by Ellen Foell, Esq., Heartbeat International Legal Counsel
From On the LeaderBoard Volume 1, Issue 2
When was the last time your Board actually looked at your center’s Articles of Incorporation or, more to the point, rethought the issue of whether your center should be organized as a 501(c)(3) religious nonprofit corporation, rather than a charitable nonprofit corporation? I venture to guess that after your center was first organized, the paperwork for the Internal Revenue Service was submitted, accepted, 501(c)(3) status given, the letters locked away in a drawer and no one has seen them since. It may be time to take that letter out of the drawer, as well as the Articles and by laws, and rethink your center’s status with the IRS.
Most centers are not set up as religious organizations and indeed, there’s nothing that mandates it. Many centers typically cite the ability to receive grants as the primary reason for the charitable status. However, in today’s political and cultural climate, the charitable designation chosen by most centers, versus the religious designation, may not be as effective for achieving the goals of your center. In fact, because of the ever-increasing attempts of the proabortionists to shut down pregnancy care centers by any means, your center’s lack of religious status may expose your center to problems.
Some very useful benefits flow to a center that’s established as a religious corporation. Federal law permits a religious organization to inquire about an applicant’s religious beliefs in hiring for all positions. Most of the federal nondiscrimination laws don’t apply in hiring. Many states exempt religious organizations from employment discrimination laws. Finally, the First Amendment’s constitutional protection would flow to a center with regard to communications. In the next On the LeaderBoard article, we’ll examine this option further. For now, take the time to start to rethink the issue.
by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant
As your pregnancy organization’s board meets to craft this year’s budget, take a moment to give the room a silent once-over.
Are you looking at a gaggle of starry-eyed dreamers or a collection of bone-dry bean-counters? What if you could tip the scales… to the middle?
You see, two kinds of people need to be involved in the budgeting process. You want your organization’s budget to reflect a sort of modest ambition—a reasonable approach that still has the ability to stretch your organization and its mission. A budget that reflects wisdom and reliance upon the leading of God’s Spirit.
As valuable as starry-eyed dreamers are—the rest of us are happy to have you aboard!—these visionaries often need reigned in a bit by faithful, brass-tacks bean-counters who are best-geared to convert a vision to a reality by executing a plan and process from Point A to Point B.
A board full of visionaries may have an ever-increasing treasure trove of great ideas and lofty budgeting goals, but at some point, these ideas need evaluated, vetted, and implemented by folks with calculators, spreadsheets, and bank statements.
On the other hand, a board comprised of bean-counters will lack the kind of ambition your organization needs in order to truly grow and take those “next steps” visionaries are so very fond of.
Peter F. Drucker, who Business Week once heralded as “the man who invented management, had the following to say in his book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles:
The people who work within these industries or public services know that there are basic flaws. But they are almost forced to ignore them and to concentrate instead on patching here, improving there, fighting the fire or caulking that crack. They are thus unable to take the innovation seriously, let alone to try to compete with it. They do not, as a rule, even notice it until it has grown so big as to encroach on their industry or service, by which time it has become irreversible. In the meantime, the innovators have the field to themselves.”
So, we ask again… Who is sitting at your board table?
Who is missing?
Argentina is known for the tango, amazing beef, quality leather goods, and delicious chocolate.
Most recently, it’s also famous for providing the first pope from Latin America, Pope Francis.
In October, Argentina served as host country for the 5th Conference of the Red Latinoamericana Centro de Ayuda para Mujer (CAMs), where more than 200 pregnancy help leaders and volunteers from 10 different countries joined together for information and inspiration.
The conference featured keynotes by a representative from Human Life International, along with Heartbeat International Vice-President Jor-El Godsey, complimented by a list of break-out sessions including Heartbeat’s The LOVE Approach™ (La Propuesta de la Amor) and reaching the abortion-minded client.
CAM centers are growing across Latin America, more than doubling their number to over 130 centers in the past four years! We are blessed to partner with CAM, as—together—we advance the pregnancy help movement worldwide.
by Mary Peterson, Housing Consultant
It seems like a simple enough question, but it can make even a seasoned leader stumble… "What is success for your program?" Gulp.
As Christians, the question might make us especially squirmy. From a Christian viewpoint, success is modeling a life of love, planting seeds of insight, and observing tiny gestures of conversion of heart. We do our part in the work, and trust Christ to bring about the fruit by His Spirit.
But here’s the rub: Funders or major donors asking about success want to know more. They want concrete, measurable outcomes.
So, how do we go about establishing measurables and metrics? What can—at the very least—point to a pattern that just may be success?
With that goal in mind, leaders in the National Maternity Housing Coalition have begun working on a document to capture common strategies toward achieving various outcomes in practical skills, attitudes, and healthy behaviors.
The simple framework of NMHC’s work-in-progress resonates deeply with common sense, but is also rooted in up-to-date research from the Centers for Disease Control, addressing and preventing "adverse childhood experiences" while building resiliency skills. This framework articulates the work homes have been doing for years, while inviting leaders like you to share the "best of" what you’ve been doing, and considering new methods for serving moms in your ministry.
NMHC’s document is currently a working draft, and we would greatly benefit from your perspective! We are having a working session to collectively fill in the framework of this document on September 12 at 1 pm (CST). You can find details for the session here.
Please consider joining us to add your input to the document!
Our work, so dear to the heart of God, plays out on the stages of both the natural and supernatural. On a supernatural stage, we know God's vision for success is not easily quantified and measured.
But the natural stage is where we are called to articulate a vision for success that advances the excellent, transformative work of maternity homes.
And in doing so, we give God the glory!
Grace Chanda Swala was on the verge of giving up.
Having become executive director for Mansa Silent Voices in Zambia just a year ago, Grace and her family had laid the comfort of living in their own home on the altar, hoping to raise support for the fledgling center by renting out their home.
But by the time late July rolled around, and the Africa Cares for Life conference along with it, Grace was on the brink of losing heart.
Her heart burdened for the women and children in her community, and her spirit all but crushed under the weight of financial stress and worry, the five-day bus ride from Zambia to Durbin, South Africa, seemed like an eternity.
Would her center ever reach and rescue the women she passed by on the street every day? Could her ministry thrive under such tight constraints and seemingly insurmountable obstacles?
Would Grace and her family face financial ruin because of their selfless sacrifice on behalf of women and babies in Mansa?
Meanwhile, as Grace traveled the five days from Mansa to Durbin, grace was traveling halfway across the world to meet her, as Heartbeat International’s Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell arrived for a full week of speaking and teaching at the conference.
Betty’s week started with a visit to Pregnancy Resource Centre, a maternity home in Durbin, and followed up with an in-depth day on fundraising all day Monday and into Tuesday morning.
While teaching two sessions on Heartbeat’s Sexual Integrity™ Program early in the week, Betty delivered two keynotes to the 80-plus person conference, which included representatives from three African nations.
“Vision came through as a major theme at this conference,” Betty said. “These friends face so many hardships we don’t here in the U.S., or even most parts in the west. It blew me away to hear from each organization about the problems they deal with: HIV, high crime rates, and even personal safety at risk on a day-to-day basis, and yet they keep at their work in spite of all these obstacles.”
“Africa Cares for Life did a superb job with this conference, and so much of the credit goes to Shanno Enoch, who was running her first conference as Executive Director,” Betty said. “That group is such an encouraging example of what true learners and servant-leaders look like.”
As the conference, “New Beginnings… Bountiful Harvest,” progressed, leaders like Grace were refreshed, encouraged and better equipped to hold fast to the Gospel of Life in spite of the daunting challenges they face every day.
For Grace, the conference truly proved to be a new beginning. As she boarded the bus back to Mansa, prepared for five days en route home, Grace reveled in the encouragement, instruction, and fellowship that had left her rejuvenated, and freshly ready to pursue her God-given call.
Grace also reflected on God’s faithfulness to provide a harvest. Even after a hard year of working the Zambian soil.
by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
Probably the most common question asked when center leaders get together is, “How many unique clients do you see?”
Presumably, the higher the client number, the better the outreach. And it seems to follow, the better the outreach, the better the outcomes. But does this really reveal the whole picture? The answer in a word... hardly.
Yes, more client numbers generally suggests there are actually more “outcomes.” But does it naturally follow that those outcomes are “better”?
The answer to this question requires a deeper look, beyond focusing on total client numbers, and more closely evaluating the outcomes they represent. We have to ask, “What outcomes are we representing?”
Do we count a last known intention after one visit the same as that of a client we’ve seen several times throughout her pregnancy?
How do we qualify discussions relative to spiritual interactions? As faith-motivated ministries, we recognize the context of a life-and-death decision is every bit as spiritual as specifically choosing to follow Christ. Do we count both as equal in light of our mission?
Forty-plus years into the pregnancy help ministry, we all stand on the backs of entrepreneurs who blazed the trail before us. Those courageous folks—some of whom are still very active in our ministry today—tackled challenges like getting real-time pregnancy test results (before the easy tests were available) and getting listed in the Yellow Pages.
These pioneers learned to successfully draw someone who was not looking for their services (even though they desperately needed it), and that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our movement, as we push into the new electronic marketing frontiers and mobile device client intake.
With that, we must continually make room for the intrapreneurs among us—those who may not push the envelope per se, but who work to maximize their ministry’s effectiveness. Intrapreneurs spend time on process, protocol and efficiency (not to be confused with effectiveness).
These in turn help serve better outcomes as well as more outcomes. Pushing into new territory is important, but not to the exclusion of developing the territory we are already in. Thankfully, God provides those with temperaments fit for the task.
Take up the task of becoming a pregnancy help movement Intrapreneur today. You can begin by taking one more look at how you evaluate your outcomes.
Just like any other everyday hero, the quartet of life-savers honored as Servant Leaders at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference quietly go about their business with no expectation of being celebrated this side of heaven.
It came as no surprise, then, when the first winner—Becky Coggin Hyde—stood speechless, even flabbergasted, as Heartbeat President Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, PhD, announced the Arlington (TX) Pregnancy Centers director as the first of four recipients for Heartbeat’s most prestigious award.
Becky was joined by Beverly Kline, Ann Carruth, and Amy Jones, while Mary K. Tiller was tabbed as the inaugural “Heart of the Future Award” honoree for emerging leaders in the pregnancy help movement.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Becky became Director of Arlington Pregnancy Centers in 1987, and has served in that capacity ever since. In her 26 years, Becky has expanded the center—now called Arlington/Mansfield Pregnancy Centers—to four locations, along with a resale store that funds much of the ministry.
“Becky’s leadership skills are excellent,” one of her co-workers said. “When the Lord lays something on her heart and there is unanimous agreement with the Board, she moves expediently. She waits on the Lord, and she doesn’t move until she is sure He is in the midst of whatever project presents itself.”
Another of the award winners laboring in Texas, Beverly Kline, founded Living Alternatives in 1982 and still serves as executive director for the ministry that has served women and families with everything from pregnancy tests and living accommodations to life-skills training and adoption services in its 31-year history.
Originally based in Beverly’s one-bedroom apartment in Tyler, Texas, Living Alternatives now includes a pregnancy resource center, a resale ministry for teen foster girls (“Keeps Boutique”), a maternity home, and an adoption agency.
The third Texan recognized as a Heartbeat Servant Leader at her home-state Conference was Dallas-based Council for Life Founder Emeritus Ann Carruth.
One of 11 original founders of what was then known as Pregnancy Resource Council in 2001, Ms. Carruth’s vision to support a local pregnancy center began with a single banquet called “Celebrities Celebrating Life,” and has since raised $3.3 million.
Council for Life, who has partnered financially with Heartbeat, began a national affiliate program in 2011, encouraging other major pro-life donors in U.S. cities to unite for the cause of Life.
Amy Jones currently serves as Director of Servants for Life, an international ministry based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, which offers mentoring, coaching, counseling, and training to ministry leaders and boards. She began her life in ministry as a high schooler serving with Youth for Christ, and spent 22 years leading Christian Life Home, a housing ministry for young, pregnant girls.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship and as a consultant with Heartbeat International.
The founder and executive director for Expectant Heart Pregnancy Resource Center in Longview, Texas, Mary K. Tiller was given the first Heart of the Future award for younger leaders stepping into key roles in local pregnancy help organizations across the globe.
Mary K., who holds a master’s degree in Human Services, Marriage and Family from Liberty University, founded Expectant Heart in 2011, and the center began serving clients in November of 2012.
“Mary K. represents what a next-generation leader should be,” Heartbeat Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell, LAS, said. “We have witnessed firsthand that she is a servant leader and a learner, and because of that, it has been our delight to work with her.”
To view all Heartbeat Servant Leader award recipients, click here.
“A servant leader is one who has a servant’s heart and mind, a servant’s values and attitudes, but a leader’s skill, a leader’s vision and ingenuity, and a leader’s creativity. A leader in its simplest definition has two primary ingredients. He is (1) influencing people (2) in a certain direction. That direction may be positive or negative.”-Tim Hansel
About the Award
Servant Leaders Awards are given to recognize special people who have given of themselves sacrificially in the service of Life, as both servants of others and leaders in their own right.
The first awards were given to individuals and couples who were some of the “giants” in the first 25 years of Heartbeat’s history, when we were called AAI.
Since we began awarding this honor in 1996, this list has grown to over 60 life-affirming individuals and couples, foot soldiers just like you, who have lovingly answered the call to hold each life precious.
by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
Before you break out the mission statement, ministry tag-line or branded sound-bite, let’s look past today’s pundits’ and consultants’ definition of success.
Let’s see what the “Owner’s Manual” has to say about success. After all, if we are a Christian ministry, or simply Christians ministering, we should understand what the Bible has to say about success.
The New International Version has only a couple dozen occurrences of the word “success” (a few dozen more if we add “successor,” “successive,” etc.), and all of them are in the Old Testament.
When success is the subject of the verse, we see two distinct patterns. First, success is something that comes from the Lord, like Nehemiah 2:20: “I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success...’” Second, success is a reward for partnering/cooperating with the Lord, like we find in 2 Chronicles 26:5b: “As long as [King Uzziah] sought the LORD, God gave him success.”
Notice also that success noted in the examples above can be both corporate (“give us”) and individual (“gave him”). And again, success is noted as a gift from the Lord. Although the New Testament has no direct references to “success,” there are two themes that seem to indicate success among believers. These two, like the Old Testament references, are indicative of working and receiving from God.
1. Faithfulness. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, the Apostle Paul explains, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Our Lord asks us to be full of faith, particularly faith He will accomplish what He desires, both in and through us.
2. Fruitfulness. In the Gospel of John (15:8), Jesus states, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Fruit, ostensibly good fruit, is also an indicator of our relationship to God and our faith in Him. We were created for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10) that bring glory to Him and advance His kingdom (in our hearts and elsewhere).
So, in our work today, success is more than any “outcome” (that word only shows up once... in The Message) related to our mission. Positive outcomes are excellent and to be celebrated as one measure of success. But as both ministers and ministries, our success must include faithfulness to the mission—even in the face of opposition—and fruitfulness where we count the victories of those who embrace life, and life everlasting.
As you take stock of the year just past, look back a little further. Rick Warren says we “overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, and yet underestimate what we can do in a decade.”
Look back over the last decade (or more) as a minister and a ministry, and celebrate the success of faithfulness and fruitfulness.
by Ellen Foell, Heartbeat International Legal Counsel
Your vision statement can, and should, serve as a north star, a guide to your center for all decisions and activities.
You should be able to communicate your organization’s raison d'être (reason for existence) to the most uninitiated passerby simply by quoting your vision statement.
To quote Heartbeat International’s GOVERN Well: Your Personal Board Member Manual:
The board should be committed to a vision that can be described as “what the world/our community will look like” when our mission is accomplished, when our overall goal is reached. (Section II, G-1)
Although crafting the vision statement can seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t need to be. A board seeking to craft a vision statement, or retool an existing statement, may want to consider the following suggestions:
1. Describe the organization’s purpose. The purpose should be described in one or two reader-friendly, jargon-free sentences. People outside your organization should be able to understand and appreciate your purpose by simply reading your vision statement.
2. Describe the population the organization will serve. For example, most pregnancy help centers serve women and children. However, some centers’ scope of service also includes everyone affected by unplanned pregnancies. In describing the targeted population, be brief, but comprehensive.
Example: “A community where true reproductive health care, based on the dignity of the person made in the image of God, and God’s plan for our sexuality, transcends death centered health care for women and their families.”
3. Describe the activities in which the organization will participate. Keep this description simple and short. You don’t need to list every service your center offers. A board should try to write this part of the vision statement in two sentences or less.
Example: “A community where every child has a chance to be born healthy and to be placed in the arms of a mother and father equipped in every way to provide a Christian home.”
4. Outline the organization's values. This part of the statement outlines the values that led to the center’s formation and the values partners, board, employees, and volunteers will exhibit while working towards the organization’s goals. Words like “true,” “dignity of the person,” and “image of God” all convey that the sanctity of life is a core value at the following center.
5. Describe what the organization wishes to accomplish. Answer the question, “What success looks like? In looking at the housing ministry’s statement we used above, it’s clear that, for this ministry, every child will be born healthy and placed in a Christian home:
Example: “A community where every child has a chance to be born healthy and to be placed in the arms of a mother and father equipped in every way to provide a Christian home.”
An organization’s vision statement speaks volumes about the board, the staff, and those associated with the organization. A good vision statement also pulls in those who previously had no connection with you.
Is it time to take a fresh look at your vision statement?
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