NACBA Weekly Update
Mar. 9, 2012

Criticizing won't change the world
Ministry Today
When it comes to engaging in public policy and challenging today's culture, some of the least successful strategies are ones built around criticism. The growing number of churches and ministries that are constantly "against something" is a disturbing trend. After all, as Christians, we of all people should be known as being for something. We're sharing the greatest story ever told, but instead of focusing on that story, we continually get distracted by turning our focus on issues peripheral to our real calling.More

Banks foreclosing on US churches in record numbers
Banks are foreclosing on America's churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data. The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance. Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90 percent of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure.More

Study: More would take money advice from Donald Trump over Bible
USA Today
Despite the Bible's 2,000 verses about money and possessions, more Americans would follow Donald Trump's financial wisdom, and some millennials would heed advice on riches from Kim Kardashian over the Good Book, a new survey finds. According to the report, 50 percent would take advice from Donald Trump but only 32 percent say they'd look to the Bible.More

Observations on church staffs
Church Central
In the past quarter of century of church leadership and church consultation, one of the most common and pressing issues relates to church staff. One of the leading concerns is what the next staff position should be after the pastor. Here are some of the other more common questions.More

Tax scam warning: Beware of phony refund scheme targeting church members, seniors
The Internal Revenue Service warned senior citizens and other taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting them to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds. Under the scheme, promoters claim they can obtain a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college. In many cases, scammers are targeting seniors, people with very low incomes and members of church congregations with bogus promises of free money.More

Why pastors must pay federal income taxes
Managing Your Church (blog)
Ministers are not exempt from paying federal income taxes. Since 1943, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom is not violated by subjecting ministers to the federal income tax. And yet, ministers have tried to argue against this ruling for decades. The courts have rejected every attempt by them to claim they are exempt from the payment of income taxes. One case helps clarify this common misunderstanding.More

NC church opening its doors for job center
Shelby Star
A Sunday school classroom at First Baptist Church in Cherryville, N.C., will soon be used for less traditional purposes — to teach adults how to find jobs. The church will be hosting Gaston County's first Small Network Access Point, a satellite center that works with Gaston Workforce Development. Volunteers will open the door to the center Wednesdays and Thursday, and visitors may use computers for résumé help, assistance with job searches and access to countywide programs and resources.More

Tennessee churches take turns hosting noontime Lenten services and meals
Knoxville News Sentinel
During the noon hour, approximately 150 people gathered inside First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., to listen to a message from senior pastor William Shiell. Closer examination revealed that the churchgoers were not the typical Baptist crowd. Among the group were likely a few Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Methodists and maybe even some non-denominational Christians. They were all attending the first of five ecumenical Wednesday Lenten services and lunches at the downtown churches, a tradition that has been going on for approximately a dozen years.More

Obese pet pig inspires local church to get healthy
VideoBrief At St. Nicholas Church in Flower Mound, Texas, the congregation is getting healthy, but their inspiration is coming from the most unlikely of places — a pig named Avery. Fifteen years ago the pig was dumped on the church's property. She has since become a regular member of the flock. Through a diet program called Slimming World, some 15 members of the church have lost nearly 600 pounds, and by monitoring Avery's food intake, their pet pig has dropped half of her body weight. More

Massachusetts church hosts movie night series
Hudson Sun
First Church in Marlborough, Mass., is holding a free movie series hosted by Pastor Kazimierz Bem. Soup and bread is shared at 5 p.m. before the movies. All movies will be followed by a lively discussion led by Pastor Kaz. Topics covered will include the intersection of life, religion and politics, and the different responses to violence and suffering in the world.More

Cash-strapped Italy looks to tax church-owned properties
Religion News Service
Pinched by the global recession and tough-love budget demands of the European Union, the Italian government is looking for extra revenue, and has its eyes set on commercial properties owned by the Roman Catholic Church. The government announced it wants to revise rules on the tax-exempt status of church-owned commercial property. "Such a move would have been unimaginable six months ago," said Francesco Perfetti, a history professor at LUISS University in Rome.More

Forming the team: Get the right people in the right positions
Building Church Leaders
Leadership literature indicates that "teams at the top" of an organization encounter far greater challenges than those of other teams. The team leading an organization must confront failures and adapt to successes, handle its own personnel disputes within the team, adjust strategy to brutal new realities, adapt to growth, resistance, and reversals — an endless list of dynamics that disrupt trust and bruise egos. Highly effective teams are tough to form and tougher to continually lead.More

Gut-check: 3 cold hard facts about true leadership
Church Leaders
Leadership, leadership, leadership ... it seems to be the point of discussion no matter what the subject is. Everyone is always talking about leadership, many people are writing about leadership and everyone wants to be a better leader. It doesn't matter how many leadership books you read, how much leadership intellect you have or if you have obtained an awesome leadership role. Here are the cold hard facts.More

Can one church handle 2 generations' attitudes toward evangelism and service?
Leadership Journal
James Merritt, 59, serves as senior pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. His son, Jonathan Merritt, 29, joined the church staff in 2008. In many respects, they couldn't be more different. James represents the boomer generation's approach to faith in Christ. Jonathan's Christian faith was forged in a postmodern context. When they start talking about theological or political issues, the sparks fly. But underneath their intense differences, there's a profound respect for each other. Each has a passionate drive to share the gospel and influence the world for Christ.More