First Baptist Church Dallas will build an expansive, new state-of-the-art campus that will enable the historic congregation to continue to be a spiritual beacon in downtown for generations to come. The congregation gave standing approval Nov. 1 to the plans and groundbreaking could occur as soon as July.
In 1988 General Motors started an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at lowering the average age of Oldsmobile buyers. The ad theme, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” did not work. The slogan not only alienated loyalists, it did not attract the next generation. The brand that represented respectable middle-class achievement in the 1960s and 1970s lost to the “cool factor” of the 1980s and 1990s.
First you need to understand why it is critical to reach kids at an early age. Then, work on changing the trend of losing them at an alarming rate.You may need to make adjustments in the way you lead and minister. Are they worth it to you? Will you make the sacrifice to keep children coming to church?
Among the most important things that church leaders can do for their congregations is keeping their children safe. In the past, many people didn’t worry about security issues at churches. However, times have changed and so have churches. Gone are the days when we simply relied on “good faith” to preserve the security of our children in the church nursery, Sunday school or youth rooms.
Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN, was formed last year from the former Indiana Wesleyan University — College of Graduate Studies in Ministry and has 250 students pursuing programs, including the Master’s Degree in Divinity. [ www.wesley.indwes.edu ] Like many graduate schools and seminaries, online education is a focal point for Wesley Seminary.
Ben Stroup works with LifeWay Christian Resources to assist churches with stewardship and giving, and he has given himself the title of Chief Broker of Opportunity. “I help churches bring into reality the ministry God has called them to accomplish by ensuring they have the ability to fully fund that vision,” he says.
When Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, CA, accumulated $500,000 in debt — in addition to falling behind on their mortgage payments — financial ruin and foreclosure seemed imminent.
In this modern era, many churches are offering more and more services to its congregants to attract new members, retain established members and create revenue to operate the church or fund its programs. Common examples may include a bookstore or coffee bar. As a general rule, a church is not taxed on its income or revenues from an activity that is substantially related to the religious or charitable purposes of the organization.
People of faith are renowned for their charitable generosity. Amidst what economists are calling the “Great Recession,” giving to religion is the one subsector of charitable giving that grew in 2008. While charitable giving as a whole decreased from 2007 to 2008 by 2 percent (-5.7 percent when adjusted for inflation) and individual giving dropped 2.7 percent (-6.3 percent when adjusted for inflation) contributions to religion increased by 5.5 percent (+1.5 percent when adjusted for inflation).
At a conference hosted by the North American Christian Convention last summer in Kentucky, Rick Rusaw stood on stage before thousands of church leaders and posed this question: “If your church disappeared today, would your community miss it?” Then he echoed a disturbing finding by a national research firm: 66 percent of Americans agree that churches have little or no value in helping them find meaning or direction for their lives.