NACBA Weekly Update
April 30, 2010

Survey: 72 percent of Millennials 'more spiritual than religious'
USA Today
Most young adults today don't pray, don't worship and don't read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows. If the trends continue, "the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships," says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group's survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72 percent say they're "really more spiritual than religious."More

Remote-deposit capture is an efficient way to handle Sunday offerings
Leadership Journal
The buzz surrounding electronic giving options continues to grow as online donation capabilities improve and text-messaging campaigns take hold. But a lesser-known technology called remote-deposit capture may provide significant benefits to churches as they sift through the large number of checks still given weekly. A February survey of 750 Christian households by Maximum Generosity, Church Finance Today, and Leadership shows 90 percent still primarily use checks for their weekly offering.More

In Spain, church candles go digital
TIME Magazine
Every week, Marta Hernández walks to Madrid's San Andres church and lights a candle to Saint Isidro. Most of the time, the 75-year-old prays for the health of her children and grandchildren. Every now and then, though, she acts as proxy for her old friend Maria Teresa, who no longer lives in the neighborhood and misses her patron saint. "She can't come here to light a candle to Saint Isidro, so I do it for her," says Hernández. But if David Doña and Marcos Rodríguez have their way, Maria Teresa may soon be able to light that candle herself -- from the comfort of her own home. On April 26, Doña and Rodríguez unveiled a digital candelabra in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The device, which consists of a computer screen mounted on a metal stand decorated with the Cross of Saint James, allows the faithful to remotely light a virtual candle to a favorite saint through the website (translation: MyCandle). Simply click on the church and icon you want, type in your credit card or Paypal information -- each candle costs about $2 -- and in a dark corner of a faraway church, an onscreen candle "lights." The candles can also be lit via text message. More

Can you rehearse for church leadership?
Church Central
Leadership at church is like a live performance. Like performers, whether musical or theatrical, leaders can prepare and rehearse. But at the performance, we have to show up and live into the moment of performing as best we can. We can’t pause, rewind or edit our performance. We can’t fix it in post-production. How do you rehearse as a leader? More

Denver churches focus on being good neighbors
Ministry Today
For more than a year, 20 Catholic and Protestant pastors in Denver have been partnering in an outreach program designed to encourage their congregations to take the commandment to "love your neighbor" as seriously as possible, according to the Denver Post. The program, named Building Blocks, has consisted of a series of 21 guest sermons throughout the year taught by the various pastors in the initiative, most of whom are located in the northwest areas of metropolitan Denver. The pastors preached their final sermons in the series on Sunday.More

Maryland church group signs up for solar power
Brighter Energy
A group of churchgoers in University Park, Md., has signed one of the first community solar power purchase agreements for their church. The agreement will see Standard Solar, Inc., providing a 23-kilowatt photovoltaic power system on the roof of the Church of the Brethren building, just east of Washington, DC. The University Park Community Solar LLC, as the group is called, will secure more predictable energy prices for their church, as well as cutting reliance on electricity generated from coal.More

Online missionaries spread Gospel in cyberspace
Toledo Blade
For 2,000 years, Christian missionaries have traveled to foreign lands to spread the Gospel. Today, there are thousands of missionaries preaching around the world without leaving home. Sometimes even while wearing pajamas. The latest estimates report that 1.8 billion people are on the Internet, and every day, she said, they make "2 million searches for spiritual needs." More

The iSeminary cometh
Christianity Today
Shawn Cossin completed his bachelor's degree in Christian education at Wheaton College in 1993. After that, he became a military police officer in the U.S. Army. Eventually returning to his native Pennsylvania, Cossin became a state trooper—and a youth pastor at Sandy Lake Wesleyan Church. In time, the church promoted Cossin to assistant pastor, and he felt pulled to enter full-time ministry, though he had never attended seminary. He imagined it would be impractical to quit both jobs, uproot his wife and two young sons, and immerse himself in studies on a residential campus for up to three years to earn a coveted ministerial degree. But Indiana Wesleyan University provided another option: stay home, keep working, and earn a master of arts in ministry online.More

Filling the church communication gap...with Facebook
When a worship service is canceled due to weather, or an urgent prayer request crops up in the middle of the week, or an unexpected service opportunity arrives, how does your church communicate this to the congregation? Lately there’s been an interesting trend in churches: more and more of the congregation is popping up on Facebook, and they’re using it to share the sort of information that would normally get summarized in a once-a-week print church bulletin.More

Dallas-area pastors known as 'living legends'
Dallas Morning News
They pass through the larger world in relative anonymity – good men from humble backgrounds, hard-working and generous, their lives dedicated to those around them. They call themselves servants of the Lord. But in the neighborhoods surrounding their churches, these pastors are revered.More

Corrections officers lean on faith, each other to handle prisoners, stress
The Denver Post
Members of the nondenominational Christian "Corrections Staff Fellowship" attend twice-monthly gatherings in Buena Vista, Colo., where they pray, read Scriptures and talk about not judging prisoners. "This has to be driven by God in the hearts of correctional officers," said Pete Hoppin, who founded a chapter of the rapidly growing national group near a prison in Buena Vista. "Our vision is to have a chapter in every town where there is a prison."More

In the Bronx, canine pal 'Proof' helps missionary care for kids
Baptist Press
Squeezed between the Harlem River and the old Yankee Stadium lies the mostly forgotten neighborhood of Mott Haven. For decades, this South Bronx community has borne the brunt of crime, drugs and poverty in a city known for its luxuriously rich and desperately poor. It's home to Graffiti 2 Church and Community Ministries, and on this particular Monday morning, the building is quiet. It's the calm before the storm of activity here every afternoon. As soon as the last bell rings at the elementary school around the corner, some 25 first- through fifth-graders will fill the room for Graffiti 2's after-school program.More

Mississippi churchgoer saved from tornado's wrath
The Washington Times
Dale Thrasher, 60, had been alone in Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany, Miss., when the tornado hit Saturday, ripping away wood and metal until all that was left was rubble, Mr. Thrasher and the table he had climbed under as he prayed for protection. "The whole building caved in," he said. "But me and that table were still there." Sunday was sunny and breezy as Mr. Thrasher and other members of the Yazoo City church dug through the debris and pulled out a few chairs and other items. One found a hymnal opened to the song, "Till the Storm Passes By." More

NACBA continues to offer "double" scholarships for Annual Conference
The NACBA board of directors voted to continue its version of an economic stimulus package first adopted in 2009. They agreed to continue for 2010 the doubling of the amount of scholarship a person may receive for attending the national conference or certification classes from $250 to $500. The NACBA Endowment Fund provides the funds for these conference and certification scholarships. While the endowment fund corpus has been reduced, like most investments in this economy, there are still significant funds available for scholarships. More