Assertiveness: A Mind-Set that Leads to Achievement

by Leroy Hamm for IHD Corporation, NACDB Member

Years of frustration from living in a “prison of passivity” led me to write this article. Saying “yes” to decisions and people when I should have said “no” left me living with some very negative consequences – in some cases for years afterward. The internal struggle of feeling powerless in some situations and of being tentative in circumstances that required honest, direct communication left me ultimately with a choice: Learn how to communicate more effectively, regardless of the different communication styles of others, or stay locked in my ineffective, self-made prison. I had to learn to be more assertive.

Assertiveness is not just a skill, it is a mind-set. And it can be difficult to learn because living it is more of an emotional issue than a rational one – both for the aggressive and for the passive person. It is a matter of unlearning certain misconceptions and learning another way of looking at one’s self and others. In a word, it is confidence. In their book, Execution, Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan and Charles Burek call assertiveness or confidence “emotional fortitude.” “Emotional fortitude,” says Bossidy, “gives you the courage to accept points of view that are opposite of yours and deal with conflict and the confidence to encourage and accept challenges in group settings. It enables you to deal with your own weaknesses, be firm with people who aren’t performing, and to handle the ambiguity inherent in fast-moving, complex organizations.” He goes on to say, “How can your organization face reality if people don’t speak honestly and if its leaders don’t have the confidence to surface and resolve conflicts or give and take honest criticism?”

Bossidy’s “emotional fortitude” is assertiveness, and managers have to have it or run the risk of not having any effectiveness. In the book, First Break All the Rules, by Buckingham & Coffman of the Gallup organization, according to their feedback, it is the mid-level manager who makes or breaks an organization. They report, “We discovered that the manager – not pay, benefits, perks or a charismatic corporate leader – was the critical player in building a strong workplace. The manager was the key. People leave managers, not companies. If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers.”


Why do people leave their managers? In a study by Morgan McCall & Michael

Lombardo titled, Derailed Executives, six out of ten reasons that managers derail on their way to the top had to do with relationships. They are as follows:

  1. Insensitivity to others, an abrasive, intimidating bullying style.
  2. Coldness, aloofness or arrogance.
  3. Over-managing, failing to delegate or to build a team.
  4. Failure to staff effectively.
  5. Inability to adapt to a boss with a different style.
  6. Over-dependence on a single mentor.

All of the six causes of derailment listed above can be related back to assertiveness issues. For example, one assertiveness issue, aggressiveness, is a behavioral style that cares little about the needs, opinions or feelings of others, and gets what he or she wants in a domineering, obtuse and often impatient way. They are interested in winning and will do what it takes to do it. The language of an aggressive person is personal and demeaning, “You can’t do anything right. You’ll never make it.” “You shouldn’t be in this business.” “Even a six year old would understand that.” Their language may even be aggressive and they feel free to violate the rights and feelings of others. “If you don’t like it, then you know what you can do with it!” or “I know what I am doing so if you don’t like it then get someone else!” Aggressiveness inherently has character flaws. It is selfish, insensitive, and unfair. Typically, control is a big issue for aggressive people. They demand control because they fear the loss of it. When they feel they are losing it, their fear increases. What we fear tends to make us angry. And since the aggressive person handles his anger in an unhealthy way, it can damage relationships and scatter bodies on his way to the top.

Dealing Effectively with the Aggressive Person

The aggressive person actually responds well to those who stand up to them. However, if it is another aggressive, person, the problem is likely to escalate. The challenge for others less aggressive is just getting past the fear of what the aggressive person might do if they confront them. Once the passive person learns an assertiveness skill set, he may be surprised that the aggressive bark is bigger than the bite. The following are some suggested healthy responses to the aggressive person:

  1. I want to hear what you have to say. I am not willing to be called names.
  1. You seem really angry about this. I’ll talk to you about this at 2:00 p.m.
  1. I can’t talk to you when you are shouting.

Never get into a shouting match unless it is absolutely necessary. Never allow the aggressive person to intimidate you. Never get “personal” even if the aggressive person gets personal. Respond with “I want to hear what you have to say. I am not willing to be called names.” Keep it professional, not personal. Prepare ahead of time for the interaction if possible. If caught off guard, consider the source and keep your goals in mind. Depending on who it is and the potential risk versus benefits, it may not be worth engaging full throttle. Assertiveness is a choice and the response you choose to use may be aggressive, assertive or even passive but your goals are always assertive. Carol Price says in her CD series Assertiveness Communication Skills for Professionals that sometimes a “good run is better than a bad stand. “You decide your response. Don’t let others decide it for you. It is your choice.

IHD Corporation, a leader in pre-screening and personnel development, is a twenty seven year-old Human Resources services firm which provides pre-employment assessments and management and team development seminars and programs.

Leroy Hamm is President of IHD Corporation, a leader in pre-employment assessments and seminars on interviewing and communication skills. In 1987, Mr. Hamm founded IHD Corporation to train companies in the use of the DISC II and Achiever assessments. Leroy can be reached at


Healthy Vs. Wealthy

What most church capital campaigns are missing

By: Chuck Klein of Impact Stewardship, NACDB member

A church capital campaign conducted properly should be a spiritual process and not a financial transaction. This is the golden opportunity for church leadership to teach, engage, challenge, disciple and communicate.  Don’t let this opportunity go by without giving your people the chance to learn, grow, share, become involved and be challenged in a way they may have never been before. So many areas are never considered in a church’s capital campaign because the focus gets stuck on the wrong emphasis: money.

Here are key non-monetary goals that every church should aim for:

#1 This is a teaching opportunity.  You have before you the opportunity to educate EVERYONE in your church about Biblical stewardship.  Help your new believers understand the difference between tithing and sacrificial giving. Tithing is about consistent obedience and generosity in response to how God has blessed you.  It is truly an act of worship.  However at times, God will call his people to a time of over and above sacrifice for His Glory and for His Kingdom purpose.  This should be the Biblical foundation of all church capital campaigns.  In addition, this is a chance to teach these timeless principles to ALL AGES. This means not only your adults but your children and teens.

#2 The church is at such a unique time.  So many different generations are represented (MiIlennials, Gen X, Boomers, Silent Generation and Beyond). All receive and process information in such different ways and what motivates each to respond are so different.  This creates a challenge for church leadership but in the case of a capital campaign, it creates such a wonderful opportunity.  Engaging all generations is imperative and a successful church is able to communicate in a way to engage all of its members.

#3 One of the greatest things church leaders can do for their people is to not try to handle all aspects of the campaign.  Instead, they need to delegate. When churches involve a larger amount of its people in the process, everyone wins.  When a church leader decides to run a campaign with only a pool of 3-5 people, it can be a recipe for disaster.  These 3-5 individuals usually include the Pastor and key staff. As we know, these individuals already have a full time gig and we don’t need to put any more on their plate than is absolutely necessary.  Involve multi-generations on your campaign teams.  Let them all be a part of sharing the narrative and working together for a common goal while helping communicate to their generation as a key influencer.

#4 Your church has a story to tell. Generations of ministry stories exist because of your people’s generosity.  Don’t lose site of this as you walk through this important season.  The message is important.  It’s not about a building but about the ministry that takes place because of that sacred space.

Impact Stewardship provides full-service capital stewardship campaign consulting for churches and Christian ministries. Impact has developed a comprehensive program that combines innovative techniques with Biblically-rooted stewardship principles. Chuck is the principle owner and President of Impact Stewardship Resources, Inc. Chuck entered church consulting with the purpose of creating innovative programs that communicate biblical principles, promote church vision and build God’s Kingdom. Chuck can be reached at

We are here to help! Please let us know if you need anything.  To speak with an NACDB Certified Church Consultant, please contact us! Plus, you can always learn more on our website:

Sincerely  yours,

Space Stewardship Program

By: Ron Ogden of Series Seating, NACDB member and Corporate Sponsor

Conventional wisdom
is doing what you have always done because that’s what you have always done…accepting the status quo. The responsibility of SpaceStewardship inspired us to challenge conventional ways of doing seating. The conventional options shown below all present significant restrictions in seat capacity and traffic flow with the limited amount of egress space between the rows.

Space Stewardship (2)


The principle of stewardship
recognizes that everything we have comes from God and belongs to God. We are simply given charge over it to put it to good use and make the most of it. This applies to our finances, our talents, and all resources. And though you don’t always think about it, your church campus real estate is another gift placed under your charge – and at the heart of that campus is perhaps the most important space of all…that space set aside for worship. Making the most of that valuable footprint is part of what pew replacement and SpaceStewardship is all about – and remains at the heart of all we do for the market we serve.

The key to space efficiency is in achieving a tight seat envelope in the seat design. This is what determines the amount of passage between rows and ultimately impacts seat capacity, traffic flow, and maintenance issues. The illustration below shows the 15.5” envelope in the SERIES Vera chair that allows a 20.5” egress, significantly greater than the typical 12” egress on a conventional pew.

Eliminating the intermediate arm dividers associated with conventional theater seats advances the cause of space efficiency by providing 2 more inches of individual space at the hips and elbows. Over the past several years the “no arm” option has accounted for over 97% of sales to the church market.

At SERIES we take great strides in making small footprints. The Vera chair consumes only 2.36 square feet of floor space compared to 3.66 square foot per seating unit with a conventional pew. We call that a small footprint that makes a big impression. In an auditorium designed to seat 1000 people with a conventional pew, the Vera chair will free up 1300 square foot of usable floor space that would be lost to a pew, allowing you to make the most of your own worship area footprint. Ultimately the Value of the SERIES Vera chair will be inseparably linked to the value of your real estate.

Space Stewardship (3)

SERIES is the industry leader in product innovation and design solutions in the seating industry. We have proven excellence in the Performing Arts, Worship, Education, Stadium, and Cinema Markets. Ron Ogden is founder and president of Worship Space Advisors based in Winona Lake In. Ron can be reached at 

We are here to help! Please let us know if you need anything.  To speak with an NACDB Certified Church Consultant, please contact us! Plus, you can always learn more on our website:

Sincerely  yours,

Church Design Trends for 2017

By: Kurt Williams of T&W Church Solutions, NACDB member and Certified Church Consultant

Just like any trend, not everyone is inclined to follow along. The same is to be said for church trends. Every church’s DNA is very unique and may or may not align with the “general direction” that we have observed in church design trends. However, the design trends we are seeing as we head into 2017 are very “people” focused and might spark some thought for your own ministry.
The five trends to note are:

  • Multi-site venues
  • Community centers
  • Connection space
  • Children’s security
  • Children’s play areas


Multi-Site Venues

Large churches have struggled to connect with and bring their people into community and involvement with the church. The struggle to connect people into the church is primarily due to the large number of people and the limited opportunities to plug them into the ministry. One of the many benefits of multi-site, is the ability to replicate the DNA of the home church while providing opportunities for connection and involvement within the church.
Community Centers

Today’s growing churches are finding ways to use their buildings seven days a week. A “Community Center” ministry mindset draws people into your facility for a number of different community meetings and activities. These are people that would normally never cast a shadow in the door of a church. You never know…that totally unrelated church activity may be the way the Lord “nudges” someone to check out a service on Sunday.
Connection Space

Traditionally, the foyer/narthex was the conduit to get people from your worship space to the parking lot as quickly as possible. The new gathering/connection space (foyer/narthex) is now an area for all to slow down, fellowship and connect with others. To satisfy this critical need, architect’s are designing spaces that are at least 1/3 the size of the worship center up to 1/2 the size.
Children’s Security

Millennial moms list safety as one of their highest concerns for their children. The church that is not visibly addressing security control in their children’s areas are “telling” those young mothers how important their child really is. The trend is to have a central security check-point. Security can be done in a very warm and inviting way while allowing parents to feel good about leaving their precious child in your hands.
Children’s Playscapes

Either indoor or outdoor playscapes are great opportunities to reach out to the community. As a part of the “community center” ministry mindset, playscapes bring families to your campus to let their kids run off a little steam AND connect with you and each other on days other than Sunday.
A trend is a general direction in which something is moving or changing.Not every trend is right for every church, but trends can be a valuable way to gauge what the public is looking for in a church and what other churches are doing to reach a largely unbelieving public. My hope is that this quick summary of what we are seeing as trends for the church, might plant a couple seeds on how your ministry might adapt/adopt to reach those in your community.

Over the last ten years, T&W Church Solutions has designed and built over one million square feet of ministry space in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Our process is designed to understand your specific ministry and then develop a building plan that reflects who you are and how you do ministry. If you are considering expanding your facility, re-purposing your existing space, relocating your ministry or launching a new multi-site location, T&W Church Solutions can help.

Kurt Williams, NACDB CCC, LEED AP, is a Design/Build veteran at T&W Church Solutions ( with over 30 years in the industry, 25 of those years guiding hundreds of churches through the various stages of Planning, Designing and Building their new facilities. T&W Church Solutions is a Design/Build firm who partners with ministry-focused architects to serve the churches of Central Indiana as well as the only NACDB (National Association of Church Design Builders) Certified Firm in Central Indiana. Kurt can be reached at


Safety at Your Church

What security concerns must be addressed by every church and ministry? Get an overview of the most common and urgent areas of safety and security from an authority on church legal matters.

Click here to watch this video from NACDB member Anthony & Middlebrook.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 1.42.32 PM

What’s your plan?

Anthony & Middlebrook, P.C. is a boutique law firm specializing in the representation of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations (company-sponsored and family-endowed), social welfare organizations, trade associations, hospitals, private schools, colleges and universities, churches and religious organizations, charitable trusts, and supporting organizations.

Get Your Church Ready to Borrow

By: Charity Kuehn of Union Bank and Trust, NACDB member and Certified Church Consultant

God has blessed you and your church family with many, many gifts. You have been good stewards of those blessings, but the world isn’t the same as it used to be. Growth is expensive and requires you to have good financial partners who will help to guide you through the challenges of that growth.

As the Assistant Vice President of Church Financing at Union Bank, I want to share with you some important points you will need to consider as you prepare to request a loan from a financial institution. Union Bank’s Church financing area lends all over the United States, with a strong focus on the Central and Midwest parts of the country. I have worked with many different denominations and in cities with varying economic circumstances. There is always a common thread among church loans that are successfully approved: preparation.

You will find out that I am a pretty open person and I intend to be very candid about what a financial institution is truly evaluating. There should really be no secrets between the bank and the church as you go through this process together. As the borrower, you need to fully understand what your bank is weighing in their decision.


Making a commitment to borrow funds requires some documentation to be gathered for review by your board and your lender. You will need to have your church’s Articles and By-laws available to include with your loan request. Because board members and signers often change for a church, it is a good idea to provide documentation showing who exactly can make the decision to borrow and that the church board has approved the church to make a borrowing request. Having this documentation up-front will show your lender that you are organized, prepared  and that the process to put loan documents together will be smooth.

Church Family History

Be ready to tell your story. A powerful component to your request is being able to show the financial institution your church’s vision for your future. Provide a history of your church and include information about the church leadership and pastor. Discuss in your summary of the church the future growth plans in detail. Explain why you feel you will grow, what audience you are targeting in your growth efforts, the tools you are using to reach them and what success or trends you have so far. In essence, you want your lender to want to join your church. Share your passion.

Campaign for Pledges

As a church, you need to be comfortable and committed to a growth project in every way. A successful fund raising campaign can be solid proof of this commitment. Provide as much detailed information about the commitments you have as well as the funds you have received as you can. I suggest a detailed report of each pledge, how much has been received so far and what is left to collect. Also showing your anticipated timeline for receiving the funds is helpful for your lender to see how much you will likely need over the course of the project. For any financial institution that truly committed to church financing, they will understand the power of a great campaign and not discount or dismiss it.


Presenting finances that have an accountant’s credibility behind them will give you a tremendous boost in the eyes of your lender. No matter what bank or financial institution you work with, they are going to want to see your church’s financial history. Many times the way a church handles their financials today is the same as it was when the church began 10 or 15 or sometimes even 40 years ago. When you started your church and there were only a few members, your accounting system was simple and easy to explain to the membership and the board. When you ask a bank to decipher your “system,” it can limit the number of financial institutions willing to consider your request. I, personally, love to get the financials from a new church, but it can often take multiple conversations in order to make sure I am giving the church a fair look because the financials are difficult to interpret. My first recommendation is to have an accountant do a full review of your finances BEFORE you make your request for financing. Any church with an annual giving budget of more than $350,000 per year should consider getting a professional involved on an annual basis. If nothing else, an accountant can compile your financials into a format that will be more easily presented in a loan request.

Know your numbers

There are a few key ratios most financial institutions will evaluate as they look at your request. Here are a couple of benchmarks that I use at Union Bank to do an initial evaluation of a loan request.

  • Is the loan request less than 4x the annual contributions?
  • Does the annual loan payment stay below $600 per giving unit (a giving unit is an individual or family in your church who gives on a regular basis)
  • Does the average annual amount giving by each giving unit exceed $1200? (exceeding in this case is good)
  • Is the annual debt payment less than 30% of total gross revenue of the church?

These numbers can give you a good idea of where you will stand on first glance with a financial institution. If you are far outside of any of these ratios, it is a good idea to analyze why that may be and do one of two things.

  1. You can either adjust your project to be more in line with what a lender will find acceptable.
  2. Prepare a strong argument about how the risk of being outside of that ratio can be mitigated. Knowing where your weaker points are before you put your request out for review not only   helps you understand what challenges you have, but may also bring to light some areas that should be re-evaluated.


Ask the important questions of your financial institution.

  • Do they understand churches and their needs?
  • Are they willing to truly listen to you?
  • Does the individual you are working with seem interested in only the transaction or do they want to be a part of your financial team?

Knowing these answers can help guide you to the right financial institution for your church. A good church lender knows that not every project is ready for approval from the moment you meet. Many projects take time and effort to get the church and the project to the point that it makes sense for them. The right lender is willing to take that time to walk side by side with you as you are guided by God toward what is best for your church.

I wish everyone who is beginning this journey my very best. If I can be a resource for you don’t hesitate to contact me. I am always glad to simply discuss and brainstorm.



Streamlining your Ministry Expansion

Streamlining your Ministry Expansion

By Chad Charon, PBS

When you are looking to build, partnering together with a design/build firm that understands ministry and has a streamlined and sequential approach to planning is critical to the success of your project.  There are many dynamics when planning for a new ministry project, not the least of these including the multiple opinions of committee members or your leadership team.  So, the unity of process becomes that much more important to the overall success of your planning.

Members of the planning team should not be encumbered by an exhaustive and rigid process, yet should experience a simple, thorough and flexible approach to planning.  Below is an example of a streamlined process for planning your ministry expansion or new construction project:

  • Scope Development / Vision Casting:

Your design/build (d/b) team is helping you work through your vision.  Your d/b team should not be telling you how to run your ministry, but should be guiding you through the development of a tool that will accommodate the needs of your ministry.  In this first phase of planning they should be listening to the individuals responsible for each area of ministry and the needs they have.  Their ability to listen will be evident by the questions you are asked.  The experience and knowledge of your design/build team can then help guide you through the alignment of your overall ministry needs creating a balanced solution for planning.

  • Design Development:

Now that you have alignment with your various areas of ministry your d/b team can move into pre-construction planning which might include master plan development and detailed preliminary design development.  This work will be specific to your project, but could include site planning, detailed floor plan layouts, 2D elevations and 3D color renderings.  Once the overall design planning has occurred and leadership is in agreement, a comprehensive accounting of the costs will commence in order to determine that the plan as approved is in alignment with the stewardship of the ministry.  This can inevitably take some time back and forth as you fit the right building tool within your approved budget.  The key here is that you are counting your costs before moving into final construction documents and subsequent construction on a project that may not be affordable.  Once the project budget and design are in alignment you are able to move into a final design/build agreement with a lump sum guaranteed maximum price (GMP).

  • Construction Documents:

Once your leadership is unified with the design and construction agreement your d/b team will immediately begin the process of preparing final construction documentation.  This will generally include all site, architectural and structural, Mechanical/Electrical and Plumbing as well as audio/visual and lighting engineering.  In addition, this work will include coordination and planning with the appropriate local, county and state authorities in preparation for and procurement of the required project permits.

  • Construction:

Your design/build team should pursue, if at all possible a partial permit release.  This will often allow for them to begin site work in advance of the final release of building permit which, if allowed will help expedite the construction process.  As construction begins your design/build team will professionally manage and coordinate all suppliers and on-site personnel including the coordination and preparation of all construction related documentation and activities for your project.

  • Occupancy:

As construction nears completion your design/build team will perform a thorough review of all construction details to ensure that all requirements have been met, remaining items have been resolved and the ministry has a clear understanding of the projects components.

PBS is a design/build firm specializing in the planning, design and construction of worship facilities throughout Illinois, NW Indiana and Eastern Wisconsin. Through our 5-step delivery process ( we work closely together those we are partnering with as our working relationship will often span a number of years.  The PBS team is comprised of Certified Church Consultants and is in leadership as a member of the National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB).  As a part of this National Association we bring to our customers opportunities to partner through PBS with a comprehensive team of professionals who provide churches with the systems and resources they need for a fully integrated project.

Chad Charon is the Vice President of PBS Companies, a design/build firm in its 26th year of operation. PBS specializes in the planning, design and construction of worship facilities throughout Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin. As a design/build firm, research has proven that the more planning and coordination that occurs under one umbrella, the more opportunity there will be for project success by way of cost effective planning and overall construction efficiencies.