BCC sent invitations to a day-long seminar at Oslofjord Convention Center on the last day in March. Over 1000 registrees from different local fellowships participated in one or more of the eight sessions.
By Johanne Reiersrud – Photos by Randi Hutt
BCC is first and foremost a Christian association, but due to our size and the extensive church activities, a certain degree of organization is required—with defined responsibilities, guidelines, and administration.
For this reason, BCC provides services to all local fellowships centrally. Between Easter Camp and the Easter conference, representatives from local fellowships attended courses on finance, the planning tool MyShare, child and youth work, communication, and new privacy regulations.
From the course on privacy, where the new GDPR regulations were reviewed. Photo: BCC
Local fellowships had been encouraged to send their people responsible for the various disciplines, and many had prioritized the trip. In fact, registration was so high that the capacity of available conference rooms for some of the courses was overbooked.
Using Easter for professional updates and sharing experience
“Many are already gathered for the conference in Norway, so we usually utilize Easter to hold relevant courses and seminars,” says Finn Å. Ødegård, a board member responsible for compliance at BCC. “This year we chose to improve access to professional updates and experience-exchange by including more professional groups and resources, and by holding all the courses on the same day.”
Finn Å. Ødegård, board member responsible for compliance at BCC, reviews guidelines for budget and accounting for the local churches. Photo: BCC
A comprehensive seminar
There were many important topics on the agenda for today’s seminar, and in the course of seven hours, eight classes running 75 minutes each were completed. The participants seem to be happy with the day. “We have received a lot of useful input,” says Solfrid F. Kronstad, who attended courses on communication and child and youth work. She is a board member at BCC`s local fellowship in Østfold, and is keen to stay updated in the areas she has responsibility. “It’s nice to meet others who have the same functions in other local fellowships. We have a lot to learn from each other and from the professionals who have attended,” she says smiling.
Solfrid F. Kronstad from BCC`s local church in Ostføld attended. Photo: BCC
Useful guidelines and professional support
Ødegård held one of the sessions during the seminar, where he reviewed guidelines for budgeting and accounting. “It is imperative that the local churches follow all of the laws and guidelines in practice, so for this reason we offer these seminars. Although local fellowships are independent legal associations, we are mutually dependent on each other and we want everyone to follow the same practices and guidelines, which we work to keep updated in keeping with current national regulations,” he says.
“The fact that local fellowships are from many different countries means that it is not always possible to practice alike.” Ødegård tells us that national regulations in each country decide this and that local fellowships are always obliged to comply with their country’s own rules.
In the session on budgeting and accounting, Ødegård, with the help of case studies, illuminated some of the challenges and issues regarding topics such as accounting for donations and VAT compensation. The Norwegian rules were emphasized, but the session also provided good input to local fellowships in other countries, he tells us. “It’s very good that so many have attended. We are constantly working to facilitate even better information and documentation for the operation of local fellowships, and continuing education is part of this work”, he concludes.
Several enthusiastic speakers and favorable attendance characterized BCC`s seminar. Photo: BCC