The Church Network Weekly Update
Sep. 12, 2014

Church not responsible to supervise outside party using premises
Church Law & Tax
A New York court ruled that a church was not liable for injuries sustained by a minor on its premises during a concert since the church was not in control of the premises at the time. A church allowed one of its parishioners to use its fellowship hall for a concert in return for a $100 "donation."More

Upcoming TeleWeb: Supervision
Are you stepping into unfamiliar territory where you must supervise others, or have you been supervising others for some time without a clear understanding of what you are doing? Supervision, especially in a faith-based environment, requires a specific and unique mindset.

This webinar will take place on Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m. CDT / 2:30 p.m. EDT and will explore setting clear performance expectations as the foundation of effective supervision.More

Seriously, there's no secret to good church websites
By Mark MacDonald
The Internet is just a click away, and we rely on it constantly. Now we can even have the power of the Internet on our watches. So why do we think it's a secret about why websites are good? What websites do you go to regularly? What makes them a good website? There's really no secret. You know the answer. We go to websites for solutions or information. Want a good church website? Consider what you already know from websites you frequent often and provide.More

Court signals hope for housing allowance
Baptist Press
Supporters of the ministerial housing allowance should be hopeful about a federal appeals court's anticipated ruling on the 60-year-old provision, a religious liberty lawyer said after oral arguments in the case. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago appeared on Sept. 9 to lean toward either dismissing the case because the allowance's challengers lack legal standing or upholding the allowance as constitutional, a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said.More

RIP, average attendance
Faith & Leadership
Average worship attendance was once such an important number. With it, one could predict the size of the church staff, the informal patterns of decision-making, most of the stresses on the pastor's time, the leadership required for small groups, and more. Today that number means much less because the definition of an active member has shifted.More

Beware of tax and investment scams
Church Law & Tax
In this audio interview with podcast host Tony Gill, Richard Hammar discusses why church leaders should be aware that tax and investment scams are sometimes directed at churches. For further insights into the issues covered in this interview, see "Watch Out for Tax Scams," "Ponzis, Pyramids, and Other Investment Scams," and Preventing High-Tech Fraud.More

How to avoid an email #FAIL
We've all done it, or had it done to us: An email used as an inconspicuous nuclear bomb meant to annihilate in the most "charming" and brief way possible. Or the dreaded "cc" ploy designed to ensure public humiliation. Or the over-enthusiastic, reply-all that creates another 100 emails on reply-all policy and email etiquette. The list could go on.More

Big churches, big bucks: Southern senior pastors take top salaries
Christian Headlines
Large churches in the South tend to pay their senior pastors the highest salaries, a new survey finds. That's one of the conclusions on churches and finances released on Sept. 9 by Leadership Network, a Dallas-based church think tank, and the Vanderbloemen Search Group, a Houston-based executive search firm for churches and ministries.

That same conclusion appears in, the national church staff compensation survey of The Church Network. allows you to input your church's data and then create custom reports, which compare your church's data to those of the churches meeting your chosen criteria, such as region or state or metro area, denomination, operating budget, and many more. Visit to subscribe to this always-live service.More

Gamechurch is seizing opportunities to reach the gaming community
WORLD magazine
For one weekend, Japanese anime characters came to life as 60,000 participants at the annual Anime Expo primped and posed as characters they had painstakingly recreated. Inside the center, anime devotees crowded around a booth run by the Gamechurch with a blown-up image of Jesus holding an Xbox controller. Gamechurch is a ministry reaching gamers right where they are by attending "nerd culture" conventions and running a video game news website.More

Mars Hill announces closure of 3 churches
Christian Today
U.S. megachurch Mars Hill has announced the closure of three of its campuses due to financial problems, a day before further offensive rants by lead pastor Mark Driscoll were discovered. Mars Hill Church Phoenix will hold its last service at the end of September, while the Downtown Seattle and U-District campuses in Washington will be consolidated with Mars Hill Church Ballard in October.More

How to avoid an email #FAIL
We've all done it, or had it done to us: An email used as an inconspicuous nuclear bomb meant to annihilate in the most "charming" and brief way possible. Or the dreaded "cc" ploy designed to ensure public humiliation. Or the over-enthusiastic, reply-all that creates another 100 emails on reply-all policy and email etiquette. The list could go on.More

7 habits of highly effective church meetings
Church Central
Over the past decade Thom Rainer has been on a quest to find highly effective church staff meetings. He has been fortunate to observe several, which he seeks to emulate in his own staff meetings. Though all of the good meetings have several diverse characteristics, he has found seven that are the hallmarks of highly effective meetings.More

Designating a housing allowance
Church Law & Tax
Many churches are lax in their housing allowance designations. Internal Revenue Regulation 1.107(b) requires that in order to be housing allowance, the amount must be designated as such pursuant to an official action taken in advance of the payment of the allowance by the employing church or other qualifying organization.More

US churches feel beat of change: More diversity, more drums
Religion News Service
U.S. religious congregations are marching to their own drums now more than ever. The National Congregations Study‘s latest look at the country's churches, synagogues and mosques — the third wave of studies that began in 1998 — finds more congregations show racial and ethnic diversity in the pews, and encourage hand-waving, amen-shouting, and dancing-in-the-aisles during worship, among other things.More

Rick Warren on how God taught him to 'see, sift, and seize' opportunities
Christian Post
Pastor Rick Warren said that his nearly 40 years in ministry have helped him learn how to benefit from opportunities by first asking a few questions to determine whether to take advantage of them or not. Warren notes that successful individuals see opportunities when others do not, a skill people can learn. He admits that he was poor at seizing opportunities and missed out on many early on in his life. But now he has learned to say "no" to good opportunities so that he can say "yes" to great ones.More

Proactive management: A formula for success
By Harry J. Friedman
"Sales are down from last year." "The whole industry is down." "It's tough right now." "We're just trying to minimize our losses." In both good times and in bad, you've probably heard these comments if you haven't said them yourself. But there are always companies that are making their goals and many that are even exceeding them. So how is it possible for some companies to prosper while so many others are struggling to keep their doors open? The difference lies in upper management's style: reactive or proactive.More

Great leadership isn't about you
Harvard Business Review
The year 1777 was not a particularly good time for America's newly formed revolutionary army. Under General George Washington’s command, some 11,000 soldiers made their way to Valley Forge. Following the latest defeat in a string of battles that left Philadelphia in the hands of British forces, these tired, demoralized, and poorly equipped early American heroes knew they now faced another devastating winter.More

The role of church culture in congregational growth and decline
Faith and Leadership
Two churches sit just 5 miles apart. They belong to the same denomination. Their neighborhoods have experienced nearly identical demographic changes. Yet one church grew slightly, while the other lost more than 10 percent of its members. While church leaders need to pay attention to all the theories that offer an explanation, none of them accounts for the vital role that congregational culture plays in growth and decline.More