NACBA Weekly Update
Nov. 15, 2013

The conversation churches do not want to have
Associated Baptist Press
With finances tight, congregations are being forced to take stock of the number of professional staff members they require and can afford, and the focus of those staff members. It is a difficult conversation to broach in most congregations, and so we often delay and deny the looming issues. Unfortunately, the conversation then erupts as a crisis at budget or transition time. Proactively leaning into the conversation is a much healthier alternative. As you consider your situation, here are some guiding thoughts.More

6 things managers should not talk about at work
By D. Albert Brannen
Managers have a special role for employers because they are legal agents. What they say, do and know can be attributed to their employer. Depending on the issue, employers can be strictly liable for the conduct of managers. Several laws come into play here, but there are certain things that managers should absolutely not talk about with employees or anyone else at work. This article lists six of these topics, but by no means is this an exhaustive list.More

Child sex abuse is still the top reason your church could go to court
Church Law & Tax
Each year Richard Hammar reviews 12,000 rulings by state appellate and federal courts pertaining to religious organizations. This research is laborious, but it provides invaluable data on many of the reasons that churches end up in court. This information can serve church leaders well, since it reveals common legal liabilities and risk management concerns that can be addressed — possibly even prevented altogether — by proper planning from pastors, church staff, church boards and volunteers. He recently completed his analysis based on cases from 2012.More

Changes congregations are facing today: Finances
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
When Lovett H. Weems, Jr. wrote a book entitled "Focus," regarding denominational trends and challenges, he anticipated an audience of active denominational leaders. To his surprise, some of the most vigorous engagement with the book is coming from congregational lay leadership across denominations who are apprehensive about financial challenges. "You are describing our congregation," is the way they begin many messages. What the book describes as denominational trends, they are seeing mirrored in their congregations.More

Churches: The new risky bet
Christianity Today
Hundreds of congregations have filed for bankruptcy or defaulted on loans. University of Illinois law professor Pamela Foohey, who tracks church bankruptcies, says more than 500 congregations filed Chapter 11 between 2006 and 2011 — and the pace hasn't slowed since. About 90 congregations filed for bankruptcy in 2012, even as the overall rate of bankruptcy filings declined 13.4 percent. More

Disruptive innovations create new economic models
Faith & Leadership
According to Clayton Christensen's theory of "disruptive innovation," the economic model of the affected industry is disrupted. The iPod and iTunes disrupted the business model for record stores. Southwest Airlines disrupted the legacy carriers' hub-and-spoke systems. In congregations, education and health care, many Christian leaders know that the economic models that have supported our ministries for the last generation are losing power. More

10 things people want to know before they give to your church
Church Leaders
It's common sense: Church leaders can't expect people to grow in generosity if it's not talked about. While some leaders try to avoid the topic at all cost, the truth is, most churchgoers aren't as resistant to talking about money as we think. In fact, many already give to a variety of organizations and causes. Talking about money in church can be tough for the person on the platform and the person in the crowd. But it's not impossible to do — and do well.More

3 simple reasons for simple
Mark MacDonald
I love recipes that contain three or four simple ingredients. Last night we had a taco soup that was easy to make, yet it tasted amazing. Just a few cans of this, spice, some ground beef, and voila. It's like a chef created it. Often the amazing results make us think it's much more than it actually was. The same is true for the best communication strategies. Simple is almost always better. I think we know that; but why don't we do it more?More

Who cares about 'likes' anyway?
By Jeffrey Dobkin
The answer is no one. Do you have a big "like" button wasting space on your website? Do you send visitors unimportant requests to "like" you, instead of valuable requests such asking for referrals? I guess you see where this is heading. What's the value of a like? Not much, really. When likes started, they seemed to be such a great idea: Google and other data collection sites could measure your popularity. The more likes, the more popular. So what happened?More

Making the right choices for commercial church kitchens
Church Executive
A church considering a commercial kitchen finds out quickly it's a big undertaking. They must navigate a multitude of equipment and construction requirements, plus liabilities, staffing and inspection considerations. For starters, it helps to understand the basic differences between a commercial kitchen and a warming (residential-style) setup.More

Are you trading efficiency for productivity?
By Michael J. Berens
A number of workplace research studies have shown that employees perform better, have higher levels of satisfaction, take fewer sick days and are more productive when they have a greater sense of control over their work and their work environment.More

How to turn your pastor's vision into reality without wearing out your staff
By Deborah Wipf
You're in a staff meeting and your senior pastor mentions that he has an idea. Immediately, you start getting concerned. You've been down this road before. He comes up with a great idea that you fully support; however, you know there's a ton of work required to make it happen.More

New normal realities: Religious financing, compensation/benefits and fundraising — Part 2
Church Executive
At the NACBA annual conference, Church Executive hosted a live roundtable on a timely topic: "new normal" challenges and solutions. Here, in the final installment, they switch gears to "solution mode," drilling down on strategies church leaders can employ to overcome new obstacles.More

Lessons in leadership: It's not about you — it's about them
Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they'll learn the answer to one question: As leaders, how can they get others to follow them? Heifetz says that whole approach is wrong.More

Why accountability is weak in many organizations
Church Central
What makes organizations weak? Is it a failure of good strategic planning? Are there cultural issues that preclude good performance? Are many leaders and workers failing to execute? While these issues are important, other information suggests that there may be a major issue that has often been overlooked.More

How managing your time is a waste of time
Everyone seems to be obsessed with self-improvement, personal productivity and time management these days. This might seem counterintuitive, but the pursuit of those crazes can actually be self-defeating. In other words, they may actually do you more harm than good.More