‘Many deceivers have gone out into the world … Watch out
Rick Lemons’ interest in NASCAR came out of the number of people at his church
Three recent books examine church attendance trends and confirm Willow Creek’s Reveal study. The church’s failure to make disciples is growing worse each year. Based on current statistics, George Barna’s book, Revolution, predicts that by 2025 only 30 percent of those seeking ways to experience church will do so in what is now the traditional congregational form of church. Many of those opting out are “post-congregational,” that is, while they no longer go to church, they still have church with friends and family in an intimate setting.
I was tired, bone tired, more weary of soul than I wanted to admit. The challenges of life and ministry had taken their toll: A major building project, the decision to let a much loved ministry partner go, my beloved wife diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately I pastor a church that loves me and not just in words, but deeds. So they sent me on a three-month sabbatical with enough money to get away and get the help I needed. That help came in the form of a ministry called Pastors on Point. If you go to their website you will find the phrase, “taking Pastors ‘out of their element’ and ‘into their essence,’” which sounds a bit corny. But corny or not, it worked for me. Three gifted men took seven pastors and four lamas up into the Colorado wilderness to rediscover God’s calling on our lives and, thankfully, I was one of them.
Fraud targeting Christians is an epidemic. Of the $40 billion that Americans lose to investment fraud every year, fraud against the faithful accounts for as much as $1 billion of it. Antiquated notions of why churches fall victim to fraud are at least partially responsible for the epidemic. Old adages like, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” are not only useless as protection against fraud, but also dangerous. Church executives concerned with sound financial stewardship and protecting the flock must reach beyond trite axioms. In this post-Madoff world, where scam artists are smarter and their schemes harder to spot, church leaders must adopt a pro-active, 21st century approach to protecting their church.
Most pastors are probably familiar with the provision in the Tax Code that allows pastors and ministers to exempt a parsonage, or housing allowance from their taxable income.
A new generation of software makes collecting and using data so much easier.
The mission of the National Association of Church Business Administration
Speak the name of Peter Steinke and what comes to mind immediately is his respected position in church life as a congregational systems consultant who has been a pastor, educator and therapist for clergy. His interest and work have been in helping congregations become healthy and vital. In 2006, he published the book How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems (Alban Institute) and earlier Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach.