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"How StartCHURCH University Changed Our Ministry"

By Christine Bove

I absolutely love a good story. As a team member of the Customer Service Division, I have the honor of hearing people’s stories about their journeys of their ministries.

I recently had the privilege to speak with Mrs. Stevonne German of Lionheart Church International. Training for church administration can be difficult, but there are ways to effectively train for it so that you can lead well.

Mrs. German discovered this, and she shared with me her story of how God transformed her world through affirming her passions of church administration and church compliance and by validating the call on her life through StartCHURCH University (SCU). 

Christine: How did you find out about StartCHURCH University?

Ms. German: I was attending one of the conferences several years ago and the speaker spoke about the best ways for a church to stay compliant with the IRS. He mentioned StartCHURCH University, and at once, my eyes got really big and I thought, “Oh my gosh! I really want to do that!”

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was thinking that because one of my pastors, Pastor LaRonna, grabbed my hand in affirmation. 

After the conference, Pastor LaRonna and I went out to eat to talk through what we had learned. We both were enthusiastically talking about StartCHURCH University. She affirmed me and told me that it would be perfect for me. I had concerns, but my church supported me and told me that I didn’t have to worry. 

This moment still means so much to me. Not only was it the moment my eyes were opened and my passion stirred, but it was when the leadership of my church affirmed my passion and God’s calling on my life.

I was being called to church compliance. They saw that and supported me as I stepped out and into becoming the church business manager and executive assistant.

StartCHURCH University was an answer to prayer, and it set me up to do my new role with excellence.

Christine: Why did you go through StartCHURCH University?

Mrs. German: Presently, I operate as the business manager and the executive assistant of my church. I handle all of the business aspects: the W-2s, bookkeeping, operating as the secretary of the board of directors, recording and keeping the meeting minutes, anything billing, and really anything administrative.

Before StartCHURCH University, I had knowledge of business and administration, but not for nonprofits or churches. I went to college and even received my master’s degree, but I hadn’t learned how to do business and administration for a nonprofit. 

StartCHURCH University closed that knowledge gap for me. I have a deep love for knowledge and education. 

Not only did StartCHURCH University feed that love, it also taught me how to fulfill my calling. And the beauty of it is that I am still learning! I have such a passion for churches and nonprofits to walk in excellence, and a huge part of that is legal compliance.

I love being a part of the greater movement of making sure churches and nonprofits are IRS compliant. 

Through StartCHURCH University, I fulfilled my dream of doing church business, policies, and church structure. It is such a need, and because of what I have learned, I even have other churches and pastors coming to me to check their books!

Christine: What was impactful? What did you learn the most from it?

Mrs. German: StartCHURCH University has been a real help. You can have this administrative gift and skills for it, but you can’t just rely on gifting alone. You have to let excellence push you through to the next level; reach for the stars.

You can’t be perfect, but I believe in working in excellence. I want to be the best business executive I can be for my church.

StartCHURCH University gave me the knowledge and the credentials needed to push my church forward. I have so much more to offer now that I am a certified executive from StartCHURCH!

Not only do I have the backing of an amazing company with strong credibility, I also have certification, a tangible validation of the calling God has on my life.

Christine: Has it changed the way you do ministry?

Mrs. German: Taking the knowledge of what I learned through StartCHURCH University has completely shed light on our structure, policies, and overall organization.

There were a lot of things we were operating in that were not beneficial. At the end of the day, I didn’t want my pastor to be the one stuck with the issues as a result of lack of knowledge about church compliance.

I took what I learned from StartCHURCH University and shifted our procedures and policies so the church can thrive and steward our resources well. StartCHURCH University has equipped me to answer confidently.

Christine: How does knowing what you learned in StartCHURCH University help your church grow for the future?

Mrs. German: To use your own language: for the ultimate church structure.

We are a church with two locations. We don’t have a lot of assets, but we will eventually have a holdings corporation. Because of StartCHURCH University, I know how to help the church grow legally. 

My church has dreams of investing and eventually opening a school with an incredible education program.

We also plan to use our CDC (Community Development Corporation) to do outreach programs and invest in and bless our community.

StartCHURCH University gave the structure and know-how to build those dreams into reality.

Christine: What would you say to someone who was thinking about starting it?

Mrs. German: Attending StartCHURCH University was a pivotal point in my life. StartCHURCH University helped me step into the calling God placed on my life.

After college, I felt empty. Student loans were adding up, and I didn’t know what to do. But after receiving my StartCHURCH University diploma, I left feeling so fulfilled and ready to take on God’s calling for me.

StartCHURCH University gave me the answers that just aren’t taught in business school. 

Imagine that every pastor had someone on their team who knew this kind of information! Everyone would feel so supported and confident in moving forward with their vision! It really helps make everything better. 

The best thing is that I feel like I’m still a part of StartCHURCH University family, even though I graduated from the program!

Through StartCHURCH University, I’ve become such a resource for my church and other ministry friends, and I feel more equipped for growing my church for the future.

Continue the posture of learning

While each story and journey is unique, there is much we all can still learn. Whether you are called to church administration or have a different ministry calling, everyone can benefit from being educated in church compliance.

And just as Mrs. German expressed, everyone would not only feel better with having someone on their team with this information, but it would also bring you and your ministry to the next level of excellence. 

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