NACBA Weekly Update
March 13, 2009

How Can Churches be Prepared for Gun Violence
from Church Executive Magazine
Not too long ago the idea of gun violence in churches would have seemed peculiar maybe a scene in a western movie, but certainly not a story line like this in suburban America. But the headlines are multiplying. Virtually every part of the country, denomination or sect, and size church has been impacted. In most incidents, more than one person was murdered. What should churches and denominations be learning from these tragedies and how is the law evolving as a result? More

Most Religious Groups in the U.S. have Lost Ground, Survey Finds
from USA Today
When it comes to religion, the U.S. is now land of the freelancers. The percentage of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11 percent in a generation. This dramatic shift in just 18 years is detailed in the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), released earlier this week. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990. More

Churches Reach Out to Economy's Casualties
from the Charlotte Observer
Many houses of worship are feeling the same shocks as businesses during these hard times. But amid all the anxiety in the pews and on the altar, many in Charlotte, N.C.s, more than 700 churches are rising to the occasion, spiritually and financially. More

Church Shares Lessons Learned from Ministry to Mentally Ill
from the Associated Baptist Press
Up to 25 percent of the U.S. population has a diagnosable mental illness. Christians agree 100 percent of those people deserve to know Christ, but few churches reach out to them. Believed to be the only church that counts the mentally ill as its target population, The Well Community in Dallas is seeking to be an avenue where mentally ill people can come to know the love of Christ. And the church hopes it can be a model for other congregations. More

Five Direct Mail Mistakes Your Church Can Easily Avoid
from Ministry Marketing Coach
Many churches have mixed emotions about mail as an effective strategy for connecting with people who are not involved in church. Some have become frustrated by the lack of results they get from direct mail and have abandoned using mail altogether. Others use direct mail even though they are not sure they know how to use it strategically. If you are using direct mail, check to see you are getting the most out of it before you give up on the medium. Make sure you are not making one of the five common direct mail mistakes. More

Worship Mismatch
from The Christian Century
Christian music these days is pushing up to and across the boundaries of what many churches and denominations used to regard as acceptable. The introduction of new styles of music in worship has come to symbolize the extent and character of a given church's cultural relevance and outreach. For that very reason, it's increasingly important for churches to become not only more inclusive and diverse, but also more discerning and discriminating in their musical offerings. More

Lenten Sacrifice: Six Weeks without Facebook, Twitter
from Religion News Service via USA Today
In a new twist on an old religious tradition, a growing number of Christian technophiles are swearing off Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other technology for Lent. Thousands of Facebook users have joined "Giving up Facebook for Lent" groups on the site, replacing the photos on their profiles with boxes announcing they will be gone for the next six weeks. More

The Hardest Part of Team Ministry
from Church Solutions
For some reason, in ministry, we tend to over-spiritualize every decision that we make. Of course, the Holy Spirit should play a part in everything we do. However, we often allow ourselves to be driven by the desire for the supernatural, overlooking simple things that speak volumes to the decisions we are making. This reality is often seen in the area of staffing. More

The Good News Amid the Bad News
from the Leadership Journal
Venture capital is down. Consumer confidence is down. Employment is down. Is anything going up? Some things are. The opportunity to serve people in need is going up. The opportunity to trust God when trusting isn't easy is going up. The opportunity to build a faith that will last when the storms of life hit it is going up. The opportunity to help our churches become communities where people actually we get real with each other and love and support each other is going up. More

The Importance of the Door
from the Baptist Press
The door to your Sunday School class or department communicates a great deal more than you might think -- especially to a first-time guest, a preschooler experiencing separation anxiety, or parents entrusting their newborn to your care. Even regular attendees get a message. The Sunday School experience begins at the door. More