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Study: Churches inching back from recession
USA Today    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The recession was a double-barrel blow to American congregations: directly hurting their budgets while also stretching them thin due to increased needs for counseling, emergency housing and other social services. But the worst seems to be over, according to a report released this week that found that one in 10 have begun to recover from the loss, and more than 40 percent are now stable or increasing financially. The "Holy Toll" report, based on the 2010 Faith Communities Today national survey of more than 20 religious groups, found that more than half (57 percent) of U.S. congregations reported their income had declined due to the recession. More

Services multiply during Christian Holy Week
SCNOW    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There is nothing like Holy Week, the celebration of Easter in Christian churches, but for church staff the biggest holiday of the year can be a little overwhelming. The Rev. Kenneth Weldon, rector at St. John’s Episcopal in Florence, S.C., said his staff is already looking forward to two vacation days next Monday and Tuesday. More

Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum
Unstructured playtime helps develop crucial social and intellectual skills needed to succeed in life, advocates say as they try to pull children and their parents away from the screen. "A big part of free play is having space to do it in, a space that isn't ruled over by adults." more

Poll: Pastors skeptical of global warming
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Protestant pastors are more skeptical about global warming today than they were two years ago. That is the finding of a LifeWay Research telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected Protestant pastors. The survey also found that pastors' views on the subject vary widely by denomination, education, location and political ideology. When asked to respond to the statement, "I believe global warming is real and manmade," 41 percent of pastors strongly disagree, up from 27 percent in a similar survey conducted in 2008. That marks an increase of more than 50 percent. More

Online Giving Makes it Easy To Give
Online giving is quickly becoming one of the top ways to encourage your members to practice good financial stewardship. If your church is looking for ways to harness the power of online giving, download the ACS Technologies white paper Five Sundays: The Power Of Online Giving now. more

'Church Sucks' but come anyway?
The Christian Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The word on the street is simple – “church sucks.” Plastered throughout one city in northern California are signs stating the same message, stirring some controversy among the local residents. But it’s all part of the plan, according to Stu Streeter, the lead pastor of Disciples Church in Folsom, Calif. Using the slogan as a way to attract those who have stopped attending church, Streeter, along with Adam Adams, his connection ministry director, have teamed up to ironically bring people back into the church, reported El Dorado Hills Telegraph. More

Which came first: Easter or the eggs?    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For most Christians, Easter is the most important day of the year. However, when it comes to traditions such as decorated eggs, lilies and Peter Cottontail, even the most seasoned Easter celebrants may have questions. More

Contemporary worship a boon to churches
Insights into Religion    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Amid all the grim statistics about the future of the church, there’s one shining ray of hope: Contemporary worship services have the power to recharge a congregation, even to serve as a catalyst for growth. A new survey of U.S. congregations shows that more churches are turning to contemporary worship services, with good results. More

Volunteer service bridges the generation gap
Associated Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Intergenerational volunteer programs benefit both youth and elders, studies show. For young people, spending time with older adults can improve their social skills, boost their school performance, introduce an element of stability into their lives and cut down on drug use. For elders, interaction with young people is a social outlet, an opportunity for lifelong learning, and an emotional and physical boon. More

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Fish fries help keep churches afloat
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
No one knows for sure where or when the first Lenten fish fry took place, but the social and financial significance of the tradition is one that most people recognize. While fish fries across the region are popular among Catholics on Fridays during Lent, several church volunteers said the meals aren't just about the deep-fried fish, macaroni and cheese and halusky. Churches, schools and youth ministry programs depend on the revenue for their annual budgets. More

At some Virginia churches, guns are an invisible part of the routine
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Parishioners carried Bibles in embroidered cases, babies with ribbons in their hair, and flutes, violins and sheet music into Immanuel Bible Church for Palm Sunday services. And a few carried guns, tucked into waistbands, hidden under suit jackets. At least a dozen members of this Springfield, Va., congregation routinely bring concealed weapons to services, said the Rev. Steve Holley, the church’s pastor of ministries. Since the Virginia attorney general published an advisory opinion last week on weapons in houses of worship, Holley wonders whether more of his flock will have “a Bible in one holster and a handgun in the other as they come to church.” More

Every Church Needs a Resiliency Plan

Your 150 year old church just burned to the ground on Christmas Eve. What do you do? Be ready to respond; click here for answers.”

Scientist claims Last Supper was a day earlier
FOX News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Christians have long celebrated The Last Supper of Jesus Christ on Maundy, the Thursday before Easter, but new research released Monday claims that evidence shows it took place on the Wednesday before the Crucifixion. Professor Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge in England, believes the mistaken date is due to a calendar mix-up -- and says his findings strengthen the case for finally introducing a fixed date for Easter, AFP reports. More

Church movies keep coming
Christianity Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Frustrated with the movies Hollywood has been releasing, more and more congregations are making their own feature films. But some experts question whether this is something local churches should be doing."I guess I have an outdated notion that churches are there to inspire parishioners to then go and do things, in whatever genre, whether it's politics, or media, or whatever," said Mark Joseph, a film producer with the MJM Entertainment Group who writes about religion and pop culture. "I'm not sure about church as film studio or church as commercial enterprise." More

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Bible readers prefer King James version
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If thou hast a Bible in the house right now and readeth it at least once a month, chances are strong it’s the majestic King James Version of the Bible in Elizabethan English, a new survey out today finds. Of the 89 percent of U.S. adults who own at least one Bible, 67 percent own a King James, which marks its 400th anniversary this year, according to LifeWay Research. More

Church seeks second chance for a girl it nurtured
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Afrika Owes received all the benefits a church could offer to a poor young girl in a place like Harlem: Head Start, Sunday school, gospel choir, after-school recreation, mentoring, weekend retreats and the admiration of a community of adults who came to regard her as a brilliant success-in-the-making. So when 50 members of that community, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, showed up in a criminal courtroom this week to bail out Owes, a onetime scholarship student at a prestigious prep school who was swept up in a crackdown on street gangs and is now facing serious drug and weapons charges, it was partly out of religious duty, partly to collect on an investment, they said. More

Customized Training Applications for Churches

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Video: Second Baptist Houston celebrates Easter on YouTube
LifeWay    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Inspired by the 2010 YouTube video "Budapest Resurrection Dance video," Second Baptist Houston has created "Dance Your Shoes off," a celebration of Easter. The original song "Rise Up" was written by church members Josh Moore, Lauren Camey and Jonathan Camey. At the end of the dance, you can see the over 2,000 new pairs of shoes church members donated to be collected and distributed to Star of Hope and other mission efforts of the church. More

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