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Disparate faith groups come together in disaster relief
The Associated Press via the Washington Times
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For every hurricane, earthquake or flood, there is help: food, bottled water, crews of volunteers nailing shingles to brand new roofs. What recipients of that aid may not realize is that much of it comes from an unlikely hodgepodge of religious groups who put aside their doctrinal differences and coordinate their efforts as soon as the wind starts blowing. This "juice and cookies fellowship," as one organizer calls it, is mostly invisible to the public, but it provides interfaith infrastructure for disaster response around the country that state and federal officials scarcely could do without. More

Baptists view growing Hispanic population as opportunity
Associated Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Census Bureau reports the Hispanic population in the United States has more than doubled in the last 20 years, from 22 million in 1990 to a projected 47 million in 2010. In 40 years, experts project that one American in four will be Hispanic. While that alarms many white Americans who fear losing the privileges that come with being part of a dominant culture, many evangelical Christians view it as a mission field. More

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Move to churches for high school graduation faces Constitutional challenge
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It is unclear if schools are holding more graduations in church or whether individuals are becoming more active in asking courts to stop them. But in recent years, school districts in Wisconsin, Florida and Maryland have also faced suits or threats of litigation over decisions to hold graduations in church. "When you expect students of all faiths and no faiths to parade in front of a cross, a central symbol of Christianity, to receive their diplomas, you make many persons feel like they barely belong," said Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed the Enfield litigation along with the American Civil Liberties Union. More

Church ushers in next 100 years with social media, video and mobile technology
Examiner    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Scott Julian became the senior pastor of University Christian Church a little over four years ago, he had a task of taking the church in a new direction. Pastor Scott has embraced all the digital tools that are available to engage the congregation and reach the whole community. He preaches from an iPad. With Facebook, YouTube and twitter accounts, University Christian Church is ushering in the next 100 years using the latest technology. The website is modern and allows anyone to connect to the church with Social Media, YouTube or E-mail. All sermon’s are podcast and available for download at the price of $2.00. The church uses E-mail for constant information on church news. More

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When attendance drops
Church Executive Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Dan is the executive pastor of a six-year-old church that has experienced rapid growth — until recently. Dan writes: “We are a church that grew fairly rapidly from 2003 through 2008. Most recently, we grew 8 percent in 2007 and then saw growth slow to 2 percent in 2008. We saw a plateau-to-slight-decline of -1 percent in the spring of 2009 and then a significant drop over the summer when our senior pastor was on sabbatical. We have not bounced back this fall, with attendance now running 5 percent YTD below last year. “My question: How would you approach this issue to get to the root cause? What questions would you ask? What data would you gather? Who would you talk with?” Church Executive asked Mark Simmons, business manager at Christ Community Church, Milpitas, CA to suggest a response to this church’s situation. More

Bible translators hope to have every language covered in 15 years
Denver Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Christian endeavor of almost 2,000 years could be substantially completed by 2025. Protestant translators expect to have the Bible — or at least some of it — written in every one of the world's 6,909 spoken languages. "We're in the greatest period of acceleration in 20 centuries of Bible translation," said Morrison resident Paul Edwards, who heads up Wycliffe Bible Translators' $1 billion Last Languages Campaign. Portable computers and satellites get the credit for speeding things up by about 125 years. More

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Refresh Sunday School
Youth Worker    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Low attendance. Boring lectures. Tired students. Unfortunately, this is the reality of most Sunday school classes for teenagers. Most teenagers either do not show up or are showing up very tired and reluctant about their involvement. There is good news. You can refresh Sunday school. You can reignite student excitement and involvement. You can change the ministry you dreaded most into one of the most refreshing meaningful ministries in your youth group. No matter where you are—you have what it takes. It is time to refresh Sunday school and the answer is simple. Stop doing "school" and start connecting with students. More

Dads in ministry face challenge dual roles
The Kansas City Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Being a dad and a pastor is not easy. They say you do what you tell others to do, to walk what you talk. And another challenge is time management. Being a pastor is an around-the-clock job, and balancing blood family and spiritual family can be difficult. More

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Incremental preaching
Leadership Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There isn't a preacher alive who isn't at once both energized and dismayed by the sermon's potential to effect change. Why aren't people more deeply transformed by their weekly encounters with God's Word? The deficiency can't be with the Scriptures, obviously. And most of us manage to communicate biblical truth with a measure of clarity, relevance, and conviction. So why don't we see more real, lasting change? More

Is your church facing financial decisions?
Church Central    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Is your church facing financial decisions? Even in boom times making decisions that involve money can be challenge for leaders. It may involve taking a risk, and that raises anxiety: deciding to increase salaries substantially, hire additional staff or move ahead with a building program raise the possibility of not being able to pay for it. And when times are tough, and budget cuts seem inevitable, the decisions can be even more difficult. Here are some questions that might be useful as you consider your decision-making process. More

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Benchmarks: Training group leaders    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Because it is difficult to get a handle on what is going on in other small groups outside of your own (or your own church), has conducted live surveys on a variety of small-group topics. The purpose of these surveys is to uncover a sense of what is going on in small groups around the world, and particularly in North America. These surveys are not intended to be a scientific sample of those involved in small groups. And benchmarking—or comparing your small group to other small groups—is not intended to be a substitute for the Holy Spirit's work and guidance in your group. However, knowing what other small groups are doing can be a helpful diagnostic tool, and can show what God is up to within the larger small-group movement. With that in mind, here are some results of surveys on the subject of training small-group leaders. More

Truck drivers find God at mobile chapel
The Christian Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Something just brought me here, I don't know why," said Daniel Mullins, 47, a truck driver who made an unplanned visit to the Transport for Christ mobile chapel in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sunday. After spending an hour talking to a chaplain, Mullins emerged from the back room of the 18-wheeler-truck-turned-mobile-chapel with a sheepish smile on his face. "It was like a weight took off my shoulders," he explained about his smile and straightened back. Mullins is among the expected 60 to 70 truck drivers who come or rededicate their lives to Christ each year at the TFC mobile chapel in Harrisburg. There, truck drivers find refuge from loneliness and temptations in a chapel manned by chaplains 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More

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4 in 10 Americans see Jesus' return by 2050
Religion News Service via BeliefNet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Four in 10 Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050, while a slightly larger portion (46 percent) don't believe they'll see a Second Coming by mid-century, according to a new survey. As part of Smithsonian Magazine's 40th anniversary issue, 1,546 adults were asked to guess the forecast of war, energy, science and religion in the next 40 years for a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for People & the Press. More

U.S. soccer's Goodson says 'God has been faithful'
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Some Christians have miraculous stories of how they came to know Christ. Some have found themselves in the deepest, darkest moments one could possibly imagine and realized there was nowhere left to turn but to a Higher Power. Clarence Goodson, a defender on the U.S. World Cup team, was not one of those stories. More

With no Gulf solution in sight, Louisiana turns to prayer
FOX News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State senators in Louisiana designated last Sunday as a day of prayer aimed at seeking an end to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. Last week, Louisiana state Sen. Robert Adley won unanimous approval of the resolution, which invites people of all faiths from within the state and around the U.S. to focus on divine intervention to find a solution to the crisis. "Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," CNN reported Adley saying in a statement released last week. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us." More

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    NACBA TeleWeb: Tax and Legal Update: Focus Governance
    NACBA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Churches function under many different models of governance but regardless of the model your congregation has adopted they must function under the federal and state laws. This seminar, presented by Frank Sommerville, will review models of governance and help participants to ask the right questions to be sure they have developed adequate models. Join us for this 1-hour TeleWeb seminar on Thursday July 1 at 1:30 p.m. CDT. Member price: $59; non-members: $69. Register today! More
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