Helping The Church Do Ministry: The Church Network
Just after Independence Day this year, Andy Tharp and I had the wonderful blessing of participating as exhibitors at the annual meeting of The Church Network held at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.
You may ask, what is The Church Network? From the about page of their website comes this:
- “The Church Network” (TCN) is an inter-denominational association of churches and individuals which exists to serve the church by promoting the highest level of professional competence in individuals serving Christ through administration in local churches.”
The focus of the 3-day conference is to allow those involved in the functional aspects of a congregation’s operations to meet with one another and learn from each other about best practices. The interaction encourages developing processes that enable a local congregation to better serve their members, as well as encouraging the best use of all resources, both in terms of people and in terms of budget.
Andy and I noticed a real difference in all our conversations at this conference. Participants who stopped by to visit with us uniformly came with a purpose to discover just how The Health Co-Op can take precious tithes and offerings and put those dollars back to front line ministries (as opposed to ever increasing costs that are seen yearly from insurance). In other conferences we have exhibited at there was less of an urgency and more a sense of complacency.
There were many conversations that stood out. From the large church that realizes they are paying millions more than they have to (typical savings of churches who move to The Health Co-Op are in the range of 40% to 60% compared to insurance), to the much smaller congregation that lost their group coverage from a major insurer after their younger staff all stopped participating due to extreme costs.
There was the congregation who now has to manage their part time staff under 30 hours per week (which they don’t want to do) because the law now requires every employer with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage. Most churches who have preschools or Christian schools find themselves in a real conundrum: how to pay for a set of benefits they genuinely cannot afford to pay.
Other church administrators told us of the difficult choices they make each year to hold their help plan expenses down as much as possible, frequently exposing their junior staff members to great risk by moving to high deductible insurance plans.
What was so exceptional for Andy and I was the receptive nature of our message: that there really is a more cost effective and even more God-honoring approach to providing a health plan for a church staff. The Health Co-Op approach to crafted solutions to meet the complex needs of a church for their health plan needs resonated well.
The Health Co-Op solution, a Christian alternative to health insurance, provides these churches and others like them with a community-centric, affordable, full service solution. Through Christian Health Care Sharing by Samaritan Ministries and Member Benefits addressing the cost and accessibility of health care options, many of those we spoke with realized that the solutions we can offer them through The Health Co-Op would be an answered prayer to their families, staff and church.
Thad Puckett, The Health Co-Op