NACBA Weekly Update
Nov. 27, 2009

California launches probe into scam targeting churches
Sacramento Bee

For churches, beefed-up security is a mixed blessing
TIME Magazine
Jesus may have taught his disciples to turn the other cheek, but these days some churches are hiring armed security teams--just in case that whole forgiveness thing doesn't work out. A flurry of violent crimes in churches has shaken the image of houses of worship as safe havens. More

Give 20-somethings a voice in church
The Christian Post
Listening to young adults to help direct the church and its evangelistic efforts is a must for Pastor Dan Kimball. But he finds that many churches are not giving 20-somethings any voice. "So many churches only have older leaders in the core areas of leadership. They may have a younger youth pastor or perhaps music leader. But for the bigger decisions in a church, are younger voices getting to give input?" he posed. More

Church unplugged
Ministry Today Magazine
The author is often asked by church leaders, “How far is too far?” From big screens and big hair to modern worship and candlelight services, there are so many ways to do, have and present “church.” From the mini to the mega, from old-fashioned steeples to churches that lease space in nightclubs, the experiences are virtually endless. Seeker-sensitive. Evangelistic. Quiet and sincere. Loud and glorious. You name it and there’s a good chance it’s been tried. Yet the questions remain: How much should I do? More

How do you lead from the middle?
Church Central
Are you caught in the middle? Sometimes those who have both aging parents and young children are called the "sandwich" generation. Most churches have "sandwich" leaders, those who lead others but are not at the top, whether staff or volunteer leaders. What are the unique challenges faced by leaders in the middle, and what are the best ways to handle them? Often leaders in the middle wind up with more responsibility than authority, the classic organizational double bind. More

Three essentials for strategic ministry or church branding
Ministry Marketing Coach
Ministries and churches have the opportunity to reach their communities with the love and truth of Christ and to amplify their efforts through strategic brand development.Yet at a leadership level, there seems to be a lot of confusion about branding. What is it? Why does it matter? How do we do it? Is it different than marketing? Everyday, in consulting with ministry leaders throughout the country, these and many other questions surface. More

Four tips for dealing with an economic downturn
When the nation is in a difficult time economically, it impacts all sectors--business, government and even not-for-profit organizations. The church is no exception--across the nation, church leaders are reporting a downturn in contributions, reflecting the tight economy. When people lose jobs or face cutbacks, when the value of their investments drops significantly, when the rising home values that made them feel flush are now moving in the opposite direction, all of that makes a difference in terms of what people give to the church. No wonder that even some churches that have been very healthy financially are finding themselves behind budget because of declining giving. More

The danger of replacing Communion with a coffee bar
Out of Ur
It's very difficult for many contemporary Christians to recognize how much we have been shaped by the consumer culture in which we live--it is in the air we breathe and the water (or coffee) we drink. Consider that in many churches the coffee bar has displaced the Lord's Table as the place where real community happens. Due in part to the neutralizing of sacred space that has been popular since the 1980s, churches began removing or deemphasizing the Lord's Table and introducing coffee bars. Without doubt the desire has been to build community by offering people a culturally familiar setting to engage one another. But we must ask: What formative message does a coffee bar convey? More

Churches become 'Missionary Encouragers'
Baptist Press
One catalyst for transforming ordinary churchgoers into mobilized, on-mission Christians is a personal connection with a missionary. Friendship Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga., made that connection last year when it adopted Jamie Daughtry through the North American Mission Board's Missionary Encourager initiative. Daughtry serves in British Columbia, Canada. More

Survey: Charities can't rely on year-end generosity
The York Dispatch
American charities have weathered a significant drop in giving this year, and while they're hoping for a holiday miracle, a recent survey shows they will probably see a decrease in year-end generosity. In light of the economic downturn, only 38 percent of Americans say they are more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present this year, compared to 49 percent last year, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and released last week. Some of the biggest U.S. charities say they are budgeting for a disappointing Christmas. More

How more people are turning to religion to help them lose weight
Daily Mail
New diet fads constantly offer hope to the unhappily overweight, before fading away, leaving only disappointed expectations and stubborn flab. But there's a new diet trend which claims dizzyingly high success rates, promises painless life-long commitment and allows dieters to eat anything they want. Faith-based diets take the principles of Christianity and apply them to our overwhelming craving for chocolate, chips and cheese. More

'Virtual pilgrimage' uses technology to attract Catholic youth
USA Today
Blogging pastors and online sermons, podcasts and vodcasts are the norm. You can even e-tithe and e-pray now. But that's old news. MyCatholicVoice, an online Catholic resource for personal inspiration and community ministry, has proven to be a leader in the newest online spiritual trend with its virtual Kansas City pilgrimage. The Internet spiritual journey, which ended Saturday, had 50,000 online participants from 76 countries. More

In off-season, Yankees organist plays for different crowd
Religion News Service
For six seasons, Ed Alstrom has performed regularly as organist for 50,000-plus fans at weekend games in one of the nation’s highest-profile baseball venues--Yankee Stadium. Now, he’s got a second gig where crowds usually top out at about 200: Morristown, N.J.’s Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. It’s a rare mix of the ethereal and the hardball worlds but, Alstrom said, there aren’t that many jobs for organists: You have to be flexible and you have to hustle, he says. More