NACBA Weekly Update
Aug. 27, 2010

Church asks members to turn off gadgets, tune into loved ones
Houston Chronicle
Chris Shook is as technology-dependent as most. If she accidentally leaves the house without her cell phone, she'll turn around to get it rather than spend a few hours feeling naked without it. She and her husband, pastor Kerry Shook, founded one of Houston's most tech-savvy congregations, Woodlands Church, where members can tweet questions during services, interact on their own social networking site and even attend worship services at its "digital campus" online. Last week, though, they asked the church's 17,000-plus attendees to do the unthinkable: turn off their laptops, iPods and cell phones, and take a break from technology.More

'Community' revival finds town responsive
Baptist Press
A spur-of-the-moment decision proved to be the catalyst needed to ignite a revival in a town of 1,000 people, and in the process has helped to heal an 87-year-old church. As Robby Poole, pastor of Longview Baptist Church in Deville, La., was fixing the marquee to announce the church's approaching four-day revival, he sensed God telling him to use the word "community" instead of the church's name in the announcement. He did, and what resulted was an overwhelming response from the community -- a spiritual movement that, at times, left Poole speechless, emotionally drained, on a spiritual high, and praising God for His power and love.More

A long time coming
The Christian Century
Thirty-seven years ago, the author of this article begged God for a sure sign that he was called to the ministry, but that sign had never materialized. He loved the ministry, and never regretted his choice of vocation, but he worked with a recurring doubt in his head: was he truly intended and called for this work? Then, during the last weeks before his retirement, he was granted a sign--the purest, most profound sign he’s ever experienced.More

Simple tips for understanding labor laws
Ministries don't function like factories, but they must follow many of the same laws. With some exceptions, churches are held to the same standard as businesses for paying overtime, providing family medical leave, avoiding discrimination, and making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Here are a few simple tips that can help you better understand labor laws.More

Faithful presence
Leadership Journal
The author of this article doesn’t think there is any topic he has struggled with more than leadership: What's the nature, the design, the goal of leadership? What does biblical leadership look like? How do I measure my progress as a leader? He has read dozens of books on the topic, and each one leaves him more confused because they usually present conflicting models. Some say leadership is all about servanthood. Others present a hierarchical model with a clear chain of command. Still others, a leader-less model. All have their strengths. But he’s come to see that they share a common weakness—these models mostly focus on building up the church for its own sake. They lack a vision of the church as a "sent people."More

Florida megachurch ends age-segregated worship
The Christian Post
A Florida megachurch has axed its traditional and contemporary Sunday worship services, refusing to continue down the wide path of segregated worship. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale now offers only one service at 10:15 a.m. with, essentially, blended worship – that means no more separation based on age, likes and comfort. The aim by church leaders, including Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, was to unite the congregation and demonstrate the power of the Gospel.More

Make your group grow
Church Central
Four things made it into the "this really matters" list. What does it take to make it into the "this really matters" list? I set the criteria at 100 percent difference between the bottom group and the top. The teachers who practice these practices were twice as likely (or more) to be doubling as the ones who were not practicing these things.More

A pastor at heart, the 'how-to' of pastoral care
There are many topics and issues which are taught in seminary after you accepted the call to be a pastor. These topics range from homiletics (the art of the preparation and delivery of a sermon), to counseling, and even pastoral ethics. But, many pastors struggle most with knowing how to care for the people in their congregation. The following is just a small sample of how to start caring for the people in your church.More

Texas professor's new book discusses religious debates
The Associated Press
Public fights over the role morality and churches should play in American life. Vocal evangelicals tripped by personal scandals. Heated debates over science versus religion, definitions of obscenity, a presidential candidate's religious faith. Welcome to -- the Roaring Twenties? As current as many of those topics seem today, they were equally vibrant in 1920s America, said Baylor University professor of history Barry Hankins in his new book, "Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties and Today's Culture Wars" published recently by Palgrave McMillan.More

The path of humility
Today's Children's Ministry
Fall is here even though the weather remains hot and muggy. School will start soon. The routines are shifting. At the author’s church, children's ministry volunteers get some time off in the summer but come back in the fall. What will make this a successful ministry year? Splashy décor in the classrooms? Better worship music? The perfect curriculum? Philippians 2 opens with a call to unity, and the author would argue that the unity created by humbly serving one another will strengthen your ministry much more than any bells and whistles you may add.More

Federal judge refuses to block Georgia ban on guns in church
Associated Baptist Press
A federal judge declined Aug. 23 to block enforcement of Georgia's new law banning the carrying of firearms in a house of worship. Instead District Judge Ashley Royal will make his decision on whether the law is constitutional after fully considering arguments by attorneys in legal documents. The lawsuit, filed July 7 by plaintiffs including GeorgiaCarry.Org, a non-profit gun-rights organization, and Baptist Tabernacle, an independent Baptist congregation in Thomaston, Ga., is thought to be the first of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 28 that handgun possession is a constitutional right under the Second Amendment. More

Closed church is taxed
Boston Globe
The town of Whitman, Mass., has sent a local Baptist church its first property tax bill in its 188-year history, surprising and dismaying members of the nonprofit corporation overseeing the recently shuttered house of worship. Whitman officials say they’re simply taking a page from the playbook of several Boston-area cities and towns, including Framingham, Natick, and Scituate, that are already taxing closed Catholic churches in their communities. Whitman Town Administrator Frank Lynam said officials review all local properties, both on and off the tax rolls, each spring. This year, they determined that the First Baptist Church of Whitman was no longer in use as a place of worship and had become a taxable asset.More

Ohio church goes green
Ohio News Network
Westminster Presbyterian Church leaders said that energy conservation has become part of the spiritual life of the Dayton, Ohio, church. With more than 50,000 square feet of space, it can be a challenge to save on energy bills. But they've found a way to do it.More

Church reaches out around the world
The Florida Times-Union
In today's wired world, information crosses miles in seconds. A person in Nassau County, Fla., can communicate with a person living in China's Gobi Desert instantly. Still, this information technology is not able to repair a family's leaky roof, teach adults how to read or provide supplies for school-aged children. D. Lynn Hyatt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Callahan, Fla., hopes his congregation will choose to help others in need, even if it means leaving Callahan and going to the ends of the earth.More

NACBA TeleWeb: Tax and Legal Update
Join us Thursday, Sept. 2 at 1:30 CDT for the next NACBA TeleWeb session, Tax and Legal Update with Frank Sommerville. Register now!More