The Church Network Weekly Update
Jan. 9, 2015

5 church marketing resolutions for the new year
Center for Church Communication
Before the church communication grind officially takes over, let's take a moment. It’s a new year and it's a time for reflection and resolutions. But more than just well wishes and lofty goals, it's the time to make some changes for a better, healthier, more awesome year! Here are five church marketing resolutions for this new year. Pick one and own it. Commit to it. Make it happen.More

Registration is now open for our 2015 spring regional meetings
The Church Network
For those who have attended, the responses have been extremely positive and almost all have indicated they would attend again. If you have never participated, plan now and join the fun to network with fellow administrators, talk about your successes and your challenges, see how other churches are organized and make new friends who you can call on throughout the year.More

Church retirement plans: Is it time for everyone to participate?
By Bruce Bruinsma
Church retirement plans — 403(b)(9) Church Plans — are traditionally focused on benefits for the clergy. The minister's housing allowance distribution option and the pre-SECA tax benefit are prime examples of clergy-only benefits. Further, many church boards are focused on the pastor and not the staff. Perhaps it is time to consider the staff, too. Legally, and perhaps financially, not all staff members need be treated equally. However, it is time to consider offering all staff an equal opportunity.More

10 steps to a nonprofit issues management program
About Money
Every business and nonprofit has challenges, today and in the future. Those challenges can come from a dozen different sources, but if you don't know what they are, they can't be managed. If they aren't managed, your organization will be taken by surprise again and again and put on the defensive by the media and the public. Issues identification and management should be part of your crisis management plan.More

6 email habits that drive everyone crazy
San Antonio Business Journal
It's hard to believe that email has been part of our business culture for 20 years. It's even harder to imagine conducting business without it. But in many training circles, email is the bane of everyone's office existence. Most would say they get too many. And everyone has a few pet peeves related to this communications tool. If you recognize yourself as you read through the list, there's no time like the present to create some new habits. Your co-workers and customers will thank you for it.More

Protect church computers from ransomware
Managing Your Church
A new category of malware is called ransomware because it holds your files for ransom. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on a Windows or Mac computer. Some ransomware encrypts files and some only locks files. In either case, you can't get to your data unless you pay a fee, which may or may not work. Protecting from such malware and having a plan in case an infection gets through to data is essential for every church.More

Should a pastor use an iPad, iPhone or print Bible to minister scripture to people?
Church Leaders
It is safe to say the Reformers never had to tackle this question. However, it is certainly one we face now and has important implications to the fruitfulness of a pastor’s ministry today. As this question has forced its way on the scene as a result of our growing technological advances, so have strong opinions on this matter. Many of these opinions are nothing more than preferences. And yet, there are still some pastoral issues that need to be considered if we as pastors in this technological age desire to avoid any unnecessary distractions so to be most fruitful and effective. Here is a basic template for every pastor to consider in determining the kind of means we should use as we seek to minister God’s word to God’s people.More

Church bulletin basics
Church Law & Tax
Even in our digital age of worship projection, church websites, and social media, many churches still use paper bulletins on Sunday mornings. The power of a tangible communication piece that people can hold in their hands and take home with them cannot be underestimated. However, the bulletin presents many logistical and administrative challenges on both a macro and micro scale. If you’re the person creating the bulletin each week, this task can be equally monotonous and challenging every time you tackle it.More

Churches turn to billboards to convey messages
Shreveport Times
Some local churches, looking for an edge in name recognition or a new medium to share an inspiration, are taking their message to the skies — or at least higher off the ground. Though many of these churches have been advertising on billboards for years, new technology, changing traffic flows and the need to fill their pews are pushing pastors and their assistants to roadside advertisements. It makes sense, many say, in a crowded marketplace of worship houses.More

Second-career clergy face rising debt, lower job prospects
The Huffington Post
The substantial increase in middle-aged Americans seeking second careers in the pulpit has been a godsend for seminaries faced with overall declines in enrollment and budget shortfalls. And for many pursuing a clerical career in their 40s and 50s, it is a dream come true, a chance to follow what they consider God's call and do meaningful work in their later years. But the realities of a shrinking clergy labor market, and seminary tuition costs outpacing inflation, leave some facing debts of $80,000 or more trying to find work in a relatively low-paying profession.More

Churches should all have Wi-Fi, says the man behind 'Cats'
One theater impresario believes that churches should find a technological way to attract the crowds. Andrew Lloyd Webber, the brains and talent behind many Broadway musicals, including "Cats," believes that every church in England should have Wi-Fi. In a recent interview with the Mail, he said: "Once you do that, the church becomes the center of the community again."More

Taming Christian rage
The Atlantic
On issues like gay marriage and birth control, cultural warriors haven't changed their minds — they just want to be left alone. The past year saw a renaissance in culture-war thinkpiece writing, with the fight being declared over and not over and over again in many turns. That's because many of 2014's big news stories touched on culture-war standards, like gay marriage, public prayer, and birth control. This year's list of Big Issues could have easily been from the 1980s — the heyday of the Moral Majority — instead of 2014. But the fascinating thing is that these issues of culture-war vintage have played out in distinctly un-culture-war-y ways.More

From pulpit to politics: A pastor takes her work to the wider world
Faith Whitmore was ordained as a pastor 30 years ago, drawn by a deep sense of God and spirit within her. She worked at churches throughout the Sacramento, California, region, eventually becoming senior pastor at one of the largest United Methodist congregations. But after three decades doing this work, Whitmore was tired. She took a job leading a nonprofit that helps homeless people.More

Why your team needs rookies
Harvard Business Review
It's easy to think of newcomers as burdens: They need to be trained and brought up to speed. But rookies are far more capable than most people expect. Instead of putting them through basic training, ask them to make a difference right away. Have them generate fresh ideas, experiment, and get rapid feedback.More

5 tips for influential leadership
By Betty Boyd
How influential are the leaders in your organization? Do they truly work together with the workforce for the success of the organization? Influential leaders help people to grow, have inner character and work together with others for a better running organization. As leadership expert John Maxwell states, "The true measure of leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less."More

How to build better work relationships
Business Insider
We can't always define it, but some people have "it" — they're incredibly charismatic. They build and maintain great relationships, positively influence the people around them, consistently make people feel better about themselves — they're the kind of people everyone wants to be around ... and wants to be. Fortunately we can all be more charismatic, because charisma isn't about our level of success, or our presentation skills, or how we dress or the image we project — charisma is about what we do. Here are ways you can be more charismatic.More