NACBA Weekly Update
Apr. 4, 2014

Federal government files latest brief in Clergy Housing Challenge
ECFA
The lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation challenging the clergy housing exclusion proceeded this week as the government filed a brief in the Seventh Circuit defending the constitutionality of the law and arguing that FFRF lacks legal standing to bring the case. After reciting the history behind the longstanding clergy housing provisions now found in Section 107 of the tax code, the government’s brief summarizes the proceedings thus far in the FFRF case and explains why the Treasury and the IRS believe the Western District of Wisconsin reached the wrong conclusion in finding the clergy housing allowance exclusion of Section 107(2) unconstitutional. More

6 low-cost ways to achieve excellence on a budget
By Deborah Wipf
We've all experienced seasons where the budget is a bit tight. However, we still want to provide the absolute best for our communities and congregations. Excellence is possible even when on a budget. As you make the most of the resources you have, trust God to take your efforts and expand your capacity. So how can you achieve excellence on a shoestring budget? Here are some practical tips you can implement at little or no cost.More

Essential guide to church budgeting
Christianity Today
How does your church prioritize its spending? The annual budget can say a lot about the church's values and the vision the church believes the Lord has given. This week, we hope you will help us learn more about your church's budgeting priorities through this confidential 15-minute survey. Based on past experience, the results we publish later this year will be extremely helpful because you'll be able to compare your church's spending habits with those of churches nationwide. Please take a few minutes to help us — and as a bonus, when you complete the survey, you'll receive a code to download our Essential Guide to Church Budgeting for free (that's a $19.95 value)!More

Churches, relief organizations respond to mudslide victims
Christian Headlines
Victims from the horrific mudslide in Washington state are pleading for assistance. Recent reports claim financial losses have reached $10 million. In response to the tragedy that has now claimed the lives of at least 24 people and 22 still missing, humanitarian aide organizations and churches are leading a helping hand.More

After 'Bishop Bling' scandal, Vatican silent on Atlanta archbishop's $2.2 million mansion
Religion News
Days after Pope Francis summoned a controversial German bishop for talks on his luxurious lifestyle, the Vatican is facing an embarrassing new scandal about the lavish spending of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory. Gregory was President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when the sexual abuse reforms were discussed in 2002. Gregory on March 31 apologized for a lapse in judgment after he built a plush $2.2 million mansion for himself in the heart of Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead district.More

Saddleback Church hosts historic gathering on mental health and the church
Christian Post
A historic, first-time gathering of leaders from both the evangelical and Catholic communities met on March 28 to discuss the importance of churches working together to address critical mental health issues. "To be able to call together the larger faith community is bittersweet, as we had hoped to share this moment with our son, talking about concern for people with mental illness," Kay Warren told reporters. "We do this in honor and memory of our son and others lost to mental illness, realizing there is hope for others dealing with this condition."More

Evangelist: Church failing millennials by not giving them a 'cause'
Christian Post
Millennials are leaving the church because they not being given a "cause," said youth ministry leader Greg Stier. "I feel like one of the reasons why millennials are leaving the church is because millennials are causal. They want a cause," said Stier, who's leading the "Reverse" conference tour. "Generally speaking, the church has failed to give them a cause. Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 says 'Go and make disciples of all nations; I'll give you a cause.'"More

Essential guide to church budgeting
Christianity Today
How does your church prioritize its spending? The annual budget can say a lot about the church's values and the vision the church believes the Lord has given. We hope you will help us learn more about your church's budgeting priorities through this confidential 15-minute survey. When you complete the survey, you'll receive a code to download our Essential Guide to Church Budgeting for free (that's a $19.95 value)!More

5 ways to make a huge impact on Easter Sunday
ChurchLeaders
Easter is the Super Bowl of Christianity. More people come to church on Easter than any other day. More people come to Christ on Easter than any other day. It’s the day we put forth our best effort. Here are five suggestions for making this your best Easter service ever.More

Addressing church-paid medical insurance benefits
Christianity Today
Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, many employers provided health benefits for their employees by paying health insurers directly for the cost of private health insurance, or by reimbursing employees for the substantiated cost of insurance premiums. The amounts paid by employers under such arrangements were nontaxable fringe benefits under section 106 of the tax code.More

Gaining grounds
Church Executive
If done correctly, a church café not only provides a revenue stream, but acts as “the bridge between the outside world and the sanctuary” — a safe space for new members to adjust to the church community, and for current members to gather and bond. What might seem like a straightforward process actually carries quite a few nuances. So, if you’re considering launching a café at your own church campus, keep these frequently-asked questions in mind.More

Want to gain influence on social media? Get to work
Entrepreneur
People often ask how they can succeed in social media. Simply put, you get out of it what you put into it. The more effort you put in, the greater ROI you will receive. Unfortunately, people aren't always happy with that answer. Too often, people look for instant results. But creating and building online communities simply doesn’t work that way: It's a long road. The key is to create compelling content that resonates with your community, then create interactions around that content to build your audience. For those that need a little help, here are a few bits of advice.More

5 secrets to better employee engagement
Fast Company
Employee engagement — chances are you’ve heard of it before. With today’s war for talent and an entire new generation of digital natives moving into the workplace, employee engagement is a serious concern on the corporate agenda of every major company. So then why does a recent Gallup poll find that only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work?More

10 media relations tips for times of crisis
Worship Facilities
In times of crisis, the media (newspapers, bloggers, TV news crews, etc.) can help a church — they can also make the situation worse. To help ensure your church maximizes positive press coverage (and minimizes negative press), Texas Pastor Ken Dixon offers ten pieces of media relations advices.More

Are you a team player?
By Harry J. Friedman
It's a buzzword in corporate America: the exalted team player. We all want them. We ask for them in "help wanted" ads. We describe ourselves as one of them during job interviews. But what exactly is a team player? And is success achieved through teamwork? Most would agree that the answer is "yes," but there's an important distinction to be made. Teamwork is not an activity, it's a result. Much like a professional sports team, it's the result of the focused efforts of individuals utilizing their skills expertly and playing their position well.More

My top 5 leadership podcasts
Greg Atkinson
One thing I write about in my books and on my blog is that leaders are learners. One way that I continue to learn is through conferences, though there are only so many I can attend each year. Another (and cheaper) way that I continue to learn are through podcasts. Here is a list of my top five leadership podcasts (in no particular order) that I listen to for personal and professional growth.More

4 critical traits of great leaders
Entrepreneur
Most of us strive to become leaders. We want to do something great, be respected by our peers, make more money and acquire more responsibility. Overall, we want to make a difference at our job. However, most of us simply don’t know the proper way to gain heightened respect, confidence and admiration from those whom we work with. In reality, there is no simple answer to leadership. It takes devotion, time and patience. Most importantly, it takes knowledge.More