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Tithing, charitable spending take a hit
St. Louis Today    Share    Share on
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Tithing to mainline Protestant churches as a percentage of income is at its lowest level in at least 41 years, according to a new report, and churches are keeping a greater share of those donations for their own needs. Parishioners gave about 2.38 percent of their income to their church, according to "The State of Church Giving through 2009," a new report released last week by Empty Tomb Inc., a Christian research agency in Champaign, Ill. Just over 2 percent of income went toward congregational finances, such as operating costs and building expenses. Only 0.34 percent of parishioner income went to what Empty Tomb calls "benevolences," such as charities and seminary training beyond the four walls of the church. More

PLAYTIME Play Elements Certified Antibacterial and Fungal Resistant

“The glossy PLAYTIME urethanes on our products make them naturally antibacterial,” says Mike Evans, President and CEO of PLAYTIME. “This is great news for centers that offer a healthy, clean play environment for families.” MORE

How to create a generosity culture in your church: 5 things you need to do
Church Central    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For a car to run well, all the pistons must be firing properly. For a church’s finances to run well, all the "generosity" pistons must be firing as the church moves forward. But most churches today are struggling with the “Kluth Rule of 1/3rds on church giving - - 1/3 of the giving records are blank, 1/3 show less than $500/year, 1/3 show over $500/year”. For a church to develop a generosity culture, they must understand the 5 spiritual pistons that are needed to help their church grow generous givers and giving. To create a generosity culture, the following 5 things are needed. More

Simple tips to overcoming hidden dangers of church work    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In general, church offices are staffed by people who desire to serve God, and tend to think of their jobs as "callings" or "ministries." I know I did! I showed up at my small church office filled with great anticipation of what I would accomplish in the name of the Lord. Once the honeymoon was over, I found myself discouraged and feeling disillusioned. There are five pitfalls of church office work that if they're not dealt with can leave you feeling as disillusioned to your job as I was. Use the following tips to overcome the stumbling blocks that often discourage us in our jobs. More

Implement A Cohesive, Comprehensive Check-In Process
Children are the church’s most precious resource and child security is one of the biggest issues that today’s church faces. Cohesive check-in processes keep everyone safe and secure. For more information on implementing a comprehensive security process, download ACS ministry guide How Secure Is Your Children’s Ministry today. more

Through crisis pregnancy centers, churches promote life, love
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For some women, crisis pregnancy centers -- staffed often by church volunteers -- are a haven that provides life-saving support. At least that was the case for Fiona Wingate, a young woman who visited New Life Pregnancy Center in Phoenix in March. Lori Palmer, the center's director, prayed over Wingate after administering a free pregnancy test, which was negative only because it was taken too early. Palmer asked her to come back in several days for another test. But Wingate did not return until four months later, and she was obviously pregnant. More

United Methodist initiatives find homes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Methodist churches, conferences and the Board of Pension and Health Benefits are finding creative ways to help people find homes — and stability — one family at a time. Some churches, like First Saints, are using resources already within congregations. Other United Methodists are building new homes — or multimillion-dollar developments. These are just a handful of the ministries across the country working to help people get back on their feet by starting with a place to call home. More

Free Guide to
Year-End Giving

November and December make up the most generous season of the year. Even people who wouldn’t usually consider giving are drawn to thoughts about generosity. This guide from ServiceU offers helpful information for church staff and lay leaders as they prepare for the most important financial season of the year.
Learn More

Couponing helps family, leads to ministry opportunities
Associated Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Want to save money and be ready to minister when a need arises? Teresa Robinson believes couponing fills the bill -- or actually cuts it often by more than half -- allowing avid coupon users the ability to meet emergency food needs rapidly at a low cost. "Most start out because someone [in the family] is without a job or needs help," said Robinson, who lives in Climax Springs, Mo. "The economy is also driving people to be more careful with money." More

Why we must talk about faith at home
Crosswalk    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One of the most exciting research projects at the Fuller Youth Institute is our College Transition Project, a culmination of 5 years of study of 500 youth group kids as they transition to college. The goals of this research are to study youth group graduates as they leave youth ministry and to offer help to parents, leaders and churches in building a faith that lasts, or “Sticky Faith.” In the midst of a host of factors that help develop Sticky Faith, some of our most intriguing findings point to the role of parents and family conversations about faith. More

Survey: Pastors feel privileged and positive, though discouragement can come
LifeWay    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Though almost all pastors feel privileged to be in ministry, a majority also experience loneliness and discouragement. That is the finding of a survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors. A full 98 percent agree with the statement, "I feel privileged to be a pastor," with 93 percent strongly agreeing. Only about 0.5 percent of pastors disagree with the statement. Yet more than half (55 percent) also agree with the statement, "I find that it is easy to get discouraged," and 55 percent say being in pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times. More

Can banks ask churches for donor records?
Managing Your Church    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A national bank recently subpoenaed an Iowa church’s financial records, seeking information about donations made by a man whose business defaulted on a $650,000 loan. The financial institution wants to know about cash and property given to the church by the man and his wife since 2005, according to The Des Moines Register newspaper. The man’s lawyer says the bank intends to try to collect money he gave by investigating to see if those gifts qualify as fraudulent transfers. The amount the bank can receive from the church may depend on whether or not the man files for bankruptcy. More

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Circus ministry a high-wire act of faith for chaplain
Religion News Service    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With a stairwell for a confessional and a folding table for an altar, the lobby of the DCU Center arena doesn’t look especially holy—until a band of circus workers gathers for Mass. That’s when the Rev. Jerry Hogan dons a colorful chasuble festooned with images of big tops, lions and zebras. As he administers the Eucharist, off-duty performers help sanctify the space by kneeling on the marble floor, praying and breaking spontaneously into Portuguese song. The event is no act, even if it is associated with a three-ring circus. More

Study: Christians concerned about global poverty, unaware of progress
The Christian Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to a new study, 93 percent of Christians say they are concerned about global poverty, but many of them are unaware of the progress that has been made in the quest to eliminate poverty worldwide. The study was conducted in September by the Barna Group, which surveyed 1,429 adults in the U.S. with an oversampling of young Christians. The survey was commissioned by Compassion International, a Christian organization that ministers to over 1.2 million needy children in 26 different countries worldwide. More
See related articles:
The new face of American poverty is often a child's (USA Today)

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Fishers of the deep
Church Executive Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
“We fish deep,” says Pastor Rickie Rush, who believes the 70-foot long, 75,000-gallon salt-water aquarium in the main entry of his church symbolizes the ministry focus of their new church facility. The Inspiring Body of Christ (IBOC) in Dallas is organized around the principle that all of the members are “fishers of the deep,” seeking out and welcoming those might be otherwise considered out of place as “odd fish.” This marine theme is reflected in the design of the 176,000-square-foot facility. When founded in 1990 the church seated 63 members and has grown to a congregation of more than 10,000 today. More

Bible's authors decoded by computer
ABC Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A group of Israeli researchers has built a computer algorithm to decode one of the most important books in Western culture: the Bible. The Bar-Ilan University team used the program to examine what style parts of the Christian Old Testament, or Pentateuch, were written in. That doesn't tell you how many authors wrote it, but since the two differing styles the team found, priestly and non-priestly, accord generally with the consensus of scholars, it shows that those differences aren't a coincidence. More

George Fischoff presents
Gauguin/Savage Light A Musical

By composer of classic hits "Lazy Day" and "98.6" Longest running Off-Broadway musical in years!

Read the NY Times Review

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