The Church Network Weekly Update
May. 15, 2015

From striving for perfection to pursuing excellence
By Deborah Ike
As church leaders, you're working each day to spread the Gospel and make disciples. Whether you're a pastor, worship leader, accountant, graphics designer or IT genius, you have a role to play in making your church's vision a reality. As you use your talents in your church, there's a tension between wanting to get everything perfect and striving for excellence. The problem is that perfection is a tough taskmaster. If seeking perfection is slowing you down and keeping you from getting work done, maybe it's time to consider what excellence looks like.More

Early-bird deadline for TCN Conference extended until May 21!
The Church Network
Due to a systems upgrade at the national office, online conference registration experienced some instability. Those issues have now been resolved, but for that reason we've extended the early-bird deadline until May 21. Don't miss this discounted registration pricing for the country's leading conference for church administrative leaders. Join us in Nashville in July. Registration will never be cheaper!More

Upcoming TeleWeb: The Top 10 Risk Ares for Churches
The Church Network
From resource constraints to safety concerns and more, ministry isn't without risk. Parents drop off their children expecting them to be safe and cared for. Members place their tithes and offerings in the plate as it goes by expecting church leaders to manage and spend those funds wisely. Unfortunately, risks aren't 100 percent preventable. However, there are practical steps you can take to greatly reduce the likelihood they'll occur or reduce the impact if they do occur. This is where risk management comes into the picture.

Join Deborah Wipf Ike in this webinar on May 28 at 1:30 p.m. CDT / 2:30 p.m. EDT, who will share steps churches can take to implement risk management.More

How to create an effective dashboard report for your ministry
Church Law and Tax
The dashboard of your vehicle provides vital information. In addition to monitoring how much gas you have, the dashboard helps you ensure that you’re not speeding and that all of your car’s major systems are working properly. A dashboard report serves the same purpose for a church. It takes pages of reports and summarizes the key data into one page of information, mostly in the form of graphs and charts. This report helps you keep an eye on essential information and alerts you when things begin to deviate from the norm. When prepared properly, it can also engage board members who may have been disinterested in operational or “business” matters.More

Baptists struggle to sell or share sacred space
Baptist News Global
The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston recently went to court to force a group of parishioners out of the church it is trying to close, along with many others. National Public Radio reported that 100 members of St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church have been holding a vigil in the parish slated for closing to help the archdiocese, citing shortages in priests and laypeople, to save money. But devoted Catholics in the Northeast aren’t the only ones desperate to hang on to their churches. Many Protestants, regardless of geography, can be just as determined stay in buildings regardless of size, dwindling attendance or tight finances. More

Old highway sign law nails Oklahoma churches and Times Square
WORLD Magazine
In Oklahoma, some churches may be forced to demolish highway signs to comply with a 50-year-old federal highway law. The Highway Beautification Act, enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 at the behest of his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, regulates advertisements along the interstate and federally funded highways. The law requires church signs next to a highway to be no larger than 8 square feet, less than half the size of a regulation basketball backboard. Signs for civic groups and directional signs are also subject to the size rule. States that choose not to enforce the law can lose a portion their federal highway fundingMore

Dave Ramsey: Don't give in when church pressures you to give more
The Dallas Morning News
As many people work to get out of debt, Dave Ramsey offers advice for a particular couple who feels pressured to give more monetary contributions than they can afford. The husband asks,"My wife and I go to a small church where we tithe. The church is continually asking for contributions to other charities and causes, and we don't have the money to give to them all while we're sticking to our budget and getting out of debt. The worst part is that we get pretty aggressive pushback when we say no. What can we do?"More

IRS is sued for investigating churches
Forbes
Church and state are supposed to be separate, so how come the IRS gets to decide what is religious and what is not? And why is the IRS investigating churches and other religious organizations? Is the IRS threatening churches on behalf of anti-religious crusaders? To get some answers, Judicial Watch has sued on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom for the release of documents regarding the IRS decision to re-evaluate criteria for determining whether churches and other nonprofits can claim tax-exempt status.More

3 practical principles to retain church attenders
Church Tech Today
Even with all the systems that have been put in place, store owners know that a certain percentage of their merchandise will be lost, stolen, or broken. In retail, this is known as shrinkage. Much like a shop, churches have shrinkage. Each week  many visitors walk through church doors. What percentage of them fall through the cracks? How many of those people never visit again? If that number is zero, then your connections process is one of the most important processes in your ministry. Here are three practical principles of connecting and retaining church attenders.More

In San Francisco, Catholic Church starts digital collection plate
NBC News
In San Francisco, where technology is almost a religion, the Catholic Church is moving beyond the collection plate and weekly newsletter. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is partnering with Evergive, a service that starting on Friday, May 15, will let Bay Area Catholics donate money, share prayers and more from their computers or smartphones. The Catholic Church has already embraced social media at the highest levels. But this technology could help local churches, where money still is dropped into collection plates and announcements come in neatly folded newsletters.More

America's changing religious landscape
Pew Research Center
The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. More

Denzel Washington urges college grads to put God first in everything they do
Christian Today
Actor Denzel Washington recently spoke to the college graduates of Dillard University, and during his commencement speech, he urged the 218 students in attendance to "put God first in everything you do." Relevant Magazine obtained the speech made by the Flight and American Gangster actor, in which he stressed the importance of God and prayer. "Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It's a gift. I didn't always stick with Him, but He stuck with me," he said.More

12 surprisingly effective ways to get organized
Inc.
Successful leaders, entrepreneurs and business professionals lead very busy lives. They often end up wearing many hats as they grow their businesses and lead their companies to new heights. So how do successful people stay productive? They stay organized. But no one is born organized. It happens by building good and effective habits. Try the following 12 simple starting points to organize your life.More

How the church can reach nominals and seculars
Christianity Today
Evangelism requires a strategy. There’s a unique way to go about reaching out to people, ending in the same gospel. The mission is always the same, but the method is usually different. There’s a certain strategy needed when you engage people who are a part of the church culture, and another when you’re looking to reach people who want nothing to do with church culture.More