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Study: Spirituality may help to boost feelings of happiness
Houston Chronicle    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The most religious Americans also have the highest rates of well-being, according to a new Gallup survey. The finding is based on a survey of more than 550,000 people about their physical and emotional health and their work environment. Overall, the very religious received a score on Gallup's well-being index of 68.7 percent, while both the moderately religious and the nonreligious received a score of 64.2 percent. The very religious were defined as those who said religion is an important part of their daily lives and they attend worship services at least every week or almost every week. More

Churches get creative in dealing with recession
Covington News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The recent downturn in the economy has affected everyone. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and even those who are employed have friends, family, or neighbors who are out of work. Many with jobs have suffered pay cuts or taken jobs with less pay. The economic downturn has affected Newton County, Ga.’s, faith community, too. It’s led to churches and other religious institutions handling the recession creatively and in ways that show strong faith. More

An Extra Sunday of Giving
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

Study finds large churches can do better at retaining members
Associated Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Large congregations are more likely than small churches to emphasize evangelism and recruitment of new members but significantly less likely to contact members who stop attending, according to a recent study. A little more than half of surveyed congregations said they definitely would contact an active member who stopped attending to find out why, and another quarter said they probably would. Among churches larger than 500 members, however, just 37 percent reported a practice of contacting members who stop attending. More

3 legal land mines for ministries
Resonate or Die    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lawsuits and ministry are two words you typically don’t see together, but sadly, church leaders must think about the possible reality of a lawsuit and be proactive to ensure their ministry remains effective and free of legal woes. Lawsuits against churches have increased over 2,000 percent since 1992. Regardless of your staff’s size, it’s important to keep these three best practices in mind. More

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Saying 'thanks' to Sunday School leaders
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's easy to take Sunday School leaders and workers for granted. You count on them to show up early -- or at least on time -- every week of every month, all year long, prepared to lead boys and girls or men and women in an engaging Bible study experience. You expect them to respond to the ministry needs of their class members. You are excited when they report on an outreach contact with a prospect. As we approach Thanksgiving, this is a great time to think about how to say "thank you" to these wonderful servant-leaders. What are some ways to show them your gratitude in a way even remotely proportionate to the size of the job? Here are a few ideas. More

Keeping winter outings safe
Your Church    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many churches sponsor recreational activities during the winter months. A few safety tips can greatly reduce the potential for serious injuries. In recent years, the number of total injuries to skiers has declined, but the number of head injuries has stayed about the same. However, for snowboarders, both numbers have significantly increased. The overall accident rate has tripled and head injuries have increased by a factor of five. One important factor is that children are more likely to experience a head injury and are participating in snowboarding in increasing numbers, especially for those between 7 and 11 years of age. More
Xerox FreeColorPrinters
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PLAYTIME Keeps Kids Active During Cold Weather with Indoor Play
The CDC recommends kids get an hour or more of physical activity each day. But when the cold weather sets in, some youngsters do not get as much exercise as they need for optimum health and development. PLAYTIME has the perfect invitation to parents for keeping their kids active indoors during the winter months. Read more.
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Methodists seek better pastors, vital churches to fight shrinking rolls
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Better pastors. Healthier churches. Less bureaucracy.United Methodists hope that combination will help turn around decades of declining membership and attendance, according to a Call to Action proposal being discussed by Methodist leaders. The proposal blames a lack of leadership for the denomination's struggles. The church has lost 2.89 million members in the United States since 1970, dropping to 7.8 million today. The report's authors say the drop is killing the church's effectiveness. More

Faith groups in New Jersey help homeowners
The Philadelphia Inquirer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For many homeowners facing foreclosure, reaching out for help is hard. They are embarrassed and afraid. In June, more than one in 10 New Jersey homeowners were in foreclosure or at least three months behind on mortgage payments. Yet when state and county officials host meetings at public libraries or courthouses to discuss counseling services, a typical showing is 50 people. When church ministers have teamed up to hold such events, however, the turnout has been dramatically different: 400 people in Pleasantville, 300 in Lindenwold, 250 in Willingboro. With far-reaching networks effective at spreading word about assistance programs, faith-based groups are well-positioned to help in communities with high foreclosure rates, state officials say. More

Who's losing sleep over your church's finances?
Building Church Leaders    Share    Share on
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Edwin Friedman once said, "Stress comes less from overwork than from taking responsibility for the problems of others." We can adapt these words for church finance: "Stress comes less from money challenges than from taking responsibility for the money problems of others." So often pastors end up carrying the anxiety for church finances. Who is staying awake at night? More

Long hours, hard work, but youth pastors love it
The Modesto Bee    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Three decades ago, when the Rev. Dave Kerr arrived at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, the role of a youth pastor was often a short-term, fast-paced job for young, mostly single men, sometimes fresh out of college with no formal theological training. "The age of youth pastors was mostly 19 to 25," Kerr said. "The average stay for a youth pastor back then was like a year. Now, many youth pastors are on five-year, six-year, seven-year tracks. Some are staying longer. Youth pastors are going to seminary now, or have come out of seminary. We've got youth pastors who are older, more mature, more grounded. More

Garden connects church, community
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Four decades ago, a fire broke out in a Boston neighborhood. Homes were leveled to ash and lots were left empty. The community banded together and transformed the area into something positive for a neighborhood that had faced tragedy. A group of neighbors in collaboration with a local school created an urban garden -- an infusion of green space and art. But with time, weeds -- some 5 feet tall -- took over the area. Rather than being a place of rest and solitude, it became known for dodgy activities. But that began to change last year when Shawmut Springs Church in Boston was awarded a grant to help rebuild that portion of the community. Church members saw the restoration not only as a way to improve their community but as a way to reach out and minister. More

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The pastor and his sermons on the lot
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You never know where a churchman might find inspiration. For the Rev. Norman Hammer, it was a drive-in theater. Hammer, then the 36-year-old pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, happened to pass an outdoor movie emporium one day in 1949 and was struck with the idea: Why not hold summer church services in such a setting? He figured it would be perfect for the balmy, open spaces of car-happy Southern California. "A lot of people like to head for the beach or mountains on Sunday," he explained later. "It's hard to get them dressed up and into the church. This way, they come dressed for an outing and can leave for the out-of-doors right after the service." And, so, on July 10, 1949, long before anyone thought of "Honk If You Love Jesus" bumper stickers, Hammer convened what is believed to have been the first drive-in church service. More

How the Bible still shapes the language
Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the past week or so, anyone following the news might have read that Jon Stewart is “a thorn in the side of politicians”; that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada won reelection “by the skin of his teeth”; and that people in the newspaper industry “see the writing on the wall.” That well-informed reader wouldn’t have been especially surprised to hear that these phrases all come from the same source, the Bible. It has long been an article of faith among speakers of English that biblical language — especially that of the Authorized, or King James, version, published in 1611 — has been immensely influential. The KJV, wrote linguist David Crystal in 2004, “has contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-proverbial expressions than any other literary source.” More

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Justices revisit tax credits for religious schools
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Supreme Court on Wednesday returned to a subject that produced a major and closely divided decision eight years ago: how far may the government go in aiding religious schools? In 2002, in a 5-to-4 ruling, the court upheld a school voucher system in Cleveland that parents used almost exclusively to pay for religious schools. Four new justices have joined the court since then, but there was nothing in Wednesday’s arguments to suggest that the issue has become any less polarizing. More

Josh Hamilton tells megachurch 'God first'
The Christian Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton made an appearance at a megachurch Sunday to talk about his team's incredible season, his struggles with addiction and his walk with Jesus Christ. Hamilton's struggle with alcohol and drug addiction in recent years has been public. His most recent relapse took place early last year when he was training to prepare for the upcoming baseball season. In a period of three weeks, he had stopped reading the Bible, praying or being accountable. And it was during that time that he took a drink, which led to at least 10 more. Recalling the moment, Hamilton said on Sunday, "It's because I took God out of first place." More

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