NACBA Weekly Update
Feb. 7, 2014

7 steps for a more productive church staff
By Deborah Wipf
One of the challenges in ministry is that there's always more work to do — and it's unlikely you can hire a small army anytime soon. A high-performing, productive team won't happen by accident. Lead the way by providing your team with tools and information they need to do their job with excellence. It requires a bit of an upfront investment to change old habits or implement new tools, but that investment will pay off. In light of that reality, here are a few practical tips to help your team be even more productive.More

TeleWeb: Internal control over cash transactions
In addition to guarding against external risks, church leaders must also address internal financial risks that can lead to major challenges. Cash transactions (including electronic, check, and currency transactions) are a particular area of vulnerability, especially if internal controls are not sound. Learn how to safeguard your church's cash transactions during this 60-minute session with Mike Batts on Feb. 13.More

No wiggle room on a church staff
Associated Baptist Press
Most churches are small. Compared to the government's various definitions of "small business," which can be 50-500 employees, our congregations are tiny. It is a rare church that has a dozen employees. Most have one (the pastor) or two (the pastor and an administrative assistant). If someone is a good employee but in the wrong job, larger businesses can move a person to an assignment where he or she can succeed. But churches can’t do that.More

A solid fundraising foundation
Church Executive
Construction-focused capital campaigns are making a comeback. Since the crash of 2008, churches have had difficulty acquiring loans from banks. As such, the building of new facilities fell significantly. Most capital campaigns became more about debt reduction than anything else. In the past year, however, we've seen an uptick in construction-focused campaigns. We think this trend will continue into 2014 as the economy continues its plodding recovery.More

Guidelines for appearance policies in the professional workplace
By D. Albert Brannen
For good business reasons, many professional employers adopt policies regulating dress and appearance in their workplace. These policies can help enhance an office's public image, promote a productive work environment, comply with health and safety standards and even prevent claims of unlawful harassment and discrimination. While no law requires an employer to maintain a dress/appearance policy, some laws are relevant to such policies.More

Who owns the pastor's sermon?
Christianity Today
In the late 1970s, Sealy Yates was sitting in his law office when Chuck Swindoll paid him a visit. Swindoll was then a relatively unknown pastor at First Evangelical Free Church. He had run into some legal trouble and wanted Yates's advice. At issue: Who owned Swindoll's sermons — Swindoll or First Evangelical? Nearly 40 years later, disputes over the copyrights of pastors' sermons aren't likely to go away. That's partly because of the money at stake, and partly because current copyright law is stacked against pastors.More

Study: Donations rose 4.9 percent in 2013
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Charitable donations grew by nearly 5 percent last year, according to a study of 4,000 nonprofits by the fundraising software company Blackbaud, marking the largest increase it has found since the recession started. Every type of charity — environmental and animal-welfare organizations, health care and human-services groups — raised more in 2013, Blackbaud says. More

7 paradigm shifts in American churches
The Christian Post
The major changes we've seen in the past decade or so have been profound in many churches, and they seem to be lasting changes. Of course, all of these changes are not operational in all churches. Nevertheless, the implications of these shifts are enormous, and they are pervasive on the congregational landscape of America.More

Changes congregations are facing today: Diversity
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
For the vast majority of congregations in the United States, having all the membership come from one race is still the norm. Protestant churches in the United States have traditionally been homogeneous groups. Until recent times, it was common for most churches in a community to be composed of persons from only one race. There are many factors that have led to this situation.More

The costly impact of workplace violence
By Tracy Stevens
Violence in the workplace has a significant impact on an organization, its employees and its customers. The effect can be very costly through absenteeism, job performance, employee replacement and training. Health insurance premiums may also increase, and the company may incur serious legal costs.More

Justice Department to appeal clergy tax ruling
Associated Baptist Press
The Justice Department will appeal a federal court ruling last fall that allowing clergy to avoid paying taxes on a part of their income designated as a housing allowance violates the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. It's not yet clear what arguments government attorneys will make in defending the law.More

Seriously, churches! Stop using Facebook this way
By Mark MacDonald
This month we say happy 10th birthday to Facebook. Time flies. Since Facebook has 1.2 billion active users, it assures that almost everyone is on it. It makes sense that a lot of churches have a page that communicates to their congregation. But why do people follow you? If we understand that, we'll understand how to get more followers and what content to develop.More

Keeping the church building program a stepping stone, not a stumbling block
Church Central
Pastor Mike was the launch pastor of an exploding congregation. During the same time, a large plot was purchased and the church embarked upon a multimillion-dollar building program. By the 10th anniversary, the church family was meeting in its brand new, state-of-the-art facility. By the 11th anniversary, Pastor Mike was gone. Building programs have been known to kill some pastors and stall not a few congregations. What causes a building program, however, to be a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone?More

After initial skepticism, online theological education growing
Associated Baptist Press
According to accreditation agencies and a number of seminary officials, offerings of and enrollment in distance-learning courses are up at divinity schools across the country. As seminaries and divinity schools expand online education, some educators think the move is reviving the tradition of the pastor-scholar by allowing students to remain in their ministry settings while learning their craft.More

Is your own website hurting you?
You have invested time and money into creating a website. Now it's time to see if it was a good investment. Will it attract new members or customers? Will you be able to create a brand, a name for your organization that people know and trust? Implicit in these questions is one question: Will people be able to find your website? Your web builder — the software you use to build your website — may determine whether people can find your website in the search engines.More

The crucial career choices we make every day
By Mike Wokasch
Many of us are in a work routine where we get up, go to work, do our job and go home. We do this without realizing that every day we make two choices that affect our job performance, career opportunities and compensation. These choices also have deeper rooted personal and job satisfaction implications that will become obvious from this discussion. If this is you, watch out. This level of comfort and confidence breeds complacency, can undermine your career and leave you vulnerable. It's easier to rationalize complacency from a position of performance excellence.More

Toxic leaders in our ranks
Christianity Today
Ten years ago, the United States Army decided to explore a previously forbidden subject: toxic leadership. What they learned could have far-reaching ramifications for their organization, but also for others, including the church. It all started when then Brigadier General Pete Bayer sought to understand why nearly 30 soldiers stationed in Iraq committed or attempted suicide in 2009. After extensive interviews, researchers found that in each case, the victims served under a leader who classified as toxic.More

6 reasons to embrace procrastination
Fast Company
Today's business climate rewards speed. We strive to be the first, the quickest, and the one who gets the most done. Procrastination — the process of putting things off — seemingly gets in the way. Search Amazon and you'll find more than 1,300 titles that want to help you cure, defeat, and eliminate this horrible, horrible habit. But is it really that bad?More