The Church Network Weekly Update
Oct. 24, 2014

Lessons from the Houston church subpoena saga
Church Law & Tax
A months-long conflict between city leaders and religious leaders in Houston captured the national spotlight this week after the city attempted to obtain sermons, e-mails, and other records from five churches through subpoenas. Religious leaders nationwide and at least one prominent state official quickly cried foul, citing religious liberty concerns. On Oct. 17, the city issued new subpoenas, slightly narrowing the focus to any communications between the churches and their members during a petition drive challenging Houston's recently passed equal rights ordinance.More

Welcome to The Church Network
The Church Network
Look closely at the masthead of this email and you will see that this email comes to you from
The Church Network, powered by NACBA. In July during the launch event for the NACBA national conference being held in Orlando, NACBA announced a re-brand. NACBA is now doing business as The Church Network. Please visit us at

Looking to share your expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of The Church Network NewsBrief, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of The Church Network, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.More

Should a pastor be a brand?
By Mark MacDonald
Everyone wants to have followers and a clear influence in their world. Personal brand recognition is the easiest way to do that. As spiritual tutors and mentors, pastors need branding to reach their world for Christ. Why? Because there are people who are looking for what you're known for. If you communicate your brand well, God will use your personal brand to attract them and point them to Him. What are the three steps to establishing a great personal brand?More

6 steps to prevent fraud
Church Law & Tax
Keep the following six steps in mind to help prevent fraud from occurring at your church: Conduct independent, extensive reviews of bank account reconciliations. This is the best way to prevent fraudulent activity. Use a formal vendor application process to clear conflicts of interest and avoid disreputable businesses for ongoing business activity. For one-time deals (such as short-term missions trips), set up processes with good record-keeping and documentation requirements.More

Moneyball for religion? Why your church should rethink its numbers
Religion News
The book-turned-movie Moneyball chronicles the change in baseball that resulted from a change in how to measure how players performed. By measuring well, baseball discovered a new way of thinking about how the game should is played. Can there be a moneyball for religion? Congregations are often judged by their size, but what does this hide about the way we do religion? Is there, like in baseball, a hidden way of doing things that should be measured?More

15 all-too-common church facility problems
Church Law & Tax
Church leaders know that the church is not a building. That is not to say, though, that the building is unimportant. A building says something about the congregation that gathers there; so, we need to pay attention to our facilities. Listed here are 15 facility issues many consulting teams have seen recurrently in churches, including established churches and church plants.More

5 reasons pastors need a sabbatical
Church Central
The word "sabbatical" has different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. It has one meaning in the academic community, another meaning in its biblical usage, and still another in many secular settings. Sabbatical in simple terms is defined as: Time off for rest and/or study. The time can be a few days, a few weeks or — on rare occasions — a few months. The church gives the pastor paid leave for rest, rejuvenation and deeper study. More lay leaders need to insist their pastors take regular breaks — beyond vacations and here five reasons why.More

The parable of Mike McCurry: Why Washington's power elite are flocking to seminary school
National Journal
On the fourth floor of the Dorothy I. Height Building, a pink castle in Washington's Penn Quarter, Mike McCurry's corner office opens onto a common space filled with photos from his glory days as President Clinton's press secretary: McCurry surrounded by a press gaggle, McCurry commanding the Brady Room. But these days, when old colleagues and clients stop by to see him, they often have something else on their minds. They come over, do a little bit of business, and say, 'Well ... I'm really interested in theology. Tell me what that was like.'"More

Wealthy charitable giving on rise, US study shows
On Wall Street
Charitable giving rates among high-net worth Americans is on the upswing. The average amount given to charity by wealthy households rose 28 percent over the past two years. Giving jumped to $68,580 last year from $53,519 in 2011, according to the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy released Tuesday.More

Lessons from the Houston church subpoena saga
Church Law & Tax
A months-long conflict between city leaders and religious leaders in Houston captured the national spotlight this week after the city attempted to obtain sermons, e-mails, and other records from five churches through subpoenas. Religious leaders nationwide and at least one prominent state official quickly cried foul, citing religious liberty concerns.More

The shocking un-truth about church budgets
ABP News
Before we do even one more church budget, we need a whole new framework for thinking about church and ministry. With our role in society shifting, we are no longer bastions of benevolent food pantries that we graciously bestow on the less fortunate and then return to our churches to plan new ways to do ministry. What we are now is mission outposts. More

7 financial stewardship tips every church should consider
By Deborah Wipf
Finances. Everyone's favorite topic, right? Whether money is tight or you have plenty of financial breathing room, you need to keep a close watch on your church's finances. Members of your congregation are tithing to support the church's work and trusting you to spend those donations wisely. More

Worship includes 'all ages and all stages' at a San Mateo church
Faith & Leadership
Thanksgiving dinner, with everyone seated at the table. That's the image that popped into Steve Jones' head five years ago when a search committee at First Presbyterian Church in San Mateo, California, asked him what intergenerational worship should look like. The goal, Jones said, is to help everyone pray, sing, study the Bible, receive the sacraments and enjoy fellowship in a way that "all are drawn into a fulfilling experience of God's presence." To do that, he said, everyone has to show up willing "to give up a little of what they prefer in order to worship together."More

Unchurched Americans most resistant to evangelism outreach in 20 years, survey finds
The Christian Post
A new study from Christian Research company Barna Group reveals that unchurched Americans are the most resistant to outreach efforts by the church and friends than they've been in 20 years. Data collected from 42,855 interviews show that 47 percent of U.S. adults who do not attend church said they were open to being invited to church by a friend – down from 65 percent in 1993.More

Mark Driscoll's resignation prompts church leadership to return
Church Headlines
Two former Mars Hill leaders have alluded to returning to the church since Mark Driscoll has resigned from his position as senior pastor of the megachurch. Kevin Potts, a former leader of Mars Hill said he is planning to return to his role. Potts said, "Hopefully helping that church rebuild into something that glorifies Christ. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen when I show up to church tomorrow morning."More

How to manage a creative organization
Scientific American
What allows a creative enterprise — a film studio, a design firm, a start-up — to flourish? It's an old question, but one that has become increasingly relevant in the transition to an information economy. In the new book Collective Genius, a creative team came together to offer their insights on how to unleash "collective genius."More

10 ways to prevent burnout in ministry
Tony Morgan Live
Ministry is a 24/7 occupation and can be emotionally and physically taxing. The pace of life, the demands of counseling and public speaking, the strain of leadership, and spiritual warfare can drain your resources. Burnout is rarely discussed because we often feel that we must have it all together and put on a happy face. In order to combat burnout, we need to focus on who God has created us to be. Living well begins with owning the health of your own soul, body, and mind. Self-care, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, is not selfish; it is good stewardship. Here are 10 ways to prevent burnout in ministry and pursue living well in ministry.More

5 simple tips for creative leadership
Center for Church Communication
Being a creative leader is tough, but also rewarding beyond measure. It's rewarding because you never have to feel like you are working. You can feel like you are just being you. However, it can be tough because you are leading real people. It's the same in any kind of creative leadership. You can’t reduce creative leadership down to simple slogans because of the nature of creativity. So, here are some principles that can help you lead a creative team.More