NACBA Weekly Update
Nov. 26, 2010

Report: Megachurches getting bigger despite bad economy
The Christian Post
Megachurches across the country are holding their own during uncertain economic times, a new survey shows. Most megachurches continue to see attendance and giving rise, and the bigger the church is, the more likely it is to experience increases, Leadership Network reported in its 2010 Large Church Economic Outlook Report. Survey results indicate that the economic downturn is having little impact on America's larger churches. One hundred percent of churches with 8,000 or more attendees experienced growth in attendance and giving from 2009 to 2010. And all surveyed churches with attendance of 10,000 to 14,999 plan to reach this year's budget projections.More

The Leavers: Young doubters exit the church
Christianity Today
Some striking mile markers appear on the road through young adulthood: leaving for college, getting the first job and apartment, starting a career, getting married—and, for many people today, walking away from the Christian faith. Among young adults in the U.S., sociologists are seeing a major shift taking place away from Christianity. A faithful response requires that we examine the exodus and ask ourselves some honest questions about why.More

Dynamic churches leverage efficient processes
Christian Computing Magazine
'Sunday comes every seven days' is an axiom that churches know all too well. Week in and week out, staff members coordinate, connect and prepare for the week's activities and impending weekend services. It is because of this regularity that church leaders value consistency, while the most dynamic churches also value and leverage efficient processes to minimize effort and maximize results. Whether it's eliminating redundant administrative work, streamlining e-mail communications with specific groups or reducing the number of printed materials per week, churches are feeling the need to be excellent stewards. The current economy is only reinforcing the need to re-evaluate processes that are not efficient.More

Give a priceless gift this holiday season
Baptist Press
We are living in an unprecedented time of economic fear. Security is something we all want and need, especially right now. But, we also know that gold cannot make anyone truly secure. Real security comes from living in God's Economy. As you consider the gifts you will share with friends and loved ones through the upcoming holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the author of this article recommends you consider giving gifts that will alleviate insecurity and ultimately be more precious than gold. Maybe we can call this the "Biblical Gift Guide for the Holiday Season."More

The 4 F's of church marketing
Article Base
Almost every week, as the author of this article talks with church leaders about their upcoming evangelism efforts he'll hear this phrase: "Mailings don't work." And it's true, mailings don't work…unless they're done properly. Firing off a mailing without a good plan is a waste of church funds, but by using some proven principles that have been honed by direct marketing professionals over decades, you can effectively reach interests through the mail and start to see new faces coming through your doors. More

Interfaith Thanksgiving services bridge faiths
Across the United States — and the United Methodist connection — interfaith Thanksgiving services are gaining popularity. In Manchester, Mich., First United Methodist Church has been involved in ecumenical Thanksgiving worship for almost four decades, but the concept is new to the folks in Vashon, Wash. “This is the first year for what we hope will become a tradition,” said the Rev. Darryn Hewson, Vashon United Methodist Church. “This may be the first interfaith worship service on this scale ever to happen here.”More

Young and active
Bowling Green Daily News
Before making a beeline down the hallway leading to the sanctuary of Crossland Community Church in Bowling Green, Ky., Emily Barnett sat surrounded by members of the church’s college ministry. “Having faith in Jesus is so real. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t be here,” said the 21-year-old Western Kentucky University senior. “And it makes me want to be involved, share my Christian life.” Most American “millennials” - people born between 1980 and 1991 - don’t pray regularly. Few read their Bibles or other religious texts, and many don’t attend church on a weekly basis, according to a LifeWay Research study. But the millennials in area churches live differently.More

Churches 'meet the needs of the next generation' with modern services
Wyckoff Patch
Two traditional churches now also offer more modern services, with a "come-as-you-are" atmosphere where dress codes don't apply and coffee cups are allowed. Genesis, at the Wyckoff Reformed Church, and Restore, at Cedar Hill Christian Reformed Church, both feature non-traditional services with modern music and energetic preaching. The services are held in their respective fellowship halls at the same times traditional services are held in the sanctuaries, which allows for shared child care and Sunday school during the service and joint coffee hour afterward.More

Why I go to church
The Christian Century
Not only is church attendance going down, but those who do go to church do so less frequently. As Lovett Weems points out in a recent Christian Century article, the definition of a regular attendee has changed from someone who is there almost every Sunday to one who attends perhaps only two Sundays out of a month. And yet 38 percent of Americans report being an active member of a church or other religious organization. Many keep coming back to church for some reason.More

West Michigan religious groups use holiday festivities to attract visitors
The Grand Rapids Press
Some Christian and Jewish faith communities are gearing up to unveil holiday productions on a grand scale that have a deeper intent than merely evoking the spirit of the season. They’re meant to be meet-and-greets that provide churches and synagogues an opportunity to introduce themselves to a curious public who require little coaxing to marshal them to religious-themed musicals. That is the reason why some places willingly pour hours of manpower and finances into Christmas and Hanukkah productions that draw the faithful as well as newcomers open to sampling a particular religion.More

Fresh eyes on the building
Building for Ministry
Does your church's building need upgrading, updating, or perhaps a full-blown face lift? Use this survey with your staff leaders, lay leaders, congregation—and even visitors and neighbors—to find out before you begin any discussions or planning. For the most accurate results, print out this survey and distribute it to a number of people in your church with various backgrounds and histories—and to some recent visitors and church neighbors, if possible. Ask for honest and frank feedback. You may not like hearing what they say, but denying their input does not change its validity.More

'Revolutionary church planting:' Read the Bible, do what it says
Church Executive Magazine
Hill Country Bible Church (HCBC) of Austin, Texas, is about making the name of Jesus famous, whatever it takes. In a culture of cleverly written strategies and tried and true models, they’ll try whatever works. In the words of John Herrington, the director of Church Planting in the Hill Country Association, “We started with great intentions of reaching the city; our strategy was to use a model, but a model reaches a certain type of people. So the question is asked, ‘How do we create churches that make sense to the people to whom we’re being sent?’”More

Church-based outreach group caters to prisoners' human needs
The Washington Post
Jesus left his followers with precious few commands: Love thy neighbor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the prisoner among them. So why do so many churches have such a hard time with that last one? Prison Fellowship, the nation's best known church-based outreach to inmates, is teaming with Hillary Swank and her new film "Conviction," to help show congregations prisoners' needs and lobby to reduce wrongful convictions.More

Conference helps youth workers prepare to help the 'future'
The Tennessean
Cassandra Ernst dreams of living in a big city someday so she can help bring hope to kids from broken families through an urban ministries program. The 21-year-old Indiana resident, a senior majoring in youth ministry and sociology at Kentucky’s Asbury University, came to Music City this weekend to attend the 2010 National Youth Workers Convention. Ernst is one of about 4,000 people from across the country who came to Nashville this weekend for the convention. This marks its 40th year, said Louise Ward, vice president of marketing for Youth Specialties, a Minnesota-based company that organizes the conventions.More