The Church Network Weekly Update
Jul. 10, 2015

5 safeguards every church finance team should follow
By Deborah Ike
Every Sunday across the country, people put their hard-earned money into an offering plate as it's passed down the aisle. As your congregation entrusts you with their tithes and offerings, take these steps to ensure those finances are spent effectively and with integrity. It's easy to overlook the back-office processes since they don't immediately look like ministry. However, maintaining the trust of your congregation and the community is a foundation upon which you build ministry.More

5 common objections to change – and 5 suggestions to lead through them
Church Leaders
Ron Edmondson has learned in leading change that there are a few common objections to change. If you know a change is necessary, understanding why someone is objecting may help you respond accordingly. More

5 barriers to your church's growth
Ministry's Best Practices
Most churches seem to face growth barriers at five key points: when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500 and 1,000. Pastors all deal with the same inevitable barriers, so remember you’re not alone. However, by becoming proactive in learning to identify and break through these barriers, we can keep our momentum and continue growing for God’s glory. More

General Board of Pension and Health Benefits – 2 award announcements
General Board of Pension and Health Benefits
GBPHB’s Center for Health was honored by the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of large U.S. employers, with a “Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles” GOLD Award for its ongoing commitment and dedication to promoting a healthy work environment and encouraging workers and families to maintain healthy lifestyles. GBPHB’s Center for Health was among 64 U.S. employers that received the 2015 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award at the Leadership Summit on June 17 sponsored by the NBGH’s Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being. More

7 reasons why your church needs mobile giving
Center for Church Communication
Technology advances so quickly. But for some reason, the church still lags behind. For example, worshipers still drop checks or cash into a plate when giving their tithe. So the offering process in churches has remained basically unchanged for over 200 years. Should the church modernize by supporting new methods of giving via mobile devices? Many would agree. Here are a few staggering stats to illustrate why we should come into the modern age of online and mobile giving in the church. More

How to improve a stale worship service
Tony Morgan Live
Ministry is happening, people’s lives are being changed, volunteers are excited to be a part of what God is doing in the life of your church, and your worship services seem to have life. But, every so often things seem to slow down. Don’t worry. Every church experiences this at some point.More

'Challenge assignments' can help develop your staff
Faith & Leadership
Successful leaders benefit from a combination of on-the-job learning that stretches them, developmental relationships, and formal training, writes the managing director of grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.More

All-day Sunday shopping may be in the cards in Britain
Religion News
Christian traditionalists may not like it one bit, but all-day Sunday shopping may be in the cards in Britain. Chancellor George Osborne says that on Wednesday (July 8), he will propose in Parliament that communities be allowed to lift restrictions on supermarkets and department stores to let them trade all day on Sundays starting early 2016. More

Church-state separationist James Dunn dead at 83
The Washington Post
The Rev. James M. Dunn, a religious liberty advocate who worked the corridors of Washington power for two decades to defend the separation of church and state, died on Saturday (July 4). He was 83, and died of a heart attack at his Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home, said Cherilyn Crowe, spokeswoman for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.More

7th-day Adventists vote against female ordination
The Washington Post
Seventh-day Adventists voted Wednesday, July 8, that individual regions of the 18 million-member Protestant denomination cannot choose to ordain female ministers. Although the vote at a major conference was one of the most watched in years by the denomination, its specific purpose and impact were not immediately clear.More

Episcopal General Convention elects 1st black presiding bishop
World Religion News
Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina was elected by a wide margin at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 27, the Huffington Post reported. He will be the first African-American to hold the post, and he will take over for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. She was the first woman to lead any national Anglican church.More

Shalt or shalt not
The Economist
The delegates who gathered in Philadelphia 239 years ago to declare America independent were, as we all know, agreed on many lofty principles, including the inalienable rights which their Creator God had bestowed on them. But there were many religious questions on which they differed. A slight majority were Episcopalians, whose personal beliefs ranged from traditional piety to religious scepticism, but there were strong contingents of Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Quakers and one Roman Catholic.More

World's smallest Bible would fit on the tip of a pen
Noah squeezed pairs of every creature on Earth into his ark. A miracle helped the Maccabees stretch one day's worth of oil to last eight days. And now scientists have etched the 1.2 million letters of the Old Testament onto a disk no larger than the tip of a pen.More

Membership matters: 3 reasons for church membership
Christianity Today
Bring up church membership and watch people squirm. It isn’t that people in culture are against membership as an idea. Perhaps it is because church membership is not often defined well. It’s one of those things that when misunderstood seems a bit like eating your spinach — "at least try it before you decide you don’t like it." But in the New Testament, people in churches are recognized as being in some sort of community. It’s just that the reality is how community is expressed in Scripture has fallen on hard times over the last couple of thousand years.More

7 ways to raise up young leaders
Ron Edmondson
Many pastors claim to love investing in younger leaders. They recognize the huge need in churches and organizations. Our future depends upon doing so. The problem they claim is either they don’t know how or can’t seem to find them. Or they can’t seem to keep them. One way to raise them up is to give them opportunities. That sounds simple, but it’s not.More

4 ways to build character through challenges
By Michael S. Haro, Ph.D.
Challenges are nothing more than conditions over which we have little to no control. When they occur, it's not the condition that stops us. It's how we decide to manage it, or let it manage us. Actively asking ourselves, "What can be done?" directs behavior, allowing us to manage as best we can. When we do what we can do, managing becomes a personal adjustment. Following through with "what we can do" makes us successful and meaningful.More