NACBA Weekly Update
April 15, 2011

Tax break changes could hurt churches
Tulsa World
Some churches nationwide are beginning to see an upswing in giving after several lean years, but they worry that the federal government may tinker with the income-tax deduction for charitable donations. Those are two key findings in the newly released State of the Plate report from Maximum Generosity Ministry, Christianity Today International and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Ninety-three percent of the 1,507 churches polled said they would be affected by a significant reduction or elimination of the charitable income-tax deduction. Gifts to churches are now generally fully deductible. More

Washington, D.C...Here We Come!
Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center
National Harbor, Md. — July 1-5

In July, hundreds of church administrative leaders from across America will convene to experience NACBA’s 55th National Conference. National conferences are a time for church administrative leaders to learn, to relax and refresh, to renew and to build new friendships, to be challenged by renowned keynote speakers, and to gain information about products and services. For more information visit

Study: People delaying religion
Postmedia News
Not only are longer life expectancies allowing people to postpone retirement, they feel less rushed to make peace with God, a new study suggests. Research out of the United Kingdom links the decline in religious participation in developed countries, where life expectancies are high, and the idea that time isn't running out as fast on people's chances to secure a place in heaven.More

Study shows how black churches use music
Music stirs worshippers’ souls and moves their feet each Sunday morning at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark. The church’s 10:45 a.m. service usually includes six songs ranging from traditional hymns to contemporary gospel anthems, all accompanied by piano, drums and Hammond organ. “It’s a release for many members,” said Jeremy Carter, the church’s director of music. “It’s a part of the sense of unity that we all share because many times we can relate to what the songs are saying. Also, it’s a time to be free in worship, not to have to sit still.” The experience at Wesley Chapel is common to many other predominantly African-American United Methodist congregations, according to a newly released study. More

10 ways to prevent embezzlement of church funds
Almost every other week I receive a message of another church that has had funds embezzled from God's House. The reasons are as varied as the person who has stolen from the church. Sometimes, the person steals because of a financial crisis in his own life or in the lives of immediate family members. On the other hand, the person might be stealing just for the fun of it. There are several things every church needs to do to help prevent this terrible crime from happening to their church. The church must guard itself and help protect the church treasurer and other financial leaders from even a hint that embezzlement of church funds is possible.More

Churches intentionally seek to bridge the generation gap
Associated Baptist Press
Many congregations have members from several generations, but often one generation dominates either in leadership or in numbers. Some churches seek out ways to bridge generation gaps because they value the contributions each generation offers and what each can learn from the other. Established in 1780, First Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., includes several generations. Under the direction of Children’s Minister Candi Brown, the congregation intentionally is thinking of new ways to bridge generation gaps, particularly with its youngest.More

Green Ops: Transcending financial concerns for energy management and efficiency
Worship Facilities
Improving energy management creates a number of opportunities for a house of worship. More efficient operations and systems create costs savings, sometimes dramatic savings, an important consideration in any regard but especially so when considering a building’s facility costs over its lifecycle are double or triple the original cost to build the property. From a staffing perspective, improved energy management can relieve a few tedious burdens on your facilities’ staff. What’s more, improving energy management and efficiency enables us to be better environmental stewards of the resources we have been given. Perhaps the most surprising thing, though, is that it doesn’t have to be so complex or so expensive, and the time it takes to recoup your investment is gradually shrinking.More

Growing your church's small groups
Ministry Today Magazine
Strong, healthy small-group ministries succeed because they develop strong, healthy small-group leaders. So, naturally, one of the top concerns ministry leaders have is how to develop strong group leaders. How can you be sure they’ll lead well? What will slow down the turnover rate? How do you get more people to lead?More

10 small church strategies in a big church world
There are countless numbers of websites/blogs out there dedicated to helping churches realize the potential of developing a strategy for effective ministry. Unfortunately, there is a curious shortage of strategies that can be easily implemented by a small church with limited resources. This article is for you smaller churches looking to find a way to help make your little church more effective in its ability to minister. More

Should Congress change pastors' housing allowances?
Your Church
Expect to hear a lot on whether Congress should change pastors’ housing allowances in the weeks and months ahead. Since the conclusion of Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa) financial investigation of six large televangelism ministries, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has been chosen to lead a commission responding to Grassley's eight remaining questions about ministry finances, including "Should there be specific guidelines controlling pastoral housing allowances?" The current tax code excludes the rental value of a home from pastors' taxable income.More

VBS follow-up key for churches
Baptist Press
Year after year, churches indicate their greatest need for Vacation Bible School is help with follow-up. "What takes place after VBS is just as important as anything that happens during the week," said Mike Smith of the leadership and evangelism area of LifeWay Christian Resources. "You have opportunities after VBS that didn't even exist before."More

Planning a transition
Church Central
Succession of leadership, sometimes called pastoral transition or interim ministry, is a major issue for Christian churches. As Russ Crabtree and Carolyn Weese have shown in Elephants in the Boardroom: Speaking the Unspoken About Pastoral Transitions, the cost in time, energy and money for a leadership transition is very expensive. Russell and Bucher provide a great case study in what makes a transition go well.More

Where has the fun gone?
Youth Worker
Youth ministry is serious business—not only because we deal with the hurting and needy lives of today's students—but because our mission and the message we share are serious, as well. Passages such as Ephesians 4:11-16 and 2 Timothy 3:10-17 remind us that our grand responsibility is the spiritual growth and maturity of students. Living and ministering with a constant perspective of eternity motivates us to press on, knowing that we must provide real solutions and answers for today's real needs. Yes, what God has called us to do is quite serious. Therefore, we should do all we can to have fun!More

Chronology of Christ's last days confuse Christians
Religion News Service via USA Today
As Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate Easter, they will follow a familiar chronology: Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on “the third day,” in the words of the ancient Nicene Creed. But if Jesus died at 3 p.m. Friday and vacated his tomb by dawn Sunday morning — about 40 hours later — how does that make three days? And do Hebrew Scriptures prophesy that timetable?More

Film claims discovery of nails from Jesus's cross
TIME Magazine
Just in time for Easter, an Israeli television journalist has produced a pair of nails he says may have been used to crucify Jesus Christ. "We're not saying these are the nails," says Simcha Jacobovici, holding aloft a pair of smallish iron spikes with the tips hammered to one side. "We're saying these could be the nails." The case for the possible rests on a specific combination of research, surmising, guesswork and either the ineptitude or the skittishness of Israeli archeologists who inventoried the tomb thought to contain the bones of the Jewish high priest who ordered Christ's arrest.More