NACBA Weekly Update
Feb. 5, 2010

The economy's impact on churches: How churches have adapted
Barna Group
After enduring some of the worst economic conditions in modern history, many businesses, families and other charitable organizations are coming out of panic mode and adapting to the "new normal." A Barna Group study with 1,114 pastors and church executives, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009, explored how congregations and churches are coping with the economic downturn.More

Survivors have renewed attitudes
The Washington Post
Having survived a devastating earthquake during a 10-day mission trip to Haiti, Freedom Gassoway now savors every minute she spends at home with her family in Beaverton, Ore.  But for this 33-year-old mother of two, life has also lost some of its sweetness. As the dust settles from Haiti's devastating quake, mission workers of all types are pondering the deeper meaning of their survival. They're wondering why they survived, why others didn't and what they're supposed to do with their new leases on life.More

Preparing for Easter church guests
Baptist Press
You've inundated your town with prayer and printed invitations to worship at your church on Easter. The nationwide GPS (God's Plan for Sharing) media blitz has reinforced those efforts. You have a sudden, terrifying thought ... "What if they all show up?!" Here are some fresh ideas for getting ready for your Easter service. More

What is family-based youth ministry?
Youth Worker
Coming up with a concrete definition of family-based youth ministry can be difficult. So implementing this type of ministry can also be difficult for churches. Most days in youth ministry, we're trying to help families succeed—whether we know it or not. Perhaps we've not been able to get a handle on family-based youth ministry because we're more involved in it than we realized.More

How to avoid death by meeting
Ministry Today Magazine
We've all sat through meetings that would bore a sloth. You've experienced counter-productive meetings that create more problems than they solve. And who hasn't endured a mid-afternoon meeting with a monotone speaker. It's death by meeting! But the author of this article has learned to appreciate a well-planned, well-run meeting. There is nothing like a meeting with lots of energy and synergy. Here are seven lessons learned about maximizing meetings. More

How does a church leader know when it's time to go?
Church Central
How do you discern when it’s time to quit? Leaders need persistence. You have to be able to keep going when the going gets rough, because leadership is almost never easy. Whether you are leading in a family, a church, a school or a denomination, there will be moments when you think, "Why am I doing this? It's just too hard." It's not easy to know when to be patient and wait for the results, and when to say, enough, already. More

Churches tread lightly with Super Bowl viewing parties
The Christian Post
As the New Orleans Saints get ready to battle it out with the Indianapolis Colts this weekend, churches are being cautious with their Super Bowl viewing parties to avoid copyright infringement. And they're starting by leaving "Super Bowl" out of their event title. The warning – against showing the game outside of a traditional family living room environment – had sparked fear in churches across the country and prompted many to cancel their annual event.More

Faiths find reason to believe in Saint
Houma Today
Faith. Struggle. Hope. Abiding love. In synagogues and churches across New Orleans, prayers are flavored by the Saints' march to the Super Bowl, transcending spiritual differences with the team's rousing "Who Dat!" cheer. Louisiana churches are scurrying to change their Sunday services to avoid conflict with the big game.More

How clean carpet impacts your church
Church Executive Magazine
Day care or child care facilities are a mainstay of many churches and church-supported schools. The benefits of these facilities to parents are innumerable, including the assurance that their children are in a safe, nurturing environment under the care of supportive, qualified adults. However, when a mother picks up her crawling baby from a church day-care or child care facility and notices soiled areas on the knees of the baby's outfit, the positives can quickly shift to negatives. This happens every day in child care facilities -- and to be fair, homes -- across the country as a direct result of a poorly cleaned carpet. Considering that the soils and pollutants trapped in the carpet can include mold spores, fungi, weed killer, and animal fecal matter, in addition to clay, sand, leaves, and grass clippings, concerns can escalate.More

Prosperity gospel is growing movement among churches
Asbury Park Press
Believing in Jesus is good for your bank account. Shore Christian Pastor G. Dewey Friedel has long preached that God will bless believers with material riches: money, houses, and cars. And that God-given wealth will even entice others to believe in Jesus as well. The prosperity gospel may seem unfamiliar to some churchgoers, but Friedel is one pastor in a growing movement among nondenominational churches.More

Four ways to get more out of your VBS kits
Your Church
When we think of VBS, we picture the tried-and-true, traditional summer ministry outreach. For many churches, it's been this way for generations. VBS is often a church's primary outreach event, and while I'm completely all for the usually five-day VBS, I'd also like to encourage you to consider additional areas of your ministry where VBS curriculum can be a great fit. Remember, VBS kits provide five thematic Bible lessons, a variety of music, and activities. Some include youth and adult materials. This means you can stretch a kit into ten or fifteen lessons, and use it across age groups.More

Churchgoers brave cold to raise homelessness awareness
The Middletown Press
During one of the coldest nights of this winter, members of Middlesex County, N.J., churches came together to bring attention to the plight of the county's homeless by experiencing a night without adequate shelter. First Church of Christ Congregational in Middletown, South Congregational Church in Middletown, Congregational Church of Killingworth, Congregational Church of Old Saybrook, The Middlefield Federated Church and The United Church of Christ Churches in Chester, Clinton, Essex, Deep River, East Haddam and Higganum all took part in coordinated efforts to bring awareness to the needs of the homeless population in Middlesex County.More

Canine churchgoers: Dogs attend services at California church
Los Angeles Times
At Covenant Presbyterian Church in Westchester, Calif., dogs like are welcome congregants at the Sunday night services, where howling and sudden bouts of scratching may interrupt prayers, and the collection plate holds treats for poodles and golden retrievers alike. And the Rev. Tom Eggebeen said he fully understands if some of the congregants need to step outside now and again. The idea behind the service, Eggebeen said, was to make it more comfortable for people to attend the church, which has 120 members.More

New York church's move to Georgia: 'Preservation by relocation'?
USA Today
In recent decades, thousands of American churches -- no one, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has exact numbers -- have closed. Some have been bought by other congregations. Others have found new lives as performance spaces, catering halls, art galleries, restaurants, homes and, in Cincinnati, an Urban Outfitters retail store. But a range of factors — including the unusual size and shape of churches, and restrictions sellers often impose on their reuse (no alcohol sales, no astrology, etc.) -- limit the number that find an afterlife. Instead of building a neoclassical church, Sharon Wilbur's growing parish wants to buy classical-style St. Gerard's, take it apart and ship it 900 miles from Buffalo, N.Y.'s depopulated east side to Norcross, Ga., for reassembly at Mary Our Queen parish.More

Jobless in Tampa area find new work in volunteerism
Tampa Bay Online
Legions of Americans are boosting the ranks of volunteers serving church ministries, animal shelters, soup kitchens, health clinics and school programs. The recession has curtailed monetary donations to these charities, at the same time fueling the needs of those they serve. And although many can't give cash like they did in the past, they can, however, give time. Researchers say there are several reasons for the growing numbers.More