NACBA Weekly Update
April 23, 2010

Church openings outpace closings, but support for church plants lacking
PR Web
A newly released LifeWay Research survey of 1,004 Protestant pastors found only 3 percent of their churches served as the primary sponsor of a church plant (new congregation) during the previous 12 months, and only 14 percent gave financial support in partnership with other churches to help start new congregations. However, a second study completed in partnership with Leadership Network revealed more churches open than close yearly. Only in recent years has the annual number of new churches in the United States outpaced the annual number of churches closing their doors.More

Survey explores churches with lean staff costs
The Christian Post
One in seven U.S. churches spend 35 percent or less of their total budget on staff costs, a new survey shows. Churches, on average, spend nearly half their budget on staffing. The survey is intended to help churches determine ways to move toward a leaner staffing approach. Though the survey, released Wednesday, did not go into depth on how churches actually are able to work with a lean staff, the researchers sought to provide an initial picture and possibly a conversation starter for churches reevaluating their budgets.More

Can a health savings account save your church big bucks?
Church Executive Magazie
At an employee meeting in 2007, church accountant Kathy Warren and pastor of operations Bob Darden faced what felt like a mutiny. After considerable research and comparative analysis from Darden and Warren, the personnel committee at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., had decided to move to a consumer-directed, high deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Employees reacted with fear and confusion. Three months into the plan, the church seriously considered dropping it. What a difference three years make. This year, Warren and Darden faced a no less passionate employee meeting. Now employees rallied to keep the HSA plans. In fact, that first year’s most vocal critic is now one of the plan’s biggest champions. More

Seven characteristics of evangelistic Christians
Baptist Press
It is inevitable that, when we do research on evangelistic churches, we learn about one or more members in the church who, to use the book title by Charles H. Spurgeon, embody the traits of "The Soul Winner." Oftentimes one of those members is the pastor. But we have also seen many laypersons who are themselves soul winners. In interviews with these people, or with those who tell us about the soul winners, the author of this article began to discern some clear patterns. He calls those patterns "the seven characteristics of highly evangelistic Christians."More

Video: Ruling rings loud and clear for churches
Christian Broadcasting Network
After months of silence, an Arizona church can begin its daily bell-ringings again. A federal judge ruled that the Christ the King Cathedral in Phoenix has a constitutional right to ring its church bells, despite a city ordinance that prevented the pastor from doing so. "It brings the law really into line with all the other cities and jurisdictions we've looked at where you can't use a noise ordinance to suppress religious expression," church attorney Gary McCaleb said.More

The blessings and the challenges of church, youth and social media
Post Crescent
The ability to access the world with a call, click or text is one of the challenges faced by today's youth pastors. But social media also can be a huge blessing. "When we try to put technology away we realize how connected to it we are," said Andy Moscinski, youth and family pastor at First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wis. "At the same time, it's the quickest way to communicate in the form of communication most kids relate to, everything from Facebook to text messaging."More

Church pays off in more ways than one
The Tampa Tribune
After getting to bed a little late the night before, Lisa Grey decided to skip the early service at LifePoint Church in Tampa, Fla., on April 11, opting instead to attend the afternoon worship program. That decision proved to be beneficial for Grey, a single mom raising two teenage daughters on a middle school teacher's salary. LifePoint Church officials randomly selected Grey and two other church members to each receive $1,000 cash awards during the Sunday services.More

How's your Sunday service?
Ministry Today Magazine
Every pastor wants to raise up a group of people who God considers true worshipers. We have the chance to cultivate these kinds of worshipers every Sunday in our services by how we lead. Whether you are a senior pastor or a worship leader, you serve as a model for true worship. You play a key role in creating an environment that is conducive to the moving of God's Spirit. To excel at both of these requires some understanding of what I believe are fundamental principles of congregational worship.More

'Lost' opportunity: Churches embrace entertainment and pop culture
Yakima Herald-Republic
The Rev. Shane Lems and his friend Chad Werkhoven are dissecting the thorny theological themes that have helped make ABC's "Lost" both a popular TV show and a cultural phenomenon. They consider their banter an outreach for their congregation, United Reformed Church in Sunnyside, Wash. Pastors do this, more now than ever. They no longer shut out the evils of entertainment; they grab the remote, pop some corn and dive right in. "The old-school ways (of ministry) are...well, old-school, and not very affective anymore," Lems says. Across the country, pastors lead movie discussion groups. Divinity school alumni publish websites with movie-based sermon ideas. Christian book retailers sell "Lord of the Rings" DVDs packaged with Bible study notes.More

High definition church design
Building for Ministry
Expanding your church facility is no longer just about buildings. Any church that has an interactive, media-rich website knows that incredible ministry is taking place beyond their bricks and mortar facility. As Ray Kurzweil suggests, this space will increasingly become more accessible, interactive and influential. In addition, many growing churches continue to build new buildings, even as their virtual presence grows. They are finding that it is not a zero-sum situation, as many in the world of commerce have discovered. The internet was not the demise of walk-in store traffic. And so it is with church ministry.More

Internet Evangelism Day and its communication potential for those with limitations
Christian Computing Magazine
What is the one medium that anyone can use to communicate the gospel? Whether you are ill or disabled, bed-ridden or weak, what will allow you to be obedient to share the gospel as long as you are able? Obviously that tool is the Internet, which we often think of it as a tool for the young and with-it. We forget it is also an extraordinary resource for those who may be limited physically or in other ways. This article explores why and how it can be a resource without limitations in your church.More

Ministry impact is in the details
Ministry Marketing Coach
How often do we monitor our ministries so we don’t “compete,” but rather, make an impact? Let’s face it, the members and attendees of your congregation have a lot of distractions pulling at them. Are you doing everything you can to ensure that what they experience in your church doesn't simply become another distraction, or even worse, a deterrent? This is hard stuff. As ministry leaders, we are challenged with balancing daily ministry with continuously planning for its future. So how can you develop the mindset and discipline of this intentional focus? Consider the three principles outlined in this article.More

Web apps target the faithful
Clarion Ledger
There's an app for that. With more than 100,000 phone applications to choose from, it makes sense that some created for Apple products would target the religious community.More

Author describes what having an autistic child taught her about God
Associated Baptist Press
Now a nationally recognized author and speaker in the field of disability ministry, Kathleen Deyer Bolduc says she was unprepared to parent a special-needs child before the birth of her third son. Now 24, Joel has autism, intellectual disabilities and an anxiety disorder. She tells the story of their life together in Autism & Alleluias, a new book by Judson Press. "There is a lot of pain involved in parenting a child with autism," Bolduc said in an April webcast scheduled during Autism Awareness Month to promote her new book. "There's a lot of joy, but I think we're kidding ourselves if we don't look at the grief that's involved."More

Move some souls, move some cars
Detroit Free-Press
It was a day of praise, prayer and, well, test driving General Motors' new lineup of cars, crossovers and SUVS. In what organizers said was the first event of its kind in the area, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit teamed up Sunday with GM and the GM Minority Dealers Association to offer churchgoers a chance to test drive more than a dozen cars. "Americans now must support American-made products," Adams said outside the church with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a longtime member. "We are encouraging our church members to take care of their community by buying locally. This is an ethical purpose that is beyond profit."More

NACBA TeleWeb: Advanced Accounting Series , Part 2
Join us for part 2 of the Advanced Accounting Series featuring Vonna Laue, April 29 at 1:30 CDT. Frequently you are required to communicate financial information to your governing board or a committee. Do you feel that you do that in a way that is meaningful and allows them to make accurate and informed decisions? Maybe you could still improve a little in this area. We will discuss ways to learn what they want, communicate what they need, and help the decision makers know what they should to know. In this session, titled "Answering the Unasked Questions," you'll learn the communication skills needed to help your board make an informed decision. National members pay $59 while non-national members pay $69. Register today!More