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As 2014 comes to a close, we, at The Church Network National Office, wish for you a Christmas filled with hope, love, and joy and a New Year filled with peace. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of the NACBA Weekly Update a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume next Friday, Jan. 9.

7 steps for a more productive church staff
By Deborah Wipf
From Feb. 7: One of the challenges in ministry is that there's always more work to do — and it's unlikely you can hire a small army anytime soon. A high-performing, productive team won't happen by accident. Lead the way by providing your team with tools and information they need to do their job with excellence. It requires a bit of an upfront investment to change old habits or implement new tools, but that investment will pay off. In light of that reality, here are a few practical tips to help your team be even more productive.
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5 things church volunteers need to hear you say
By Deborah Wipf
From June 27: Volunteers who are dedicated, trustworthy and willing to work hard are incredible assets to any church. If your current volunteer program is struggling, you might be surprised at how many people would be willing to serve if they were offered the chance. Paying closer attention to how and what you communicate just might be the catalyst you need to grow your volunteer team. Here are five things volunteers need to hear you say.
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Why 20 percent do 80 percent -- and how to fix it
By Mark MacDonald
From July 11: I was having breakfast recently with a good friend. He's an active participant in ministry, and we were lamenting the Pareto principle. For those unfamiliar, it's that "law of the vital few" where 20 percent of a congregation seem to do 80 percent of the work. I hear it so much in ministry meetings that it hardly registers anymore. But as my friend and I were talking, I realized that the church now uses the 80-20 rule as a crutch. It's an excuse for why churches can't do more, or do ministry better.
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10 key hourly employee prescreening questions
By Mel Kleiman
From March 14: Once you have a stack of applications for a job opening, it's best to develop a list of preliminary, prescreening questions to ask promising applicants at the earliest possible stage in your hiring process. People who need a job will tell you they'll work any days, hours or times you want. However, if you hire them and the hours aren't to their liking, they'll soon be showing up late or not at all. Head this aggravation off at the pass by asking these questions before the applicant knows what days/hours/shifts you need to fill.
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6 low-cost ways to achieve excellence on a budget
By Deborah Wipf
From April 4: We've all experienced seasons where the budget is a bit tight. However, we still want to provide the absolute best for our communities and congregations. Excellence is possible even when on a budget. As you make the most of the resources you have, trust God to take your efforts and expand your capacity. So how can you achieve excellence on a shoestring budget? Here are some practical tips you can implement at little or no cost.
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Growth Opportunity... Multi-site vs. Multi-venue
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Excitement of a growing church can quickly turn to frustration as growth constraints can limit the momentum curve leaving leadership teams with a difficult decision, how to best facilitate future growth: add more services, start/add a satellite campus, build bigger…MORE
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Many churches are missing out on refundable tax credit
By David Dennison
From Oct. 31: Many churches and other Christian ministries are unaware that they might be able to request a refund from the IRS even though they haven't paid any federal taxes. Sounds strange, doesn't it? But it's the truth, and I want to tell you about it. The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. No matter what your thoughts are about this law, there is a substantial financial benefit that churches can take advantage of.
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7 financial stewardship tips every church should consider
By Deborah Wipf
From Oct. 17: Finances. Everyone's favorite topic, right? Whether money is tight or you have plenty of financial breathing room, you need to keep a close watch on your church's finances. Members of your congregation are tithing to support the church's work and trusting you to spend those donations wisely. To ensure excellent stewardship of church finances, you need strong internal controls and qualified staff to handle the accounting. These practices not only protect against illegal or unethical behavior; they also protect the reputation of your staff and your church.
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The 3 P's of employee terminations
By D. Albert Brannen
From March 7: The vast majority of employment-related lawsuits follow the termination of an employee. Employers can minimize their legal liability by considering the "three P's" of employee terminations: people, procedures and paperwork. By involving the right people, following the right processes and considering all the relevant paperwork, employers can effectively minimize their exposure to legal claims that may arise from the termination of employees.
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How to 'fire' a church volunteer
By Deborah Wipf
From Jan. 24: One question I frequently receive when talking about recruiting and retaining church volunteers is what to do about a volunteer who isn't working out. In other words, how do you "fire" a volunteer? This is obviously a delicate situation and needs to be handled with great care. You don't want to offend this individual or damage the relationship, but his performance in the volunteer role is hurting the team. So, what to do?
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