Friday, October 10, 2008

How will this economy affect local churches?

Times are tough. You need go no further than the front page of your favorite news site to see that.

So what's a church to do?

You might be thinking, "I'm not a church planter! We've been around for forever!" Well, money is tight, so maybe it's time to act like you just started with your church.

Here are a few ideas to keep your ship going straight as the financial waters stir:

1. Just because you do it now doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. Sure, you've been printing bulletins every single week since forever. And you've always bought coffee for 2,000 people (just to be safe) when your attendance is 500. But just because you offer an event, service or product doesn't mean you have to keep offering it. Re-evaluate where your money is going and your return on investment.

2. Go digital. If you can offer it online, do it. There are no printing costs and no materials costs. Obviously, you can't do everything online, but this might be the time to push your church a little harder to embrace technologies that are closer to free. And the things you've been giving away free, you might not be able to do anymore. Think fresh about your costs and price structure. Is it really essential you offer that resource for free instead of at minimal cost? Do you even need to offer it?

3. Think outside of the tithing box. Some Americans are giving up their house to keep tithing. But let's be honest, 5% of adults tithe, and a small percentage of those would give up their house before their tithe. So you're going to need to find new revenue streams. Selling resources and innovative fundraisers are just the tip of the iceberg.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate. So many people think the church is all about money. Let people know the sacrifices your staff is making, and remind them that you aren't doing this to get rich. Make your financial information available and accessible, and be honest with everyone about funding your mission.

Church should be as cheap as possible without feeling cheap. The organizations who strike the perfect balance will be able to weather the current financial woes.

[from Church Marketing Sucks by Joshua Cody]

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and candlelight vigils are being held throughout the month to remember victims of domestic abuse.

For the last two decades, October has marked a time when people in the nation come together in the fight to end a tragedy that spans every culture, profession (including clergy), race and ethnicity and is happening daily whether in the form of sexual, emotional or physical abuse.

It's time to talk about it from the pulpit and the pew.

Counseling can help. A therapist will educate men and women concerning actions and behaviour modification.


What People Mean

One of the things I’ve learned from the past 30 years of ministry is that sometimes what people say isn’t what they really mean. Things like:

What They Say: “I’m looking for a church that preaches the Word!”
What They Mean: “I’m looking for a church that preaches MY view of the Word. I think the BLANK translation should be used … I think BLANK should be talked about a lot while BLANK should be ignored. And if you ever stop preaching my view of the Word I will leave and tell others that you don’t preach the Word!”

What They Say: “Lot’s of people have been coming to me and saying they don’t like is …”
What They Mean: “I basically only have three friends…and all of them think exactly like me. The other night we were enjoying a time of self righteousness because, after all, we are right about everything … and were also slandering you (in the form of prayer requests) and thought it would be wise to approach you with our pet peeve. We’ve actually talked to no one else about this but said “lots” because we wanted to validate our dysfunction.”

What They Say: “I’m leaving the church.”
What They Mean: “Beg me to stay. If you will just ask me I will share with you several ways you can compromise God’s vision that He’s given you, thus becoming nothing more than a people pleasing pastor who is more interested in popularity than obedience. If you don’t bow to my demands I will remind you that I tithe and that the church needs my money, reducing you to a mere preaching whore … one who is paid for a service for the pleasure of another person.”

What They Say: “I want a church that is more focused on discipleship.”
What They Mean: “I want a church where everyone knows me and how important I am! I don’t want to reach people who are different from me, be it economic class or race or even musical preference. I already know WAY more than you do … but I somehow equate spirituality with knowledge rather than application and I rather enjoy feeling intellectually superior to those who don’t know as much as me.”

What They Say: “Don’t take this personally … but …”
What They Mean: “I am about to lower the BOOM on you … but you can’t get angry because I told you not to take it personally. Even though you have dedicated your life to this and pretty much invest every ounce of energy you have to this cause … and I think about it once or twice a week … you need to receive my attacks, even when they are personal … and you cannot retaliate because, remember, it’s not personal.”

[From Perry Nobles Blog via by Jason Isaacs]

Andy Stanley on Leadership

Andy launched Catalyst 2008 with a great talk on leadership. Quotable…

  • We want our leaders to have consistency between what they say and what they do.
  • At the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer. They can quit at any time.
  • Authenticity is a powerful leadership dynamic.
  • Nehemiah got mad and asked the leaders to stop over-charging the people. They immediately complied. Why? Because for 12 years, Nehemiah had been living an authentic life in front of them. He had moral authority.
  • As leaders, we must be the men and women who never carry into the future the hurt of the past.
  • Perhaps the boldest leadership move you could make is to get on your knees and let go of your hurts.
  • Men: If your wife feels like your church is your mistress, you are part of the problem you are trying to solve.
  • If your kids feel neglected because of your time at the church, you are part of the problem you are trying to solve.

[from LeadingSmart by Tim Stevens]

New KidPak CD Released

Shaun McKinley has anounced that Free Chapel (Pastor Jentezen Franklin) has released a new kids CD.

Shaun, Stephanie, and Reagan traveled to Gainesville, Georgia to celebrate the cd release of “Sun Shining Bright,” a worship CD by the children’s ministry at Free Chapel. Stephanie’s brother, Tony, is the leader of this amazing group.

Shaun writes:

"Last night I had what has to be among my top three experiences in Children’s Ministries. I was able to go to the release party for the KidPak worship CD “Sun Shining Bright” at Free Chapel in Gainesville. Tony, the band, and dance team of over a dozen kid, led those kids directly to God’s throne. The kids responded to the worship call, and stayed focused for the one-and-a-half hour worship concert. It was truly awesome!

"If you ever get the chance to visit this ministry, I highly recommend it. I was intrigued, the ministry operates a little unlike some of the larger churches I have visited. Seems to be a little less restricted, but works! I want to go back soon to experience an entire children’s worship service."


Gold Nuggets From Catalyst

Building A Great Church

Jim Collins is the author of Good to Great and Built to Last, and spoke to the Catalyst crowd of 12,400 leaders on Thursday morning. Here are a few golden nuggets:

· Not all time in life is equal.
· Good is the enemy of great.
· Greatness is not a function of your circumstances; or good luck; it is a function of a choice.
· Within every organization or company that is great…you will find a culture of discipline.
· Most overnight successes are really about twenty years in the making.
· It took 7 years for Sam Walton to open his 2nd store. It took Starbucks 13 years before they had 5 stores.
· How do the great typically fall? It’s not through complacency. It is typically over-reaching that derails great organizations. Going too far, too fast.
· A great organization is more likely to die of indigestion of too many opportunities rather than starvation of not enough opportunities.
· #1 sign of over-reaching and the start of decline: When you grow beyond your ability to have the right people in the right seats on the bus.
· It is the undisciplined pursuit of more that will kill an organization.
· We need to spend more time on who and less on what. If you have the right who, they will figure out the right what.
· The people who do well in difficult, unpredictable situations are never any better at predicting the future than anyone else.
· We are in turbulent times. The years 1945-2000 were an anomaly. The convergence of stability and prosperity. It is unlikely we’ll see this again in our lifetimes.
· The greatest CEO’s from the greatest companies in history had one distinctive characteristic that separate them from other leaders. The trait is humility.

[from LeadingSmart by Tim Stevens]