NACBA Weekly Update
March 4, 2011

Lent gets an update: More add social service to sacrifice
Religion News Service via USA Today
For Janis Galvin fasting for Lent has long meant saying no to candy for the 40 days before Easter. But when the season begins this year on March 9, it's apt to mean something more: walking when she'd rather drive, for instance, or turning the thermostat way down. Galvin, an Episcopalian, will join with about 1,000 others who've signed up for the 2011 Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, a daily regimen for reducing energy consumption and fighting global warming. Lent is getting a makeover, especially in some Protestant traditions where it hasn't always drawn strong interest. The carbon fast is one of several initiatives aimed at reinvigorating Lent by linking themes of fasting and abstention to wider social causes.More

Texas church awarded historic LEED status
Plano, Texas’ Christ United Methodist Church has taken a historic step forward in helping create a sustainable environment. CUMC’s sanctuary has been awarded LEED Silver certification, making it the first sanctuary in Texas to be certified sustainable for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as a variety of other strategies. Becoming LEED certified means more than simply recycling trash and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Certification is based on a point system established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.More

Churches need to be aware of wolves in their midst
Church Executive Magazine
Fraud targeting Christians is an epidemic. Of the $40 billion that Americans lose to investment fraud every year, fraud against the faithful accounts for as much as $1 billion of it. Antiquated notions of why churches fall victim to fraud are at least partially responsible for the epidemic. Old adages like, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” are not only useless as protection against fraud, but also dangerous.More

Unfamiliar practices may bring unexpected benefits to churches
Associated Baptist Press
Introducing unfamiliar practices to church members can be challenging, but congregations often are far less resistant than expected, according to some pastors who have tried it. “I think people are hungry for ritual, especially those who don’t come from a Christian tradition which has them,” said Sterling Severns, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. “Communion is the closest many Baptists come to ritual. But there’s something that is inside Scripture, a way that God uses ritual and rhythm to help people understand something about God’s nature.More

Strategic planning for Easter - Why it is essential now more than ever
Christian Computing Magazine
You don't have to be an astute analyst of the culture to understand that we live in a far different world than Baby Boomers grew up in. Many Boomer church leaders may be aware of the changes in life, technology, and culture, while at the same time planning for Easter church celebrations the same way they did when Ozzie, Harriet and family was the target audience. If you want share the power of our risen Lord in ways that will change people today and forever, you need a new strategy-read on for suggestions.More

Making kids church amazing
Ministry Today Magazine
How does church become a child’s favorite place? How does going to God’s house become the highlight of a kid’s week? In the author’s opinion, it can be described by a philosophy he read about years ago that I call the “McDonald’s Approach. Growing up, he loved going to McDonald’s. He loved the play area, the Happy Meals and the Happy Meal toy. In other words, he wanted the “Mickey D’s” experience because he knew it would be fun (the play area), he would get fed (the Happy Meal) and he would leave with something (the toy). Shouldn’t church be the same way? Shouldn’t kids love to come to church because they know they’ll have fun, they’ll be fed the Word of God and they’ll leave with something deposited in their hearts?More

10 tips for understanding your church's money story
Church Central
Understanding your church's story in relation to money can help you lead in the present and move toward the future. Here are ten tips for paying attention to the past.More

Computer privacy at church
Church Law and Tax
It is important for employers to have an appropriate computer policy. Such a policy will minimize or eliminate employees' expectations of privacy in employer-provided computers, thereby providing a viable defense against alleged Fourth Amendment violations and invasions of privacy. There are several important issues that should be addressed in a church's computer policy.More

Fight over exempt status focuses on clutter at worship center
A New Hampshire city official has taken the old saying "cleanliness is next to godliness" one step too far in a battle now raging over the tax status of a church building, determining that cleanliness is godliness, according to a legal team in the midst of the fight. The dispute concerns Liberty Assembly of God, now called Destiny Christian Church, over its decision to use its building to feed the hungry and help the needy, and the resulting impact on its building. It appears a city official didn't like clutter, and concluded the church couldn't be religious with it there.More

Salaries at issue as bank seeks megachurch receivership
Kansas City Star
The bank that filed a foreclosure petition against First Family Church earlier this year now wants a receiver to take over church operations immediately. In a rare move, Regions Bank has asked a Johnson County District Court judge to appoint a receiver pending completion of the mortgage foreclosure proceeding, giving that person all necessary powers to manage the property. “I’ve never heard of a bank asking the court to come in and take over,” said Phill Martin, deputy chief executive of the National Association of Church Business Administration, a nonprofit based in Texas with more than 3,000 members. Such an action could have a huge impact on the church, Martin said. It can’t help but affect “people’s participation and their willingness to give.” But Martin said he also could understand why the bank was concerned.More

Churches conduct wellness programs
The Dispatch
Many churches help keep the spirit healthy with weekly sermons, devotionals and Bible studies, but a few are using aerobics, pilates and other exercises to keep their members' physical lives healthy, too. Bethesda United Methodist Church in Welcome, N.C., is one of those churches. In January, the church restarted its wellness program to help raise heart rates and encourage fellowship among members and other participants in the program from the community.More

Bus, gutted of seats, is ministry tool
Baptist Press
When most people think of a bus, they envision kids loading up for a day of school, but Mark Chandler, a principal and a pastor in New Mexico, sees a bus as more than just a transportation vehicle. In fact, Chandler's church -- First Indian Baptist in Gallup, N.M., -- has never used the bus parked in its lot to transport people. Rather, its main purpose is to be more of an extra room that can be driven into communities, providing a place from which to minister.More

Theologians launch blog to tackle Biblical illiteracy
The Christian Post
In an effort to combat biblical illiteracy, a group of 30 seminary professors have made themselves available to provide free education to the public. The free education comes in the form of a blog – launched this week – with regular posts on anything from prayer and spiritual formation to historical theology and biblical exposition. "At a time when biblical literacy is at an all time low and there are so many muddled, uninformed views of the Bible, something like The Good Book Blog is such a breath of fresh air," said author of Hipster Christianity and blogger Brett McCracken.More