NACBA Weekly Update
July 9, 2010

Churches, nonprofits feel the effects of Gulf oil spill
The Associated Press
God only knows what will happen to churches and other nonprofit organizations that say they are struggling for survival because of the Gulf oil spill crisis. Months after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and its well started gushing oil, the British petroleum giant says it has yet to decide how to handle claims filed by religious groups and other charitable organizations that are endangered because people can no longer afford to contribute.More

Religion's green movement sees spill drawing converts
The Associated Press via USA Today
Where would Jesus drill? Religious leaders who consider environmental protection a godly mission are making the Gulf of Mexico oil spill a rallying cry, hoping it inspires people of faith to support cleaner energy while changing their personal lives to consume less and contemplate more. "This is one of those rare moments when you can really focus people's attention on what's happening to God's creation," said Walt Grazer, head of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.More

Churches becoming more energy efficient
The Associated Press
As churches consider new efficiency upgrades, the EPA hopes they tap into the same ancient religious principle — good stewardship of the earth. "It's a spiritual issue," said the Rev. John Buehrens, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist church. "Stewardship of the planet and a realization of the fragility of the creation and our responsibility of preserving its beauty is absolutely central to our religious values."More

Hankering to serve in Gulf Coast, missionaries at a loss
CNN
The phone calls keep coming at the United Methodist Committee on Relief offices in Washington. National volunteers who turned out by the tens of thousands to help clean up and rebuild destroyed homes after Hurricane Katrina five years ago are desperate to lend a hand again in the face of the Gulf Coast oil spill. But the problem with this oil disaster, explained the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, who directs UMCOR’s disaster response for the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, is that his organization doesn't know what to tell the would-be missionaries.More

Coming to your church Monday morning
Baptist Press
Guests attend your church for worship services, but additional dozens -- even hundreds -- walk in on weekdays each year. They come in for directions, weddings, benevolence or after-game fellowships. They attend scouts, daycare, support groups. There's the exterminator, repairman, roofer, delivery person ... and God brings them inside your building. Will they meet Jesus there? Intentionally impact each person who walks in your church doors.More

Churches, ministries and employment law
Associated Baptist Press
One characteristic of the robust religious freedom Americans enjoy is that the government doesn’t control the church nor the church the government. But that doesn’t mean churches are lawless zones. While houses of worship and other nonprofit religious organizations often are granted some exceptions and exemptions to legal standards that apply to other corporate entities, they still must follow legal standards in many areas. Employment laws seem to be among the most confusing for churches -- especially those that deal with workplace discrimination. More

The math (and morality) of giving
San Francisco Chronicle
How much to do you give to charity, and is there a method to your kindness? How do you decide whether and how much to give, and to whom? Does your philanthropy, for that matter, really spring from kindness -- or generosity or altruism -- or might your giving be driven by something else: a sense of obligation, self-satisfaction or guilt? These are the kinds of questions that arise when the author of this article thinks about his own charitable giving, which has slowed considerably in the past 18 months. More

Reaching out to bring people in
Christian Computing Magazine
While it may be true that 97 percent of churches do specific outreach, the rate of effectiveness in most churches is not nearly as high. What causes outreach to fail? How did churches with strong outreach and retention rates get started? And even more importantly, what's the secret to sustaining that success over time? This article, excerpted from the ACS Technologies ministry guide Going Outside The Church Walls, provides a great resource on how to combine the church Web site and social media sites, and even how to utilize facility scheduling software to make the most of every outreach event.More

Craigslist for churches?
Church Executive Magazine
Inventor Ken Hakuta once said, "Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle." When giving is down in churches, we often trim VBS decorations, all-church banquet subsidies, and equipment upgrades first from the budget. Then we are tempted to think that we can't be effective or creative due to lack of funds. But maybe we can.More

Bible Belt megachurches on a building boom
Crosswalk
Megachurches in the heart of the Bible Belt are thriving enough to support a major building boom despite a sluggish economy. Churches are finding that with housing construction in a downturn, they can save money when they invite bids on their building projects. "It's a tough time to build a new building, but on the flip side it's a good time to go out and get bids," Chris Byrd said. "We expect to get better prices." More

Strategic design
Building for Ministry
Grace Church is only halfway through its latest building project, but church leaders are already feeling confident that the planning and thinking they have invested is going to reap dividends like never before. This time around, years before the first bulldozer arrived at the work site, the church identified its primary ministry focus—serving the next generation—and aligned its design with that purpose. Grace is a church that embraces the idea of creating worship and ministry space, rather than just more square footage. To accomplish this feat, a church must balance economics, aesthetics, and utility.More

The power of our spoken words
LifeWay
There are many amazing statements that are made in the Bible. One is found in Proverbs 18:21. Here is what it says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Most of us could give examples of the negative ways words can be used to damage the lives of others. It isn't difficult to see how criticism, false accusations, gossip, slander and conspiracy theories can literally destroy a person's reputation and bring great damage to one's life. As teachers of the Word, we have the responsibility to communicate in a way that brings life to others. Here are five ways we can use our spoken words to strengthen our communication skills and bring life to our hearers. More

Simple tips for safe and legal fundraising
ChurchSafety.com
Before you launch your next fundraising effort, be sure to consider some aspects that may be putting your church and your members at risk. Use these simple tips as a checklist for your next fundraiser.More

Arts indispensable to evangelism and discipleship, says professor
The Christian Post
The use of arts will greatly impact the work of evangelism and discipleship, said an Arlington, Texas, professor. Stan Moore noted that a large majority of students in many of his seminary classes came to faith through music. This is because "the arts speak to the whole person – intellectually, emotionally, physically and of course spiritually reaching into the very depths of our minds and bodies and spirits," he said.More

Kids work hard, but it's "Know Sweat" as they help other communities
TriCities.com
Hundreds of middle schoolers from across the country came to the Johnson City, Tenn., area this week. They worked hard in the heat Tuesday, but it was "know sweat" for them. Yes, that's, k-n-o-w. It's a youth ministry summer service program of Christ in Youth. Rising sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are working with local homeowners to do repairs on their homes. The kids are learning new skills as they reach out and serve others.More