NACBA Weekly Update
May 28, 2010

Declining donations force churches to adjust strategies
The Dallas Morning News
Nearly 40 percent of U.S. churches experienced declines in church giving and offerings in 2009, the second consecutive year of significant funding drops, according to the 2010 State of the Plate surveys conducted by the Maximum Generosity ministry and Christianity Today International. "What normally happens is a downturn hits churches about six months after it hits everyone else, and it takes about six months after the recovery starts for churches to see that," said Simeon May, chief executive officer for the Richardson-based National Association of Church Business Administration. "We aren't seeing much improvement yet."More

FCC deadline looms for 700MHz wireless mic users
Broadcast Engineering
The proverbial minute hand on the 700MHz wireless mic clock is approaching midnight, giving users of the devices a little more than two weeks to vacate the spectrum and retune or replace existing equipment. FCC rules call for users of wireless mic systems and other devices using 698MHz to 806MHz to halt using the band no later than June 12. Before the DTV transition, which was completed nearly a year ago, wireless mics operated on vacant TV channels in the 700MHz band. However, with the completion of the transition, the users of wireless mics operating in the 700MHz band are being required to stop their use of the band to make way for public safety communications by police and firefighters as well as commercial providers of wireless services.More

Church should be place of acceptance for people with special needs
Associated Baptist Press
People with disabilities don't want churches that just "welcome" them, but rather congregations that value them and include them in living a "full life of faith," according to a long-time advocate for special-needs ministry. "Valued is being seen as someone who brings gifts and talents, being seen as a contributor," said Ginny Thornburgh, director of an interfaith initiative for the American Association of People with Disabilities.More

Total US churches no longer in decline, researchers say
The Christian Post
We often hear about churches closing their doors in the U.S. But some may be surprised to hear that the total number of churches is not in decline anymore. An important shift happened in recent years, according to researchers Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird. After decades of net decline, more U.S. churches are being started each year than are being closed. The credit largely goes to the recent increase in enthusiasm for church planting. Stetzer, who leads LifeWay Research, says church planting has become the "it" thing right now and the new evangelism.More

Churches race to support members impacted by oil spill
Religion News Service
As oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, churches and religious organizations along the Louisiana coast are providing food, money and support to parishioners whose livelihoods hang in the balance. More than 7 million gallons of oil have contaminated the Gulf since an oil rig explosion on April 20, pulling the region’s fishing industry to a screeching halt. It’s been particularly hard for churches like St. Patrick Catholic Church in Port Sulphur, La., where many parishioners are fishermen. More

Pastors urged to put the ha in hallelujah
The Tennessean via USA Today
For everything, there is a season, says the book of Ecclesiastes. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to love and a time to hate. And definitely a time to laugh. That's the message the Rev. Susan Sparks has for her fellow preachers. That passage also says that there's a time to weep — but that's where too many preachers stop, said Sparks, a former trial lawyer turned American Baptist preacher and stand-up comic. "I think we've erred too much on the weeping side," she said.More

'American Idol's' Christian connection
The Los Angeles Times
Ties to churches -- especially of the evangelical or Pentecostal variety -- are a common denominator for many contestants on America's No. 1 show. With many contestants having honed their vocal skills at black churches and suburban megachurches, "American Idol" has been embraced by Christian communities across the nation. Congregations have launched enthusiastic viewing parties and vote drives for favorites. Perhaps more important, the contestants' church training has deeply influenced the songs and musical styles viewers hear on "Idol" and helped launch the careers of faith-based singers, as well as secular pop artists. The show has projected to an audience of tens of millions an image of heartland youth driven by faith and strong family values. That's an important source of appeal for a nation that according to a 2007 Pew Research Center survey identifies itself as 78 percent Christian.More

Pastor lost tongue to cancer but finds adversity helps him connect with his flock
St. Louis Dispatch
The Rev. Scott Schmieding sat in an examination room at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where a surgeon had just examined a malignant tumor in the center of his tongue. The tumor was spreading rapidly, the doctor told him. Surgeons would have to remove most, if not all, of the preacher's tongue, and he might never be able to swallow on his own. His speech would likely be unintelligible. In that moment, Schmieding was not afraid of death or the physical ordeal that he faced. He knew heaven awaited him if he were to die. But he wondered about his calling if he survived. How could he spread the word of God if he couldn't speak?More

Churches reach out to immigrant communities
Ministry Today Magazine
Across the country, churches are reaching out to the increasing immigrant communities in their midst as ways to share the gospel and grow. Whether it is immigrants from Latin America, Muslims or Hindus from the Middle East or Asia, or refugees from troubled nations, many congregations are seeing a huge need and working to meet it.More

Church branding: A personal experience
Ministry Marketing Coach
If you are a part of a church staff or leadership team, it is important to understand that the way you perceive the church could not only be different from the way a visitor perceives it, but it could also be drastically different than the way a member perceives it. Your church or ministry has developed a brand whether intentionally or by accident. Your church or ministry means different things to different people. You have to be truly intentional about branding your church or ministry strategically because, in the end, what your church or ministry says or believes about itself matters much less than what others say or believe about it.More

9 tips to successfully manage and maintain your church facility
Christian Computing Magazine
How do you track and process work requests and facility management tasks at your facility? Do you use a legal pad? Excel spreadsheet? Post-it Notes? Cross your fingers, then hope and pray? This article explores the options for tracking work orders, service history, equipment inventory, capital improvements, vendor logs and much more. It investigates the needs of most churches to track service requests and work orders as well as being proactive on tracking capital improvements to assist in your annual budgeting process.More

What's in your small group?
Church Central
Perhaps you have seen or heard the credit card commercial that ends with the question, "What’s in your wallet?" The inference is that the credit card in question is superior to others, so you should have one in your wallet. As the author of this article meets with leaders of churches, he is asking a question for a different reason: "What’s in your small groups or Sunday school classes?" Simply stated, he wants to know if they know what’s being taught in these groups.More

Church secretary accused of embezzling $1.5 million
Associated Baptist Press
A Southern Baptist church in East Tennessee is considering cutting back on ministries amid reports that a trusted employee of 47 years embezzled more than $1.5 million in church funds. Police arrested Barbara Whitt, 68, longtime financial secretary at First Baptist Church in Morristown, Tenn., May 10 after a church audit found nearly $500,000 in funds were missing. She is out of jail on $175,000 bond.More

Southern Baptists buck trend, post most baptisms in 4 years
The Tennessean via USA Today
Additional baptisms helped the Southern Baptist Convention -- the nation's largest Protestant denomination --post its highest number of baptisms in four years. Baptisms jumped by 7,539. Specifically, the baptisms jumped from 342,198 to 349,737 last year, reversing years of decline. Baptist leaders say the numbers show the convention's renewed focus on reaching nonbelievers is working. "We've tried to focus on getting outside the four walls of the church," said the Rev. Steve Freeman, pastor of Grace Baptist about 30 miles north of Nashville. "We're taking the Gospel to where the people are."More

NACBA TeleWeb: Developing an Objective Performance Review Process
So many times, we feel that either there isn't enough support for them in leadership or we just don’t know how to get started. Join us for an interactive session that will address three key areas of the performance review process:

This TeleWeb seminar will take place Thursday, June 3 at 1:30 Central. Member cost is $59; non-members $69. Register today! More