NACBA Weekly Update
Mar. 2, 2012

As economy improves, Americans will increase charitable donations
Midland Reporter-Telegram
Charitable giving has always been central to American culture. Individuals and corporations give billions of dollars to religious, educational, human services, health care and many other types of organizations. The national economic downturn caused a notable drop in giving, but the tide has turned and 2010 totals indicate a return to growth. According to Giving USA 2011: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2010, Americans gave almost $291 billion in 2010, up from some $280 billion in 2009.More

IRS releases 'Dirty Dozen' tax scams for 2012
IRS
The Internal Revenue Service issued its annual "Dirty Dozen" ranking of tax scams, reminding taxpayers — and churches — to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. "Taxpayers should be careful and avoid falling into a trap with the Dirty Dozen," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "Scam artists will tempt people in-person, online and by email with misleading promises about lost refunds and free money. Don't be fooled by these scams."More

Concealed weapons at church and the First Amendment
Church Law and Tax
In 2010, the State of Georgia enacted a law making it a misdemeanor offense for a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon "in a place of worship." Several plaintiffs, including a church and its pastor, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this law. The fundamental question was whether a state law prohibiting concealed weapons in a church violates the constitutional rights of church members to bear arms and practice their religion. In January 2011, a federal court in Georgia said no. The case was appealed to the 11th circuit court of appeals in Atlanta, and oral arguments were heard in October. A decision is expected this spring.More

NYC churches once again win right to hold services in public schools; another appeal planned
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Churches won back the right to hold services in New York City's public schools when a federal judge issued an injunction against its no-worship policy. The city said it would immediately appeal, guaranteeing that a case that has gone back and forth for 17 years will continue. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled in Manhattan, N.Y., that a tiny evangelical Christian church, the Bronx Household of Faith, has a good chance of ultimately winning its lawsuit claiming the policy violates freedom of religion.More

Public library in Oregon denies access for religious meetings
Charisma News
Although churches got a reprieve from an eviction order that would force their worship services out of New York City public schools, organizers of religious meetings on the West Coast are facing their own First Amendment battle. Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against the Public Library of Seaside, Ore., for denying access for an educational meeting that included religious content. More

Chicago churches getting soaked by water meter installation expenses
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago churches losing their free water perk are getting soaked by another major expense they did not anticipate and, in some cases, cannot afford: installing water meters. The city has long required meters in church buildings, but the ordinance was seldom enforced. So long as free water was still flowing to nonprofits, there was no need to measure usage. But now that all 6,113 nonprofits are being weaned away from free water — with a 60 percent discount this year, 40 percent next year, 20 percent in 2014 and zero in 2015 — meters are a must, even for struggling parish churches.More

Church of England installs alarms to stop copper thefts
Religion News
The Church of England is spearheading a campaign to install high-tech movement sensors on scores of churches in a bid to stop a rash of lead and copper thieves who have targeted the roofs of religious buildings. The stolen metals are fetching increasingly higher prices on international markets. The insurance firm Ecclesiastical, which provides coverage for 96 percent of Anglican churches in Great Britain, reported receiving a record 2,600 claims last year.More

Creating a positive culture in your church
Building Church Leaders
A church that suffers from an inward focus expresses itself in negative actions, often self-destructive, language, emotion, and self-image. Inward-focused churches are pessimistic about the future, have frequent pastoral turnover, and are easily impacted by their circumstances. Apathy permeates these congregations. So how do you turn around an inward-focused congregation? You begin by creating a culture that builds confidence and self-esteem in the people.More

5 reasons Jesus would be fired if he were hired as a youth leader
The Christian Post
In the crazy "what if" world of impossible scenarios, Jesus would be fired within his first few months of becoming a youth leader at the typical church. Here are five reasons why, starting with the fact that Jesus would shrink the group before he grew it.More

5 tips to start going green with your cleaning — and save some green in the process
Worship Facilities
Before getting started, it's important to understand that you can go green without being a tree hugger or an environmentalist whacko. If you are interested in saving money, providing a safe facility for your staff and guests and/or are concerned about caring for the creation God has entrusted to us, then you are ready to start going green. Here are some tips.More

Rebranding a religion is hard to do, and not always successful
Religion News
Did leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention hurt their missionary cause by opting not to change the denomination's name to something a bit more, well, marketable? Maybe, but as the advertising executives of Madison Avenue in New York could attest, as tempting as it is to try to solve a missionary slump with a marketing campaign, religious groups — like commercial businesses — should think twice before undergoing a brand overhaul.More

What happens when a church loses a pastor?
MetroWest Daily News
The success of a church does not rely upon a single person. Every member has a role, each just as important as the next. And if one role goes unfulfilled, a church does not fall like a house without support beams. Rather, the congregation comes together to shore it up. That includes the role of pastor. For most churches, the search for a new pastor is a long process that can take a year or more.More

5 types of critics in your church
Gifted for Leadership (blog)
No matter how far up the ladder of ministry you climb, you will always find those eager to analyze and judge your work. So how do you respond? Surely there is a better way to deal with your critics in the church than hiding from them. Here are the five different types of critics who may be infiltrating your ministry and practical advice on how to deal with them without hiding in the chemical closet.More