NACBA Weekly Update
Nov. 11, 2011

Arab Christians, minorities, reshaping US enclaves
The Associated Press
Jordanian immigrants take Communion at an Arabic-language Mass in Albuquerque. Lebanese-Americans help raise nearly $2 million for major improvements to a West Virginia church. Iraqi refugees who practice an ancient religion that views John the Baptist as their teacher hold baptisms in a Massachusetts pond popular for rowing regattas. As war, the economy and persecution by Muslim extremists push Arab Christians and religious minorities out of the Middle East, the refugees and immigrants are quietly settling in small pockets across the U.S. They are reviving old, dormant churches, bringing together families torn apart by war and praying collectively in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. Religious experts say their growing presence in the U.S. is all about survival as Christians and religious minorities continue to get pushed out of the Holy Land.More

Ohio ministries help vets get back on their feet
The Christian Post
In Ohio, churches and ministries are reaching out to help veterans. This week, small groups from Fairfield Christian Church of Lancaster, Ohio, met to prepare care packages for a group of eight veterans coming to live in a home recently purchased by Lutheran Social Services. The congregation at Fairfield just finished a six-week sermon series called “Project Restoration” promoting small groups and encouraging involvement in the community. Over 25 groups within the church are involved in the project. The groups each choose a local ministry, or create their own, in which they go out into the community and meet specific needs.More

UPDATE: FCC rescinds church broadcast exemptions
Baptist Press
The Federal Communications Commission has reversed a policy that allowed church broadcasts to receive exemptions from a closed captioning requirement, but a representative of the National Religious Broadcasters said the development is not necessarily bad news. "We don't believe that the action of the FCC shows hostility against Christian broadcasters. We think it's a recognition by the Federal Communications Commission that the process that was being used internally to review these applications for waiver was simply not the right process," Craig Parshall, senior vice president and general counsel for NRB, told Baptist Press.More

Special needs ministry ensures church never turns anyone away
Church Executive Magazine
Whether it is ignorance, apathy or a lack of funds, most churches are ill equipped to handle special needs. When Hope Community Church started, they hit the mark in all three categories. They were ignorant of the prevalence of special needs and the ways that they could serve these families. Its staff was limited and dealing with special needs was not on our radar.More

Technology and personal ministry
Ministry Today Magazine
Ministry and community are a huge part of what the local church is and should be about. But in the age of the multicampus megachurch, how can the pastors, church staff and members realistically maintain authentic community and effectively minister to thousands of members? If you’re in a church of 200 to 500 people and John Doe (one of 15 volunteers on Sunday morning) doesn’t show up for his shift of handing out bulletins, chances are someone knows why he isn’t there. This is because in smaller congregations, personal connections happen organically due to family ties, long-standing friendships, and social interaction inside and outside the church. Now, if the same situation arises in a church of 15,000 members, it becomes much more difficult to maintain that personal level of ministry.More

Giving to God strengthens our faith
Purpose Driven
God uses finances to test your faith. Have you ever had to decide between paying a bill and tithing? You only have so much money — where is it going to go? It's a test. God is saying, “Do you really believe that I can take care of your bills? Or do you think you have to take care of them on your own?”More

Charlotte, N.C., church construction looks up
Charlotte Observer
A struggling construction sector that continues to bleed Charlotte, N.C.'s economic recovery hasn't slowed a mini building boom among area houses of worship. Despite financial uncertainty from the job front to Wall Street, congregations have set aside millions of dollars for major expansions at Calvary Church and Christ Lutheran, both in south Charlotte, N.C. Church leaders say their projects had been planned for years. Work started in the recession, they say, to take advantage of low construction prices and to meet pressing needs of their congregations or the community.More

Studying the Word: 2011 survey of Bibles and Bible reference
The biggest news in books and Bibles this year has been the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version. Many today fail to recognize the pervasive, worldwide impact this one translation has had as it became the book of the English empire just as that empire spread to the ends of the earth, taking with it the KJV. The publication of this translation is one of the keys being led by it. Quite appropriately several books have been published this year on the King James Version.More

How to disrupt your church traditions
Disrupting a cultural norm of how things are received, shared, purchased, viewed, given, told, or organized is not really brilliant. The results are brilliant but not the disruption. Disruption requires common sense ingredients that in themselves are what makes the disruption brilliant. Think about the kinds of questions that lead to disruption. In religion, spiritual community, the church, or whatever you want to call it, we’re facing a dire need for disruption. Look at the operating system of the average method of delivering, sharing, telling, and participating in the life-giving message of Christ. The North American church is on the Blockbuster video end of a potential Netflix disruption. We’re facing a Borders Book’s end if someone doesn’t step up to create a new Amazon for this day and age.More

How do church leaders help people deal with challenges?
Church Central
How do church leaders help people deal with challenges? Horticulturalists found that trees planted in more-receptive peat and then staked to prevent wind stress tend to grow their roots within the peat rather than extend them into the ground. In fact, trees do better when planted in regular soil without stakes to help them stand up. They are forced to deal with moderate wind stress and actually develop stronger root systems and trunks. Part of your job at church is to frame the challenges at hand for those you lead. As changes occur in the church and the world, you can present them as opportunities for growth and for new possibility. You can stimulate people to put out new shoots of growth, new roots into the new soil where you find yourself planted. More

How do professionals perceive youth ministers?
Diplomatic and tactful: How often do you think those two words are used to describe youth leaders? There was a period in the author's ministry when he would have never asked that question because he honestly didn't care. After all, a youth leader's job is to reach kids for Jesus Christ, and we must do any and everything possible to accomplish that purpose, right? Yes, but any and everything without diplomacy and tact only causes us to get burned-out, worn out, or thrown out.More

Black seminaries embrace hip-hop
Religion News Service via Christian Century
It's hard enough to get young people out of bed and into the pews on a Sunday morning, but two leading black seminaries think they have found a way to grab the next generation: hip-hop. "If we're going to take young people seriously, we have no choice," said Alton B. Pollard III, dean of the Howard University School of Divinity. “When we talk about what's happening in the lives of young people, that's a subterranean culture that some of us just don't know how to get with."More

Contemporary Christian music more than 'ear candy,' worship leaders say
The Christian Post
Several worship leaders recently spoke against the idea that contemporary Christian music is only “ear candy” and lacks theological depth. Aaron Keyes, worship pastor for Grace Fellowship Church of Georgia, author and worship leader Kelly Minter, and songwriter Stuart Townend weighed in on the ongoing debate of worship and theology during a live webcast earlier this week. The webcast was hosted by Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, who frequently writes and speaks on church issues.More

Utah churches, prison ministries reach behind bars
The Associated Press via
The first time Debra Brown prayed she knelt down on a cement floor in a jail cell, clumsily folded her arms and copied the words of her roommate who daily prayed for her children, grandchildren and God's forgiveness. The first of what would be many prayers in the Wasatch County Jail was done a bit grudgingly, Brown admits, because her roommate Cheryl Adams was so pleasantly insistent. For many prisoners like Brown, the "right track" begins with seeds of faith, discovered or rediscovered while they are incarcerated, thanks to faith-based classes, religious volunteers and even the example of cellmates.More