NACBA Weekly Update
Nov. 6, 2009

Congregations connect on social networks

NACBA TeleWeb: Essential Church Finance
Join Vonna Laue Nov. 12 at 1:30 CST for an informative discussion on church finance. This discussion will center around how we "measure up." We'll discuss financial performance measurements as compared to ourselves and how we can compare to other churches. We will look at: Inward comparisons – trends within our church Balance sheet ratios – such as debt comparisons Expense ratios – should salaries be this much of the budget? Registration fees are $59 for national members; $69 for non-members. More

The state of faith
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Incorporating pop-culture music in church services is just one sign that worship for many has changed. For many residents in Chattanooga, Tenn., religious services still mean brick-and-mortar buildings with traditional music. But for increasing numbers, that's no longer the model. The current patchwork of services instead may feature contemporary music, meetings in movie theaters, congregations with related music clubs, gatherings of Eastern and Middle Eastern faiths, megachurches and a greater number of female pastors. More

Stop traffic with a live nativity scene
Baptist Press
Picture this: a simple, well-lit stable stands visibly on your church lawn. A lighted sign says "Turn here for free live nativity." Music is playing and costumed nativity characters create a captivating Christmas-card-like setting. People stop to observe, and church members welcome them with steaming cups of cocoa. The atmosphere is worshipful yet joyfully celebrative. A live nativity can be an effective, unintimidating witness to your community and may attract hundreds -- even thousands -- to your church property. Add extra oomph to your church's nativity with a few of these fresh ideas. More

Parting shots: When church members leave
The Christian Century
It's always wonderful when a new family joins our church. It's easy for the congregation to feel that it's fulfilling its calling, and easy for me to think that I'm being a good pastor. Of course, people also leave churches. For the author of this article, there have been a few people whose departure was a relief to him, but for the most part it is very sad when someone leaves our church, particularly since we are a small congregation, and every person's absence is noted and deeply felt. More

Study: Leaders struggle most with developing tools
The Christian Post
Leaders struggle the most in areas related to developing tools needed to succeed, found a new Barna study that identifies the weaknesses of leaders. The three most common weaknesses are difficulties in developing tangible resources – such as funds, personnel, facilities – needed to carry out plans; developing the skills of other leaders to facilitate more effective organizational performance; and developing the systems required to efficiently complete tasks. More

Direct donations
Ministry Today Magazine
Paying your tithes may never be the same again. Although churches have long accepted credit and debit cards as part of the tithing process, one pastor is pioneering a new way of supporting the storehouse beyond the traditional offering plate. When the Georgia pastor created a ‘tithing ATM’ for his church, giving increased--as did the ethical questions. More

Internet believers: Pastors open online churches
The Associated Press via USA Today
The World Wide Web has become the hottest place to build a church. A growing number of congregations are creating Internet offshoots that go far beyond streaming weekly services. The sites are fully interactive, with a dedicated Internet pastor, live chat in an online "lobby," Bible study, one-on-one prayer through IM and communion. (Viewers use their own bread and wine or water from home.) On one site, viewers can click on a tab during worship to accept Christ as their savior. Flamingo Road Church, based in Cooper City, Fla., twice conducted long-distance baptisms through the Internet. More

Church trades sanctuary for their own community streets
If you were driving through Pascagoula, Miss., or Moss Point, Miss., Sunday morning, you probably saw a lot of people hard at work. More than 600 members of Church of the Rock traded their Sunday clothes for yellow t-shirts and put down their hymnals in exchange for work equipment. The people they were helping told WLOX the morning of service made a big impact on some Jackson County lives. More

Building for what future?
Leadership Journal
Until recently, churches responded to growing attendance by building larger facilities. But the faltering economy makes raising large sums for building projects harder to accomplish. And combined with the aversion of younger churchgoers to the bigger-is-better ministry philosophy, these tight-money days are demanding imaginative alternatives. For some churches, the question has become, "Should we build at all?" More

Using audience response in engaging youth
Church Executive Magazine
Saddleback Church, like most congregations, uses audio/visual equipment to enhance services as well as capture teachings and send video to other campuses. Increasingly technology is finding its way from the pulpit to youth ministry too. With youth demographics experiencing nearly every facet of life in Web 2.0 -- from the classroom to the playground -- why not integrate similar technology into youth worship experiences? More

Five new ways to look at your youth group's budget
Youth Worker Journal
Youth pastors have always struggled with budgeting for their youth group. This article provides five new ways to raise money for your youth group, including leveraging existing resources in your church you may not have thought of. More

Gone to the dogs: LA church starts pet service
The Associated Press
When the Rev. Tom Eggebeen took over as interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church three years ago, he looked around and knew it needed a jump start. Most of his worshippers, though devoted, were in their 60s, attendance had bottomed out and the once-vibrant church was fading as a community touchstone in its bustling neighborhood. So Eggebeen came up with a hair-raising idea: He would turn God's house into a doghouse by offering a 30-minute service complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and an offering of dog treats. More

Church's money giveaway
Chicago Tribune
At Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip, Ill., the congregation can get more than just prayer at the Sunday worship services. If a lucky -- or "blessed and highly favored" -- churchgoer is in the right seat, they can also receive a cash prize. The cash prize is part of Rev. Dan Willis’ recent focus on helping his congregation pay bills and begin a debt-free life. More