The Church Network Weekly Update
Jun. 19, 2015

Charleston church attack the deadliest in decades
Christianity Today
In an attack reminiscent of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, a lone gunman killed nine people Wednesday, June 17 night at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic congregation in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect in the shooting, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, reportedly attended the evening Bible study for an hour before opening fire, according to CNN.More

Nashville gathering will be largest TCN national conference since economy crashed
The Church Network
The 59th Annual Conference of The Church Network will have the largest conference attendance since 2008, just before the economy crashed. Over 600 church administrative leaders have already registered to attend. The conference will be held July 13-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The trade show has over 100 companies registered. If your company provides products and services to churches, don’t miss the opportunity to exhibit to the primary purchasing decision-makers from some of the largest churches in the country. It’s not too late and plenty of booth spaces are still available. Click here for more information.More

3 critical church website errors
By Mark MacDonald
Having a website can waste your time if you're not doing the right things. Your congregation and community may find the information they're looking for, all while you're missing out on the key power of having a website. Church websites should help the church leadership, too, while delivering the right content to your audience. Here are three critical errors most churches are not considering and therefore not benefiting from.More

Small church signs win big at Supreme Court
Chrstianity Today
In another unanimous victory for religious freedom, the US Supreme Court has ruled that a small Arizona church may post signs without interference from its local government. Good News Community Church has about 30 members and meets in a senior center in a Phoenix suburb. It ran into trouble when Gilbert, which claims to be America's largest town, began enforcing policies in 2005 that restricted the size, location, number, and duration of signs advertising events.More

Best practices for bringing on new staff
Worship Facilities
You’re busy. You need help and now you have been approved to hire someone. You have the perfect person in mind. STOP! Here are a few things you need to do before bringing on a staff member as well as what to do after you hire them.More

Is your church ready if your senior pastor should depart?
Leadership Network
Too many church leaders have not developed a succession plan for the inevitable day when they — or the senior pastor they serve — pass the leadership baton to the next person. This is both for emergency successions (sudden death, moral failure, etc.) and intentional successions (moving to a new calling, retirement, etc.). Not only are there implications for the ongoing spiritual momentum of the church, but there are financial realities as well.More

4 things most leaders don't understand about SEO
Christian Web Trends
Search engine optimization is not a “quick fix,” and columnist Trond Lyngbo outlines ways in which this mindset can hurt organizations. Here, Lyngbo shares four facts about SEO most leaders don’t understand.More

10 traits of pastors who have healthy, long-term tenures
Church Central
Presently, the median tenure of the average pastor at a church is around four years. Simply stated, over one-half of pastors leave a church before their fourth anniversary. And research shows that the time of greatest fruit in a pastor’s ministry does not begin until somewhere around years five to seven. Is it possible, then, for pastors to stay longer in a healthy situation? In many cases, the answer is a resounding "yes!"More

Communicating with images as spiritual practice
Faith & Leadership
Young people are in touch with their friends and family using pictures, emojis and animated images called GIFs. For those of us who grew up calling people on the phone, writing letters or showing up on friends’ doorsteps, this kind of image-mediated communication can seem strange and awkward, even less authentic. But to the young, this is being in touch, being connected, being real. How, then, can we start thinking about newer forms of communication as powerful tools for helping young people grow in their Christian formation and in their relationship with God?More

Defining a culture of philanthropy
By Craig Shelley
When I hear the term "culture of philanthropy," I immediately have two thoughts: I know it when I see it; and if this is the holy grail of fundraising culture we're all looking for, we're going to need a better definition than that. As I've worked to build this culture either within or in partnership to various organizations, I've come to believe there are seven common elements of a philanthropic culture. By focusing efforts on these items, we can build this culture where it currently doesn't exist.More

10 summer reads for church communicators
Center for Church Communication
Summer is a great for taking extra time for yourself, learning new skills and improving old ones (like church communication). And what better way to do that than through a book? Here are the Center for Church Communication's top 10 summer reads that can help you improve your church communication.More

Americans gave a record $358 billion to charity in 2014
Americans gave a record $358 billion to charity in 2014, showing that philanthropy has fully recovered from the recession and surpassed its all-time peak. About three quarters (or 72 percent) of the giving came from individuals, while 5 percent came from corporations, 15 percent from foundations and 8 percent from bequests. Megagifts of more than $200 million — mainly from tech entrepreneurs — were a significant contributor, the report said.More

Arson attack guts part of Israel's Church of Loaves and Fishes
A recent arson attack gutted part of a church at the traditional site of what Christianity reveres as Jesus's miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Israeli fire brigade said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel's Shin Bet internal security service to launch a top-priority investigation, an official statement said, quoting him as describing the incident as "an attack on all of us."More

Church claims pastor stole $629,000
Courthouse News Service
A pastor stole $629,000 from a church construction project and then moved on - and it wasn't the first time, his former parishioners claim in court. Rescue Mission Church of God in Christ of Vallejo sued the church's parent corporations and the Rev. Pastor Yaahn G. Hunter in Solano County, California Court.More

Bringing men back to church
The Deseret News
There's something — or, more precisely, someone — missing from many churches on Sunday mornings: Men. The latest data from the Pew Research Center says that among those claiming Catholic, evangelical Protestant, historically black Protestant and mainline Protestant affiliations, the majority are women by as much as 59 percent. More

Historic mobile church rediscovered
Kings Tree News
An afternoon trip down a country road in April led to the unexpected rediscovery of “the church on wheels” — a genuine piece of history that many people thought was lost forever. It was the long-lost mobile church, a converted 18-wheeler that was once used to evangelize in rural Williamsburg County, South Carolina and other parts of the state from 1949 until 1967.More

Maywood Church sells spiritual home, donates $140 thousand to homeless
From the burial of an 87-year-old ministry in Maywood arose occasion for joy in the form of a check for more than $140,000. It came by mail to Kate Duggan, executive director of Family Promise of Bergen County, and caught her by surprise. The check for $141,700.50 — one-tenth the annual budget of the organization with a six-person staff serving working homeless families — was made possible by the closing of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Maywood, whose membership had dwindled from a peak of 130 to fewer than two dozen, and the sale of its property.More

The rise of evangelical 'nones'
The country's largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, recently announced that their membership fell for the eighth straight year in 2014. But American Christianity, particularly evangelicalism, is neither dead nor dying. There are numerous evangelical denominations, though, and many are thriving. The Assemblies of God, the second-largest evangelical denomination in the United States, reported their 25th year of growth this week.More

At Arlington church, there's no shortage of chickens (or eggs)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Nestled behind First Christian Church, the new coop is home to two Rhode Island Red hens. Six more chickens are on the way, and the church eventually plans to raise a dozen — all of which will result in more eggs at a time when they are in high demand. “The chickens are a hit,” said Willie Redmon, who is director of Harvesting Hope Community Garden, an outreach of the church. “People can’t get enough. Kids have a blast playing with them, and all of the city dwellers are learning a little about farm life.”More

Seeking to kindle flames of renewal
Baptist News Global
Passion has fueled courageous and creative expressions of ministry. It propelled many of our forebears to cross oceans to proclaim the gospel; it prompted sacrificial giving to underwrite this witness; and it prepared others to follow their example. Narrations of these faithful ancestors continue to awaken present generations to service. Sustaining passion is the challenge. Humans are vulnerable to discouragement, and when best efforts (albeit at times misguided) are turned aside, the blaze of earlier conviction may be extinguished. We marvel at stories of resilience and resolve and wonder how they persevered when obstacles seemed insurmountable. What fuels such burning passion and continues to spark transformation? More

3 keys to successful employee engagement
Susan Hunt Stevens, founder of employee engagement platform WeSpire, sees three growing trends. "One is that we're now seeing a number of companies making employee engagement one of the most important strategic priorities the companies have, putting employees and the importance of employee engagement front and center," she says. "The second thing we're seeing is the increasing acknowledgment of the importance of transforming your company around purpose."More

4 keys to transparent leadership
By Betty Boyd
Leadership is not a one-way street. Leaders should not hide out in their offices and expect an organization to run itself. Leadership is about constant difficulties, growing pains, helping others and being results-driven. Through all of this, it's important that a leader maintains transparency. Being transparent does not mean sticking your head in the sand. It means you must lead openly, so others will follow and want to be led by you. Here are four tips for better transparency.More