The Church Network Weekly Update
Nov. 14, 2014

7th Circuit tosses out challenge to clergy housing tax exemption
Baptist Joint Committee
In 2013, Wisconsin federal district court judge Barbara Crabb ruled unconstitutional the tax exemption for ministers receiving a housing allowance as a part of their compensation. The decision sparked a firestorm of protest among many in the faith community. Today, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Judge Crabb's ruling, finding the plaintiffs in the case do not have standing to bring suit because they had not suffered any injury as a result of the challenged rule.More

Don't go it alone ... join The Church Network today
The Church Network
Watch this important 60-second video from The Church Network. More

Study: 1 in 4 churches spend over their budget
Christin Headlines
A new study claims that almost one in four U.S. churches spend over their budget. The survey, conducted by Lifeway Research found that 22 percent of churches exceeded their budget for the 2014 fiscal year. In addition, the study found that 46 percent of churches met their budgets. A mere 29 percent of surveyed churches kept their spending below budget The Christian Post reports.More

3 steps to keep criminals from targeting your church
Managing Your Church
When it comes to crime prevention, law enforcement professionals often reference this adage: If a property looks like a target for criminals, it is. Churches might well take that observation to heart. Carl Chinn's 2013 report on violence against churches and faith-based organizations shows 70 percent of the reported 132 "deadly force incidents" took place outside of the building. More

Innovation or evolution in your organization?
By William D. Pawlucy
How important is innovation versus evolution? Do nonprofit organizations today innovate or evolve? Successful organizations recognize that both innovation and evolution play a similar role and define it as "deliberate evolution." As we look at our own organizations, can we deliberately evolve them to take something already done or in existence and make it better rather than falling into the trap of always creating something new in the name of innovation? More

Take advantage of transitions
Faith & Leadership
The more public the transition, the more opportunity it presents. Any departure of a colleague, supporter or member is a transition that presents an opportunity to review the system, consider the appropriate role and make changes. Any increase or decrease in funding is a chance to review priorities. Any conflict is an opportunity to consider the methods used to achieve the goals. But most of us resist change, especially if the change is forced by others, seen or unseen. More

How they do it: 5 churches explain their budget years
Church Law & Tax
Most churches use the traditional calendar year — Jan.1 to Dec. 31 — for their budget years. But not all churches do. Some use a fiscal year — often July 1 to June 30—and those that do say it helps ease the administrative burdens that come in December and January. So is one way better than the other? Several church leaders gave the pros and cons of their church's specific budget year. More

Historic New York City church saved by $24 million windfall
Christian Today
Millions of dollars received from the sale of part of a historic church on New York's Park Avenue will be used to secure its future for "many years", according to its pastor. Park Avenue Christian Church, part of the Disciples of Christ denomination, is negotiating a deal with Extell Development Co which would also see it get an annex as well an additional payment of potentially more than $2 million to endow a school which the church used to run but which was forced out by the impending development.More

Florida pastor breaks world record for longest sermon at 53 hours, 18 minutes
Christian Headlines
A Florida pastor has broken the Guinness world record for the Longest Speech Marathon with a sermon that clocked in at 53 hours and 18 minutes. Zach Zehnder, 31, is pastor of the Cross Mount Dora in Florida. The previous record was 48 hours and 31 minutes. "The idea was to break the Guinness world record for the longest speech ever and I'm a pastor obviously, and so I chose to speak on the Bible and kind of cover the entirety of the story from Genesis to Revelation," said Zehnder to The Christian Post.More

One-fifth of Americans share religious experience online
Los Angeles Times
One in five Americans share their religious thoughts and experiences on social networks, and nearly half said they saw someone else post "something about their religious faith" on the Internet, according to a Pew Research Center study on religion and electronic media. The findings suggest engagement online or through religious television, radio and music does not replace conventional means of religious participation. Rather, online engagement complements religious traditions, such as going to church.More

George W. Bush: I read the Bible every day during my presidency
The Christian Post
Former president George W. Bush addressed an estimated 200 civic and business leaders in Dallas at an event to raise awareness about the Museum of the Bible project in Washington, D.C. During the discussion, Bush emphasized how much the Bible was an integral part of his daily life as president. "I read the Bible every day during my presidency," said Bush, who shared the stage with Hobby Lobby President and Museum of the Bible Chairman Steve Green.More

New study finds unexpected source of giving: Young women
The Chronical of Philanthropy
Conventional wisdom says young Americans are not as generous as older generations, particularly if they're not religious. That may hold true for most donors, says a new report, but younger women appear to be bucking the trend. Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.More

Reflections on the American megachurch and the obligations of leadership
Outreach Magazine
Pastors and leaders that are thoughtfully engaged in ministry — reflective on the ups and downs of their experience — gain wisdom invaluable not only in their own context, which is priceless for the rest of us as we learn from them. Seven high-profile leaders reflect on the ups and downs of their experience in the American megachurch.More

To be a great leader, you absolutely must grow through reading
Church Leaders
Somebody has said, "When your output exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall." There must be a balance. Most Christians get too much input and not enough output. They attend Bible study after Bible study. They're always taking in, but they’re never doing any ministry. The problem we pastors and church leaders face is the opposite. You're always giving out, and if you don't get input, you'll dry up.More

Healthy leader, healthy church
Christianity Church
In the midst of serving your local church or ministry, it's easy to focus on the ministry instead of focusing on Jesus' ministry. When we shift this focus, we can become spiritually and emotionally unhealthy. In veteran pastor Dr. Pete Scazzero's book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, he wrote about several symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. Here's a look at a few of his descriptions that you may recognize in your own life and ministry.More