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Help abounds for churches

Recently an article was written in Church Executive magazine that highlighted Fellowship Church and Fellowship Tech. They were a little confused in how they presented the story, however, the article is still good. Here is a section of the article.--------------------------------------------------- In January 2000, Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, set up its own online giving system in response to interest from its congregation. But while the program worked great for the end users, it necessitated a lot of administration for the church, resulting in unnecessary overhead.

This challenge got the church thinking that probably the best way to do online giving was through another company. Fortunately, the church didn't have to look very far. Jeff Hook, a software wiz who has been attending the church for nearly seven years, was approached by key leaders of the church to take over the management, development and marketing of the online giving product. Hook took on the challenge and established Fellowship Technologies. The new company started operations in January this year. Since then, the product (called Fellowship One) has drastically improved, according to Hook. And because it is such a hit to many members, the church has greatly benefited as well, says Terry Storch, Fellowship Church technology pastor.

Storch says more than 20 percent of the entire church budget is given online or through an ACH (Automated Clearing House) processing. "Because a large percentage of our general fund is given on a consistent basis, it has improved our decision making capabilities and allowed us to forecast and plan a little better," says Storch.

Although only a few months old, Hook says his company already has five churches that are up and running with Fellowship One. Eighteen more churches, adds Hook, have either signed the contract or given him a letter of intent to move forward.

Those interested to know more about Fellowship One can visit and request a demo. The cost of using the product depends on the size of the church, says Hook. "For a church with membership of 250 to 500, the monthly fee is about $400; for a megachurch like Fellowship Church, it can run about $7,000."

Considering that a church is buying a fully integrated system that covers many important aspects of ministry management - not just online giving - Hook says Fellowship One is cost-effective. "Our goal is to help church leaders minimize administration so they can maximize ministry." --------------------------------------------------- Entire article