aid leaders trying to start multi-ethnic congregations or encourage existing churches towards inclusivity.
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Worship Design Studio
Woship Design Studio is a web resource by Dr. Marcia McFee, a worship consultant with a background in music, theatre, theology, and liturgy. Here you will find a variety of resources available for turning worship into an integrated and meaningful experience with creative and engaging ideas.
Positive Change for Congregations
This article summarizes the experience of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations in teaching positive change processes to congregations through a one day event called Flourishing Congregations.
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Local Church Planned Giving Manual
This practical UCC resource helps congregationas develop and manage a planned giving ministry.
Special Needs Parenting: From Coping to Thriving
Written by a United Methodist minister and the mother of an adult son with special needs, this resource addresses the challenges and rewards of parenting or caring for a child with special needs
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Disabilities, Religion, and Spirituality Program
This web resource by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville, Tennessee provides wide-ranging disabilities research, services and training for educators, service providers and religious leaders.
Welcoming People with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families: A Practical Guide for Congregations
This short booklet contains helpful information and practical strategies to aid congregations in various aspects of including people with disabilities and their families.
Beyond Fundraising: A Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship
This book covers all aspects of congregational stewardship, ranging from the spirituality of giving to the need for intentional fundraising efforts.
Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing
This book revolves around the importance of focusing on the donor and will help congregations build programs of planned giving.
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Michael Rosen Says...
Written by an expert on planned giving, this blog includes articles and webinars on various aspects of philanthropy and giving.
Moving Your Church Through Conflict
This guide works through the five levels of conflict, identifying the warning signs and characteristics of each, along with steps to resolution.
The Little Book of Cool Tools for Hot Topics: Group Tools to Facilitate Meetings When Things Are Hot
This concise book will be helpful for people looking to spark conversations about difficult topics but aren't sure where to start. They will find tools for basic facilitation and dialogue.
Designing Your Congregation's Website
This report shares advice from several congregations who reevaluated their web presence, updated an existing website, or created a new one- either by DIY or hiring a web designer.
Family Life Centers and Congregations
This article offers insight and guidance to congregations contemplating building a Family Life Center.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Information for Churches and Religious Organizations
This website offers useful information for congregations seeking to clarify their nonprofit status, understand legal requirements, and find details about tax information for charitable organizations.
This organization provides congregations with educational training and consulting focused on peacemaking and conflict resolution, including dealing with lawsuits and church trials.
Kaleidoscope Institute
This organization provides training, week-long workshops, and consulting on a variety of topics such as multicultural competencies, missional ministries, gracious leadership, and "Holy Currencies" which is a model for building sustainable and missional congregations.
Levels of Conflict - Based on the work of Speed Leas
This article summarizes Speed Leas' work on the five levels of congregational conflict.
Engaging Young Adults
This data-packed report contains a summary of factors essential for improving young adult ministries.
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Strengthening Congregations: Paving the Road to Meaningful Young Adult Engagement
This web report from the 2013-2014 Union of Reform Judaism Young Adult Engagement Community of Practice is an interactive online resource with numerous action steps and resource links to enable a congregation to work through the process utilized by seven synagogues in the original Active Learning Network (ALN).
The Missional Church
This 11-page report and 4-page addendum offer a compilation of curated resources on the topic of "the missional church" to support congregations seeking missional engagement in a post-Christian context. The list is intentionally selective, highlighting the best wisdom and guidance available from both practitioners and theologians. The report begins with a brief description of the term "missional" and how it has been used since approximately 1998. Next, it identifies congregational situations or circumstances which might benefit from missional resources, even if the congregations do not specifically describe themselves as missional (for example: congregations wanting to serve the neighborhood or congregations seeking transformation). The report concludes with the listing of approximately 45 resources, including articles, books, organizations, websites, and persons with expertise. {{The 2012 addendum | http://centerforcongregations.org/system/files/Missional_Church_Addendum.pdf}} offers an additional 20 resources in this rapidly evolving field. Each listing is annotated and includes a website link and/or contact information.
Whose Offering Plate Is It?: New Strategies for Financial Stewardship
Stewardship and Generosity
This 20-page report is a curated list of resources in the field of congregational giving to help congregations teach and lead financial stewardship and generosity. The report notes a recent shift in the field of financial stewardship and stewardship education, in which the work is more focused on faith development and creating a culture of generosity, rather than simply raising money for worthy causes. This shift and the importance of the topic for congregations of all shapes and sizes led to the development of the report. Resources in the report are divided into sections, including books, websites, media, consultants, and events. Subcategories in the sections offer resources specifically for African American, Jewish, and Catholic audiences, as well as resources targeted to children. Within the sections, "top" resources are highlighted as well. Each listing is annotated and includes a website link and/or contact information. Any congregation is sure to find useful and easily accessible resources in this report.
A Temple Divided Can Still Stand Together
National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO)
This association helps congregations find state agencies that offer state-specific information about regulations for new congregations and congregations that conduct charitable activities or solicit charitable contributions.
How to Live Stream Worship Legally
This succinct and thorough summary of copyright law helps congregations stream worship online in compliance with legal guidelines.
Managing Your Church's Communication During Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This article helps congregations create effective and concise messages during an evolving crisis. Considerations include the amount of information, what’ s most important, and the best communication channels.
Ministering During COVID-19: Creative Ideas for Small Rural Congregations
This article lists doable, creative ideas from small rural congregations for how to do ministry under COVID-19 restrictions.
COVID-19 Re-opening Guidelines: Temple Adath B'nai Israel
This comprehensive synagogue re-opening plan clearly communicates with congregants what to expect during each phase of Indiana’ s reopening.
Coping with Crisis: Webinars for Youth
These recorded events support youth ministry leaders and parents during COVID-19 with advice from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.
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Town Hall Preaching During Crisis: Igniting Pastoral Imagination in the Face of Fatigue, Injustice and Collective Trauma
In this video clergy candidly discuss preaching justice and hope during the pandemic and racial injustice.
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