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The unthinkable: Responding to sexual abuse allegations

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Churches spend considerable amounts of time and effort to put in place policies and procedures designed to prevent occurrences of child abuse within their ministries.

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Why Vacation Bible School is still relevant, still reaching

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Experience has shown us that Vacation Bible School is still effective in reaching kids for Christ. Dating back to 1894, how do churches keep this program relevant to boys and girls today? The greatest change I have seen in VBS in my 19 years as a children’s director is the curriculum. Years ago we had a Bible story each day with a few basic activities. Of course we added fun songs, crafts and games to make it exciting for the kids, but it was mainly an extension of the regular Sunday study.

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Truth, at last

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Truth comes hard for the Crystal Cathedral, as it blames the recession

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Kids and connection came first for this church’s vision

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Kansas City Baptist Temple’s innovative strategy led them to new priorities and away from a worship center expansion.

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Electrical fires can devastate your church

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Fires can cause severe damage not only to the property, but also to the congregation itself as it must cope with the lasting effects of the devastation.

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Ten [unexpected] trends to surface in 2020

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I once served under a leader who said he didn’t have a vision beyond the next 12 months. His point was that everything changes rapidly, and no one knows the future. So why plan beyond what you do not know for certain? In looking far into the future, he believed leaders wasted too much time on fruitless thinking in which attainable goals are never achieved.

He had a point. Much time, brain energy, printed paper and blogosphere megabytes have been wasted on fruitless plans for an uncertain future. Despite the downsides of wasted time and premature predictions, I believe the best leaders risk being wrong for the sake of a better understanding of where we might end up; that’s part of what makes a leader. Leaders move followers toward something — goals off in the distance and in the future. Allow me to risk being doubly wrong — sharing with you not only 10 church trends for the next 10 years, but ones that may be unexpected to some. I believe these trends are critical for leaders to know as they lead their churches to advance God’s kingdom in the coming decade.

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Religion may take different scenarios as church looks at gays

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Sociologist Robert Putnam is well known for the defining work a few years back called Bowling Alone and later, Better Together. Now he and David Campbell have produced a study on religion in America, producing statistics and trends that may not entirely please the evangelical community. In American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (Simon & Schuster, 2011), Putnam and Campbell point to a strength in the American character — it’s the word grace in the book’s title. “The web of interlocking personal relationships among Americans of many different religions,” Putnam says in response to questions on the book from Church Executive.

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When being an introvert in the church isn’t all so bad

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Adam S. McHugh is a self-proclaimed introvert and also a Presbyterian minister and writes about it in Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture (InterVarsity Press, 2009).

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One church uses the Internet in a different kind of ‘church planting’

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Northland, A Church Distributed uses the Internet to reach people, and works with Global Media Outreach around the world. When Northland, A Church Distributed received its name, the Longwood, FL, congregation was intended to be “a distribution center for whatever God has given us,” says Dan Lacich, pastor for distributed sites. “It’s kind of a fancy name for the fact that you are the church wherever God has put you, wherever you have been distributed throughout your day and week.”

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