Wishing you a Merry Christmas – 80s Style

Rich Lichtenfeld, Account Executive - Nebraska

When I was five or six years old, I remember waking up and discovering a metal pedal car under the tree! I was yellow with red stripes on the sides, and it was just my size! Of course, we lived on the farm with no pavement, so my riding areas were fairly limited. It didn’t matter. I wish I still had it; It would be an antique now!

Craig Cable, Regional Director - Colorado

One year, I got a death trap of a mini-bike, which was powered by an old 3 hp lawnmower engine. I used to race up and down my street for hours on end, wearing a bright blue and white motorcycle helmet, no shirt, and cutoff jean shorts. I thought I was so cool! (Editor’s note: This story screamsCraig Cable.)

John Korsmo, Agency President/Principal

In 1998, I innocently stumbled into my parents’ closet, where I saw the most beautiful sight: theNintendo Entertainment System. We couldn’t afford the $100, but my parents had taken the plunge, and I was excited. My conscience told me I should do the right thing and tell my parents that I had seen the gift that I had been waiting for since the prior Christmas (when all my cousins got theirs). I told my parents, and they took it in stride... and then my mom TOOK THE NINTENDO BACK TO THE STORE! Christmas morning comes around, and NO NINTENDO! Finally, three years later, the year the Super Nintendo came out.. I did get the NES I had been hoping for. Thanks, Mom & and Dad. 

Dakotah Hueftle, Sr. Account Executive - Nebraska

I was 5 years old and really wanted a puppy for Christmas. I woke early and snuck up to theChristmas tree. The puppy jumped out of a box, scaring me so much that I ran into my parents’ room, telling them there was a dog with huge teeth under the tree. It turned out to be a chunky lab puppy - with normal teeth. 

Rhonda McDaniel, Client Success Advisor - Colorado & Wyoming

My favorite Christmas gift memory was the year I received a “My Child” baby doll. My brothers,sister, and I would always snoop to find our Christmas gifts each year, but this was something Inever found/saw, and it was the ONE thing I was begging for. It was the BEST surprise to open it, not actually knowing already what was inside. 

Joanne Relihan, Success Support

Every Christmas morning we would wake up to find gifts under the tree, but we ALWAYS received aStorybook of Lifesavers in our stockings! It just wasn’t Christmas without that little treat! 

Stephanie Abrell, Director of Client Experience

When I was probably 7 years old, we were finishing opening presents on Christmas morning. Just asI thought we were done, my dad said he thought there might be one more gift in our basement waiting for me. I was a little hesitant because our basement was a dark, damp, spider-filled dungeon with mystery tunnels that lead to spiderweb-covered canned vegetables (remember, I was only 7), soI thought nothing good could come from this. Downstairs, I found a beautiful, golden oak toy box with a big red bow on top. My dad told me it was in the basement because he had been building it for me. At the time, I assumed that meant my dad had worked day and night to hand carve each piece, and it blew my mind that he would spend all the time and effort it would take to build this by hand. Now that I’m older, I realize it meant it came in pieces from KMart, and he had to use a screwdriver to put it together. Even so, I loved it so much that now my kids use it to store their toys.Someday, I’ll tell them how Pappy worked hours in the dark, damp, spider-filled dungeon to build it. 

Jordan Isaacson, Sr. Account Executive - Nebraska

Growing up, each year, my grandma had all of us kids re-enact the Nativity scene, where we would dress up and have lines to memorize and songs to sing, etc. One year, we were given a little added incentive to do our very best with our roles because that year, we were told that a special surprise would be given. So one of my favorite Christmas gift memories was when my Grandparents surprised me and all of my cousins with a Nintendo 64 system for each family! My brother and I were ecstatic, but my sisters weren’t that impressed. This was for a group of kids whose parents held off on ever getting a video game system for many years, so when each of the family of siblings was surprised with this gift, we went crazy because we had never had anything like it before that night. 

Jill Kerkhoff, Client Success Advisor - Kansas 

When I was 10, I received a “teddy dog” from my grandparents. I still have it in my office to this day. 

Lyndsie Glowinski, Account Executive - Colorado

My parents got my sister and me American Girl dolls one year. They couldn’t afford the dolls and the accessories because they were so expensive, so my grandpa hand-carved a camping set to go with our dolls. 

Dustin Strande, Regional Director - Dakotas

Growing up on a small farm in Northeast South Dakota, I loved to play with toy machinery and animals. Whether that was in our sandbox or my mom’s garden - which she didn’t always approve of! Well, one Christmas, my grandpa surprised me with my own barn that he had made and painted. I spent so many hours playing with that barn, the animals, and my machinery!

Sheba Harris, Account Executive - Colorado 

I’ll never forget the 80s commercial. Doctors are working on a patient in an operating room. The patient jumps up from the surgery with a red clown nose on. The doctors are scrambling, trying to get him to lie down. I remember being about seven years old and watching this commercial with so much joy. The game was Operation, and I wanted to bad! I told my mother and grandmother that I wanted it, and they both responded with, “We will see.” My letter to Santa that year was me pouring out my love for surgeries and how, if I got this game, I promised to be a good doctor one day. I got the game, and, like any other 7-year-old, it was fun for about 24 hours. For weeks, my mom had been finding the operating pieces on her carpet. I’ll never forget how much I wanted that game as a kid, and I purchased it again about five years ago. Whenever I play it, I can’t help but feel like a kid again!

Del Rae McCullough, Regional Director - Kansas

Some of my best memories are receiving Barbies and an Easy Bake Oven. (Yes, they came outback in the day.) The best thing for me is that my daughters, who are both moms, received thesame toys. Now, my granddaughter receives and plays with the same toys. It’s interesting to seethe same toys that are generational and still remain popular gifts, only a much-upgraded version. 

Julie Hubbart, Client Success Advisor - Nebraska & Dakotas

Every year at Christmas, my brothers and I snooped around our house to try and find ourChristmas gifts to see what we would be getting. One year, we were at our grandparents’ house and found an Atari in their closet. We didn’t think our grandparents would buy us an Atari or even know what it was, but we didn’t say anything. We were so excited to find it under our tree onChristmas morning. It turned out my parents had hidden the present at my grandparents’ house for safe-keeping. What a fun Christmas playing Pac-Man, Frogger, Asteroids, and Donkey Kong. 

Tiffany Drake- Cable, Client Success Support

One of my favorite Christmas memories is not when I was a child, but when my kids were little. My son Dryden was at the age where he was questioning Santa. His friends at school were telling him that Santa Claus was not real, but rather their parents were Santa Claus. Naturally, he asked me whether Santa Claus was real or if their dad and I were Santa. I asked him what he thought. I could tell he had contemplated this. He shared that there is no way parents can be Santa Clause as it’s impossible for parents to buy all the gifts, wrap them, and deliver them in one night. I replied that he is exactly right - that it is impossible for parents to do it in one night. He chose to believe in the magic- at least for that year and maybe another. As a child, I remember getting to drink Pepsi when we opened Christmas presents. It was such a treat! To this day, I love Pepsi! It often reminds me of those magical Christmas days being with my family, where everyone got along, and there was joy in the house. 

Amber Bricker, Director of Operations

One of the most memorable gifts I received as a kid was the Nintendo Game Boy. Of course, I had to share it with my brother, which wasn’t ideal most of the time, but it brought us closer together.Long car rides were bearable, and I still can brag to my brother about how I’m better than him atKirby Pinball. (Even though he beats me in every other game.)

Wendy Perry, Client Success Support

When I was probably 9 years old, my little brother and I loved micro-machine cars. That year, my parents got us a set of Legos so we could build garages and homes for them. We thought it was the coolest thing that my dad took a spare piece of paneling that they had put up in our family room and put it on the floor to let us draw and make our towns all over it. We got to take up the whole living room with our toys for a week, and we didn’t have to put them away every night like normal toys. 

Chuck Gosnell, Sr. Account Executive - Colorado 

I was about 5-6 years of age. Since my friend had a BB gun, I decided that I really needed and wanted one. I can remember my parents’ reluctance and silence on my request. However, on Christmas morning, they surprised me with a Daisy BB gun. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Over the years, I shot a lot of tin cans with it, and I actually still have it. I shoot with my granddaughters and grandsons at the cabin every year, and I still shoot the most beautiful Daisy in America. I even carved my initials in the stock as a kid, just like Daniel Boone 

February 19, 2024
Is Your Facility Use Agreement Working For You?
Is Your Facility Use Agreement Working For You?

With Valentine’s Day upon us and the official May-to-October wedding season not far behind, many couples are searching for the perfect wedding venue.  Schools and performing arts organizations are looking for end-of-year performance and graduation venues.  Your church or nonprofit facility might be the perfect match.  Engaging the opportunity has stewardship and community outreach benefits.  But opening your facilities to other activities and users involves risk.  A Facility Use Policy sets the standard for your facility use.   A Facility Use Agreement implements that standard.  To be effective,  leaders must answer three questions.

Tags: church insurance, ministry, legal agreements, facility rental
February 19, 2024
PART TWO: How protected are members of your safety team? The answer may surprise you.
PART TWO: How protected are members of your safety team? The answer may surprise you.

The focus of this article is to address some of the risks and liabilities associated with having an armed safety team. Click here to read PART ONE.

Tags: church safety, security teams, ministry, hr
February 19, 2024
Client Success Advisors at your Service!
Client Success Advisors at your Service!

Over the last few years, our agency has continued to grow and expand across the Midwest & Rockies, now spanning six states: Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Serving over 3,000 ministries and nonprofit organizations, we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to support you.

Tags: trends, insurance, church, ministry
February 19, 2024
5 Predictions on What is Going to Happen in 2024's Church Insurance Market
5 Predictions on What is Going to Happen in 2024's Church Insurance Market

Do you ever feel like some words just get overused?  I do.  I live in a house with two teenagers and a sweet little boy who watches everything they do.  The word "literally", gets used in 80% of sentences...  It isn't even impactful anymore.  It means nothing.  Because if they didn't use that word, I would just expect that most of what they were saying was metaphoric in nature.

Tags: trends, insurance, church, ministry
January 12, 2024
Worker Classification Risk: Employee v. Independent Contractor
Worker Classification Risk:  Employee v. Independent Contractor

The new year signals the end of one payroll year and the beginning of another.  As you process employee W2s and independent contractor 1099s, take time to evaluate a critical aspect of your ministry business risk management program: proper worker classification.  While the percentage of the American workforce comprising “contingent workers” (independent contractors, contract employees, temporary employees, leased employees) was rapidly increasing before COVID, since COVID and the acceptance of the remote workplace, use of contingent workers has skyrocketed. You probably have several on your payroll.

Tags: independent contractor, w2, classification
January 12, 2024
How protected are members of your safety team?
How protected are members of your safety team?

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to speak with several thousand church safety team members across the country. By far the most common question I get from this group is “Am I covered if something bad happens?” This is not a question that only pertains to armed safety team members. Truth is, anyone who serves in the protection of a ministry should be asking that question. The purpose of this article is to help ministries be better informed and more prepared in advance of an incident occurring.

Tags: safety team, security, ministry protection
January 12, 2024
Stay Ahead of the Freeze: Sign Up for Text Alerts
Stay Ahead of the Freeze: Sign Up for Text Alerts

We’re encouraging all customers to stay ahead of the freezing weather by signing up to receive Extreme Freezing Weather Text Alerts from Brotherhood Mutual. It’s new. The alert also links to actions you can take immediately to prevent or minimize damage to your buildings before forecasted weather arrives.

Tags: text alerts, frozen pipes, severe weather, winter weather
January 12, 2024
There's Something for Everyone at this Year's 2024 Ministry Boot Camp!
There's Something for Everyone at this Year's 2024 Ministry Boot Camp!

Join us for a comprehensive, one-day training for all! Tailored breakout sessions cover complex HR topics for administration and provides in-depth training, including a deeper review into de-escalation, for the security team. In the afternoon, unite in a deep dive on child safety with proprietary insights the anatomy of an abuse claim and protecting our youth.

Tags: ministry bootcamp, security training, HR training, human resources
December 20, 2023
Wishing you a Merry Christmas – 80s Style
Wishing you a Merry Christmas – 80s Style
Tags: ministry protection, coverages, liability, umbrella policy
November 7, 2023
Three common pitfalls that may be hidden in your church's lease
Three Common Pitfalls That May Be Hidden In Your Church's Lease

One positive aspect of today’s challenged economy is the availability of underutilized or empty commercial space. Before your ministry takes the plunge into a lease agreement, we want to make sure you're well-informed and prepared to avoid some common pitfalls.

Tags: ministry, lease, property
November 7, 2023
Insurance Companies Are Forced To Respond To Unprecedented Market Strain. What Does This Mean For You?
Insurance Companies Are Forced To Respond To Unprecedented Market Strain. What Does This Mean For You?

In this month's perspective on the insurance market, I wanted to talk about the massive upward trending we are seeing in cancellation of policies.  Our agency has observed a remarkable surge in inquiries from churches not currently under our insurance coverage. These churches are facing non-renewal by their existing carriers, a trend that has expanded beyond the norm of non-renewals due to excessive losses. Instead, carriers are now opting not to renew based on the risk profile of the ministry, which encompasses factors like geography, insured value, and construction type.

Tags: market strain, weather, catastrophic losses, renewal, risk
November 7, 2023
Umbrella for a Rainy Day
Umbrella for a Rainy Day

There are so many insurance policies to consider when it comes to protecting your ministry, and keeping track of each one’s coverages can be a mind-numbing task. One that I often hear confusion about is the Excess Liability policy, more commonly referred to as an Umbrella. While these terms aren’t exactly interchangeable in the broader insurance world, they do have a lot of overlap. For purposes of understanding your Brotherhood Mutual policy, they are basically synonymous.

Tags: ministry protection, coverages, liability, umbrella policy
October 6, 2023
The Crucial Role of Key Man Life Insurance for Church Pastors
The Crucial Role of Key Man Life Insurance for Church Pastors

In recent times, our team has observed a growing demand for key man life insurance, particularly within the realm of church leadership. Pastors are the spiritual pillars of their congregations, providing guidance, support, and a sense of community. While their spiritual contributions are invaluable, it's equally important to consider their financial well-being and the stability of the church should an unforeseen tragedy occur.

Tags: finance, security, church pastor, community
October 6, 2023
Wellbeing Resources for Ministry Leaders
Wellbeing Resources for Ministry Leaders

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it's time to prepare for the festive cheer, delicious food, twinkling lights, and heartwarming gatherings. But amidst all the joy and celebration, let's take a moment to reflect on something essential - the well-being of our ministry leaders.

Tags: full strength network, counseling, church pastor, pastoral counseling
October 6, 2023
Stop Plumbing Leaks with FloLogic
Stop Plumbing Leaks with FloLogic

Water damage due to plumbing leaks and frozen pipes is a leading cause of property claims for ministries. The damage is often made worse because ministry buildings are typically not in use every day. Last year, nearly 1,000 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company customers were impacted. To help protect ministries from experiencing costly water damage and disruptions, Brotherhood Mutual® recommends FloLogic, a comprehensive solution that can detect even the smallest water leak and automatically shut off the water to prevent flooding. 

Tags: flologic, leaks, water damage, prevention
September 8, 2023
Fluorescent Lighting: The End of An Era
Fluorescent Lighting: The End of An Era

Let's take a stroll down memory lane to 1938 when General Electric made a groundbreaking move by introducing fluorescent tubes to the world. Even though the technology had been brewing since the late 1880s, it took time and the genius of several inventors to make it shine as a practical product.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
September 8, 2023
God's Sovereignty or Wise Planning?
God's Sovereignty or Wise Planning?

We are living in a day and age of tremendous uncertainty. Like Joseph in Egypt, the physical world is incredibly unpredictable.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
September 8, 2023
Why Some Churches are Rethinking their Financial Planning
Why Some Churches are Rethinking their Financial Planning

In the ever-changing realm of finances, the past few years have brought forth a whirlwind of alterations. Looking ahead, the next five years promise their fair share of surprises and uncertainties.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
September 8, 2023
HR360: Your Essential Guide to Navigating Ministry-Specific HR Challenges
HR360: Your Essential Guide to Navigating Ministry-Specific HR Challenges

In the dynamic landscape of today's world, managing the HR needs of any ministry can be a complex and ever-changing endeavor. Whether you're dealing with sensitive situations that demand careful handling to avoid legal entanglements or aiming to proactively establish risk management strategies, the journey can be demanding.

Tags: church payroll, finance, IRS regulations, paying employees, tax code
August 8, 2023
Understand your Medical Coverage for Students & Volunteers
Understand your Medical Coverage for Students & Volunteers

As we gear up for the upcoming school season, it's a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at the coverage we offer to our beloved students and dedicated volunteers.

Tags: medical coverage, students, voluteers