The Church Network Weekly Update
Nov. 7, 2014

7 apps for mobile giving
Church Law & Tax
According to the 2013 State of the Plate Survey. The survey reports: "In many churches, tithers only make up 10 to 25 percent of giving households in the church but they often contribute 50 to 80 percent of the funding." So how do you increase donations from the other 75 to 90 percent? Digital giving solutions are a key component for increasing giving, says Nick Nicholaou, president of Ministry Business Services (MBS), Inc., a consulting firm specializing in many IT areas. He adds, “If you want younger people today to be able to tithe you have to recognize that most of them don’t even have checking accounts anymore.”More

You can't afford to update your church's website? Really?
By Mark MacDonald
We spend lots of time and money creating print materials for people who come to our services while the one thing used primarily for external communications — the website — is left lacking. More than 85 percent of your first-time guests go to your website to "discover you" first. They're looking for certain information and often can't find it easily. So, sadly, many choose another solution for their spiritual needs. The long-term results? Your church starts to decline in attendance. "We can’t afford to update our website," said the pastor. But your bulletin looks good. More

Churches can help youth fight cyberbullies
The United Methodist Church
Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, reports that only 5 percent of young people her organization has surveyed would tell their parents if they're being bullied online, but one-third of them would confide in another trusted adult. "A youth pastor could be the most likely person they will trust. So we have to prepare them to be the trusted adult," Aftab said. "They need to understand cyberbullying and sexting. They need to understand how the technology works and how it's abused. You have a precious few minutes to do it right, and if you do it wrong you’ll never hear from them again."More

Christmas communication lessons from 2013
Center for Church Communication
Like most churches this time of year, we are already preparing for the coming Christmas season. Since some of the best learning comes from looking back, I thought I'd share a few Christmas communication lessons from 2013. More

Protestant churches show economic improvement
Baptist Press
The nation's slow economic recovery from a deep recession is showing up in the offering plates of Protestant churches in the U.S., according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research. Although 56 percent of churches still report negative impact from the economy, 13 percent report a positive impact -— a jump of 4 percentage points from May 2012. When compared to the previous three years, churches are reporting less negative and more positive economic impact.More

Churches responding to uptick in cremation
Steve Morton read a few years ago that changing religious views, convenience, and the recession were leading more people to choose cremation. As the senior pastor of Hopewell United Methodist Church in Downingtown, he knew he had to respond. So the church opened a memorial garden and two columbaria in 2013 for the cremated remains of congregants and community members. And the church has a long-term plan to build up to four more columbaria, which contain niches to hold urns.More

Mars Hill Church to disband, tells local branches to go independent
The Seattle Times
Two weeks after its flamboyant pastor resigned under fire, Mars Hill Church announced on Oct. 31 that it was dissolving and urged its local branches to try and become independent churches. Church officials said they plan to sell Mars Hill's buildings and other assets and use the proceeds to pay its staff members before letting them go, according to a post on its website. What money remains, church leaders said, would be used to help existing churches reorganize as independent congregations.More

2 pastors, 90-year-old man face charges for feeding the homeless
Christian Headlines
Two Florida pastors and a 90-year-old advocate for the homeless have been issued citations from police for distributing food to people in poverty without providing a portable toilet. Pastor Dwayne Black, Pastor Mark Sims and Arnold Abbott were serving food to the Ft. Lauderdale homeless community when police arrived on the scene. The men now face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.More

The local church: Discrete group or network?
Faith & Leadership
Networked thinking exists in pockets of the church today. Suzii Paynter, the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, coined the term "denomi-network" to illustrate her understanding of the CBF as an organization that functions like a traditional denomination in some ways and has the flexibility and dynamism of a network in other ways.More

How to get your message into your community
by Lois Lofton
You may have heard of direct mail or direct marketing. In a nutshell, these are terms used for promotional mail, usually in the form of a postcard or flyer, sent to a list of names and addresses using standard postage and a permit. Now there’s a way to do direct mail without the need for a mailing list or permit and postage is less half of standard rates.More

The key to change is middle management
Harvard Business Review
At the inaugural meeting of a change transformation effort under way at a hospital in San Jose, California, nurse Michelle delaCalle faced a room full of people who were discouraged by the organization’s earlier attempts at change. She stood and shared a story of her own about how making people wait for hours in the emergency department seemed like a violation of her caregiving role. Change efforts often crumble into excruciatingly dull meetings and PowerPoint presentations. This hospital's effort won’t because of people like delaCalle,  A mid-level manager whose ability to lead and inspire is helping her team produce results.More

6 reasons that leaders fail
Church Executive
When Scott Norwood stepped out onto the Super Bowl XXV field at the end of the game on January 27, 1991, he was only thinking about kicking the Super Bowl winning field goal for the Buffalo Bills as time expired. If you're an NFL fan at all, you know what happened. Leaders, here’s the good news: Scott's story is not ours. We can look at why leaders fail and help protect ourselves from doing the same. We can recognize our weaknesses and make course adjustments. And, in almost all of our leadership roles, we will get second chances.More

14 ways to lead when you're not on top
Outreach Magazine
A hundred senior or lead pastors direct the Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches, but thousands of staff are involved in making them what and who they are. Most of us aren't in the top positions. Whether in large churches like the Outreach 100, or in a small church, nonprofit or start up, the majority of us as leaders reading this right now are not the man or woman at the top.More