NACBA Weekly Update
Dec. 2, 2011

Christmas Day services will go on, pastors say
Baptist Press
Nine in 10 pastors plan for their churches to host Christmas Day services this year. A LifeWay Research study of 1,000 Protestant pastors shows that 91 percent of Protestant pastors plan to have services on Christmas Day while 69 percent said they plan to host Christmas Eve services. "Having church on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday seems as if it would be as much of a given as having Thanksgiving on a Thursday, but this has been an issue of discussion and contention in recent years," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said.More

Companies offer to develop free mobile apps for 1,000 churches
The Christian Post
LifeWay Christian Resources knows that digital technology can be a blessing to churches who use it to stay in touch with their congregations and local communities, which is why they have teamed up with ROAR, a mobile application developer, to develop mobile applications at no charge for 1,000 churches this Christmas season. "Our whole goal is to resource as many churches as possible, especially with this technology because as the digital world is ever changing ... it really presents us with a very rare opportunity to not only serve the church but outfit them with technology,” Matt Morris, project manager for Digital Church at LifeWay, told The Christian Post.More

Returning veterans, families struggle to adjust
Associated Baptist Press
The Rivers family faced and overcame challenges typical of a military family looking at, dealing with or readjusting in the wake of a deployment, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey that marked the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make up the longest period of sustained military engagement in U.S. history, and the nation has carried out these campaigns entirely with a voluntary force, leaving 0.5 percent of the nation’s population to shoulder the brunt of the effort. As veterans return from America's wars with physical, mental and relational wounds, some churches are exploring ways to offer comfort to them and their families.More

Saving the world — an article of eco-faith
The Salt Lake Tribune
Would Jesus have gorged himself this Thanksgiving on turkeys laced with sodium, kept the stove on all day, served imported pears or filled his garbage with plastic bags? Christian environmentalists don’t think so and, for them, it’s more a matter of faith than politics. The Earth is holy, these believers say, and God gave humanity the responsibility to protect and care for it. If we truly recognized the debt we owe to Mother Nature, we would stop overeating, overconsuming and overextending the world’s resources. More

Delegating responsibility in the church office
Managing Your Church
Imagine trying to lead two million persons across a desert with no map, no food, and no water. Moses had an administrative nightmare not only in leading the Israelites and providing for their needs but also in judging them in matters of personal and national decisions. His was an impossible task. The pastor of a growing and vibrant church must learn that he cannot be a jack of all trades, make all the decisions, and do everything himself. He must have help. Staff, secretaries, deacons, teachers, and the church members comprise a large reservoir of talent and abilities. Right now there is probably someone in your congregation just waiting to help you do the job.More

Can your church let go of traditions?
In the Church, we tend to start new programs, but it’s very difficult for us to end programs. Ministries and events become traditions. We worship the traditions. We’re unable to stop anything because at least one person may be helped by what we’re doing. We’re unable to stop anything because at least one person loves doing the ministry or event. What would happen if the Church started doing less, but we encouraged people to do more outside the Church? What would happen if churches focused on what God called them to do and empowered people to do what God calls them to do?More

Safely depositing weekly collections
Managing Your Church
A church in Centralia, Washington, lost nearly $7,000 from its weekly collections recently when a staff member accidentally left the bag containing the collected funds on top of her car and headed to the bank. Fortunately, a man driving in this small community located about an hour south of Tacoma spotted the bag and picked it up. The man told, which reported on the incident, he contacted the church and returned the funds because an honest mother and son returned his lost wallet some 40 years earlier. Until electronic giving and mobile giving options become the dominant methods for transactions among members and visitors, churches of all sizes will handle varying amounts of cash and checks every week.More

10 church models for a new generation
The Christian Century
There are a lot of conversations about why the denominational church isn’t working. In some ways, the author of this article thinks of our churches like a crop of corn that was planted at the same time. That field produced corn for 50 years—so much wonderful corn that many of us were fat and happy. In our abundance, we forgot to diversify and plant new fields. Now the corn is coming to the end of its season, all at the same time.More

6 church-tested solutions to fix your small group
Outreach Magazine
If your church has a small groups ministry, chances are you’ve faced the problem of commitment, as well as a host of other common small group issues such as poor structure and untrained leadership. In fact, most churches struggle to keep their small groups healthy, but with the right strategies and the right values, you can strengthen your groups and your church’s ability to reach more people in a meaningful way. Outreach presented the most prevalent small group dilemmas to several trusted leaders in small group innovation. Read on to gain their meaningful insights and sensible solutions to these six common problems your small groups might be facing. More

Giving a break to those who need it most
A church in McLean, Va., is offering parents a break from the demands that come with having special needs children. Jill's House is an overnight respite resort for children ages 6 through 17 with intellectual disabilities and their siblings. Spokesman Cameron Doolittle explains that the facility is meant to celebrate special children and provide renewal and peace of mind through overnight programs and day camps.More

Church gives coat gift cards to children
The Daily Journal
Small gestures can equal great blessings, Pastor Vandy L. Colter III urges his church’s 500 members. The pastor’s Kingdom Covenant Christian Center in Vineland, N.J., practices what he preaches. The congregation is not shy about going out into the community to make a difference in the lives of local residents. They’ve popped up at service stations to hand out gas cards. Shoppers were shocked when church members showed up at the checkout line to pay for full carts of food. And now, Kingdom Covenant Christian Center is giving away children’s winter coats. But where church members went to the gas stations and grocery stores for previous giveaways, this time they’re inviting those in need to come to a Sunday worship service at their church.More

Oil patch ministry: North Dakota church faces local population boom
UM Portal
After a national news report on his hometown aired a few weeks ago, the Rev. Rod Tkach of Williston, N.D., fielded calls from people as far away as Texas and California who wanted to know if he’d rent them space in the church as temporary housing. The callers had seen an NBC news story about once-tiny Williston, now home to an oil business boom—and an unemployment rate of less than 1 percent. While Faith United Methodist Church, Dr. Tkach’s flock of about 120 souls, doesn’t fret over the kind of economic woes that plague many other congregations, the boom has proved a mixed blessing. And the church is wrestling with the best way to cope and to minister to the influx.More