NACBA Weekly Update
May 21, 2010

Joblessness hits the pulpit
The Wall Street Journal
While the economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in generations, more clergy are facing unemployment as churches continue to struggle with drops in donations. In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005. The official unemployment rate among clergy sits at 1.2 percent, far below the national average jobless rate, but layoffs can be particularly painful for ministers. Churches aren't subject to unemployment taxes, so laid-off employees can't collect the benefits available to other workers.More

Murder in pulpit spurs college to host safety workshop for churches
Associated Baptist Press
The shooting and death of an Illinois Baptist pastor in the middle of a worship service last year brought Steve Heidke face-to-face with the reality that most houses of worship are vulnerable as "soft targets" for crimes, including violent ones. That realization birthed a recent training on crime mitigation for houses of worship, involving advice from law-enforcement officials, hosted by Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. Heidke, the school's director of public safety, was inspired to ask MBU officials to host such an event as a result of the shooting. More

Poll: More Americans say US morality getting worse
The Christian Post
More Americans believe moral values in the United States are getting worse, according to a new Gallup Poll. The Gallup’s annual poll on moral values found 76 percent of Americans said moral values in the country are getting worse, up five percent from last year. This year’s rise marked the second highest one-year increase in nine years. In 2004, 77 percent of Americans said moral values were getting worse, marking a 10 percentage rise from the previous year. More

Statement of IRS on the filing deadline for small charities
Now that the May 17 filing deadline has passed, it appears that many small tax-exempt organizations have not filed the required information return in time. These organizations are vital to communities across the United States, and the IRS understands their concerns about possibly losing their tax-exempt status. The IRS urges these organizations to go ahead and file — even though the May 17 deadline has passed.More

In tough times, churches make ends meet
The Record
As religious organizations deal with declining memberships, some clergy in North Jersey are also challenged with stretching fewer dollars in a tough economy as they try to pay the bills and keep community programs funded. Faced with a decline in contributions from congregants at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Pompton Plains, N.J., Monsignor Patrick Scott sent out a letter near Easter to his 1,500 member families. He appealed for $100 from each family, explaining that parish contributions had gone down because of the economic crisis. More

5 Golden Rules of church finance management
Almost every day the news tells of another corruption scandal. Corruption in America has become so commonplace that many Americans are now assuming even some of the most trusted institutions are corrupt. The church is not lost in this growing lack of trust in the American society. The church must take an active role to overcome this common feeling among nonbelievers and church members. In today’s culture, the church cannot afford to be reactive, but the church must be proactive in managing its finances above reproach. The following golden rules should exist in a fellowship to help counterbalance today’s culture of mistrust regarding the management of church finances.More

Flock pledges $115 million to revamp First Baptist of Dallas
Dallas Morning News
Packed tightly into the ornate, old sanctuary and spilling into overflow areas to watch on TV, members of First Baptist Church of Dallas heard the number Sunday that will guide them into the 21st century: $115,062,000. That's the amount the congregation committed to contribute over three years to rebuild and reshape the historic downtown church, a record for a Protestant church in America, senior pastor Robert Jeffress said, and a huge show of faith by the 3,200 members who attend on an average Sunday.More

7 mistakes in ministry
The Christian Post
There are no "do-overs" in life and ministry. But there are always opportunities to learn, correct, and improve. The author of this article shares seven of the key mistakes he made as a senior pastor. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive. Seven just seemed to be a good, biblical number.More

Preventing church volunteer burnout
Church Executive Magazine
Too often, church volunteers burn out while in the trenches of servanthood. In churches where there is always a ministry to tend, a committee to lead, a class to teach or an event to chair, it is hard to find people willing to step up to the plate. When you find them, it is even harder on the church to lose them, especially if they are doing a good job.More

Today's most devalued virtue
Leadership Journal
What's the most undervalued, under-discussed commodity on the leadership stock exchange today? What's the item that is currently on no one's list of desired qualities in a leader that once would have been consistently in the top four? It's not courage or willingness to risk. It's not humility or strength of will. It's prudence.More

ABCs of Alzheimer's ministry
Have you ever wanted to help a person who has Alzheimer's disease but didn't know what to do? The next time you are faced with this dilemma, let the following suggestions come to your rescue. Some of these acts can be performed by individuals, whereas other recommendations are undertaken appropriately as projects by Sunday School classes, youth groups or mission organizations. More

3 qualities of a great church app
Church Central
Your church: is there an App for that? You may not like the way it sounds, but it's well worth the ponder. More and more, people are choosing mobile phones with App capabilities over "basic" phones. Business are responding to this trend and developing Apps. Should the church? More to the point, should your church? When considering a church App keep in mind three qualities: interaction, connection, and relationship.More

Buying and placing mics
Your Church
Microphones are the first--and most--important link in the audio chain. By selecting the right mic for the situation, and positioning it well, a church can dramatically improve its worship service experience. Churches of any size can become better at buying and placing mics. Regardless of whether the budget allows for paid staff members to ensure the excellence of audio, or a team of volunteers is charged with the task, basic principles and practices can make a big difference.More

For campus ministry, summer is a 'blessing'
What happens to campus ministry when the students go on summer break? “There is time for vacation and Sabbath – praise God!” jokes the Rev. Bridgette Young, director for Campus Ministry and College Chaplaincy at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. After the rush of busy autumn, winter and spring semesters, summer can feel like a blessing. More

UK church gets heavenly help with energy bill
Islington Gazette
A church has made history this week by replacing an entire roof with solar tiles that it is hoped will generate 47 percent of the church needs. Saint Silas Pentonville Church, in Penton Street, Islington, U.K., held a ceremony earlier this week to celebrate the completion of the solar tiled roof. The panels were designed in a similar way to the original tiles to blend in with the Victorian building.More