NACBA Weekly Update
March 12, 2010

Churches struggle through hard times in tough economy
St. Charles Republican
For the Rev. Ronni Verboom, senior pastor at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, nothing is better than having a faith community during hard times. "There's emotional and spiritual support," Verboom said, "But there are also very practical things that can happen. As a pastor, it’s really wonderful to kind of see that unfold sometimes." But while Verboom and other church leaders try to give support to their congregations, their support system might be dwindling.More

Using Facebook for the Gospel
Baptist Press
As one of 400 million people using Facebook, Bryan McAnally joined the social network specifically to extend his ministry. Today, he’s "friends" with more than 2,200 people, and the number grows virtually every day. His goal is not to be popular, but to be connected, so that relationships built there can bear the weight of the Gospel. These efforts have allowed McAnally to use Facebook to exhort and encourage believers, to establish grass-roots prayer networks and to teach doctrine and offer real-life ministry.More

How to have a growing church
The Christian Post
What makes a church body grow big doesn't necessarily make it healthy. Let's face it, something would be terribly wrong if Christians weren’t interested in seeing churches grow. But it's time to take a hard look at what church growth means. In a magazine article titled "The Myth of Church Growth," David Dunlap cites some troubling statistics. During the boom period for megachurches, the percentage of Americans who claim to be "born again" has remained constant at about 32 percent. But Dunlap said that up 80 percent of the growth in these megachurches has not come from new Christians, but from transfers-people moving one church to another.More

Church empties collection plate
Charlottesville Daily Progress
They point, posture, pout and pontificate from radio and television, beseeching and pleading for a tenth of your income so that they may spread the Word. Tithing, a respected practice of biblical origin, is a common way for religious groups and churches to seek funds from the community. Charlottesville, Va.’s, First United Methodist Church has turned the tithe around, however, giving nearly $90,000 back to the community. “It just seemed like the thing to do,” said Bill Hall, chairman of the church’s Church Council.More

Giving tech its due
Your Church
For most churches, Information Technology (IT) is a critical part of ministry. Computers that function correctly, a website that looks professional, and a backup process for sermon notes all help the staff do ministry more effectively, communicate with the congregation, and focus on building relationships. The tough question is not, Do we need IT?, because most everyone agrees computer technology is important. Instead, for most church leaders, the question is this: How do you budget for IT equipment, taking into account what is really important for the ministry?More

Engaging missions via social media
Youth Worker
One area in which individuals involved in mission trips historically have struggled is the reentry experience. It's hard to share the stories afterward and recapture the experience during a short explanation in front of a congregation. With social media, a new paradigm has been created that is perfectly suited for missions. The experiences and stories can be told as they occur, which actively engages the congregation, friends and family while the team is physically still on the trip.More

NACBA TeleWeb Seminar:
Tax and Legal Update with Frank Sommerville

Join us Thursday March 25 at 1:30 CDT for our next TeleWeb seminar, "Tax and Legal Update" with Frank Sommerville. This webinar will deal with tax and legal issues around local churches involved in missions. Topics will include mission trip funding, tax issues for the congregation and individuals as well as international tax rules for churches that send money overseas or directly sponsor missionaries.More

The benefits of long-term incentives for employees
Church Executive Magazine
Effective and gifted employees are essential to a growing church or ministry. Their services impact ministries and their communities. By offering long-term incentives, churches will have better employee retention. Other than traditional benefits, there are additional programs that keep ministerial staff engaged over the years. Some churches offer a sabbatical commensurate with accumulated service. Other ministries fund travel abroad that enriches the employee’s ministry discipline. Also, churches will fund the cost of an advanced degree or extra classes. Still, traditional benefits typically account for about 40 percent of a minister’s total average compensation package. In an economy where employees face rising costs of everything from food to gasoline, benefits are increasingly important for employees considering a new position.More

3 ways to handle problem people
Leadership Journal
If your church has adult small groups, chances are the people in those groups are not passing "do-you-like-me?" notes or punching the people next to them. But there's a good chance that some or all of the groups have problem people. Whether you would like for folks to stop or start certain behaviors, there are three major approaches that can be effective in small group settings.More

The significance of serving
Ministry Today Magazine
According to one study, people are running out the back doors of churches in the United States at a rate of 52,000 per week. This alarming trend could be reversed if the body of Christ discovered the true meaning of hospitality. There are few subjects of a more practical or potent nature for the end-time church or for the healing of America than that of hospitality. Here are the seeds that will revolutionize your life as a servant to God's people. Here lies one of the greatest secrets of church growth and a divine prescription for racial healing. Here is preparation for the end-time church, practically translating agape love. More

Is the sky falling at church?
Church Central
Church leaders face many crises and dangers: from without, a rapidly changing environment and an uncertain global economy; from within, budget difficulties, interpersonal struggles and questions about the pastor’s vision and direction. Deciding how to respond to real and perceived threats can be difficult. It’s easy to react with anxiety and even panic.More

Paint and praise in worship
Houston Chronicle
The Houston Chronicle recently featured a photo gallery of a nontraditional ministry in the Houston area that puts a contemporary spin on a Catholic service. Scott Erickson, the artist-in-residence at Ecclesia (a nondenominational church in Montrose, Texas), teamed up with Ennie Hickman, a Catholic lay leader with Adore Ministries, for a loud, colorful worship service at the Catholic Charismatic Center.More

Study says blogs are growing but largely untapped influence on religion
Associated Baptist Press
Blogs are a growing but still relatively underutilized influence on today's religious discourse, according to a study of the religious blogosphere by the Social Science Research Council. "Blogs have given occasion to a whole new set of conversations about religion in public life. They represent a tremendous opportunity for publication, discussion, cross-fertilization and critique of a kind never seen before," the authors report. The study, published on an SSRC blog titled The Immanent Frame, surveyed nearly 100 of the most influential blogs that contribute to discussions about religion in the public sphere. More

Giving, membership in UMC decline in recession
The recession continues to affect giving to The United Methodist Church at a time when the denomination is experiencing its largest percentage decline in membership since 1974. United Methodist churches in the 63 annual (regional) conferences of the U.S. contributed 84 percent of what the denomination budgeted to support ministries around the world in 2009. The total apportioned was $150.3 million; $126.3 million was collected.More