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Friendship is religion's 'secret ingredient' for happiness    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A study published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review reveals religion's "secret ingredient" that makes people happier — friendships built in religious congregations. In their study, Religion, Social Networks and Life Satisfaction, Chaeyoon Lim and co-author Robert D. Putnam looked at the link between religiosity and happiness. Surprisingly, it wasn't faith or prayer that made people feel better about themselves. Rather it was the social aspects of religion that led to greater satisfaction, says Lim, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the study. More

Email Communications In Your Ministry
Utilizing mass emailing in the church’s communications strategy ensures gaining people’s attention with information that has been customized to their needs. Put mass email to work and watch the church and community thrive. Download the ACS Technologies ministry guide Communicating Effectively With Mass Emails for more information. more

Should pastors really ban Facebook?
Facebook and Your Marriage    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Apparently it took God until the 21st Century to release a 2.0 version of the Seventh Commandment. According to one pastor, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” should now read, “Thou shalt not Facebook.” After counseling roughly 20 couples with Facebook-related marriage issues, Reverend Cedric Miller has had enough. Rev. Miller issued an ultimatum to the married pastors, staff and leaders at Living Word Christian Fellowship …remove your Facebook accounts or remove yourselves from leadership! So is banning Facebook a pastor’s best defense to the emerging trend of Facebook-related marriage problems? More

'Faith gap' seen among married
The Washington Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In addition to an "education gap" in marriage, there is also a "faith gap," says the new State of Our Unions report on marriage. "Middle America has lost its religious edge," wrote W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, looking at trends over the past 40 years. In the 1970s, the moderately educated — blue-collar, working-class Americans with high school diplomas or some college — were more likely to go to church every week than people with college degrees. That has now reversed: Today 34 percent of college graduates attend weekly religious services, compared with 28 percent of moderately educated Americans, said the report, which was jointly issued by the NMP and Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values. More

Top 7 reasons your church must offer (more) electronic giving options
Church Central    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For many years, churches pondered (and even debated) the question should they collect offerings by having a box in the back or by passing the plate? Today there is a much more important issue that is transforming how people give and how churches collect offerings - - various forms of electronic giving. Here’s a look at the top seven reasons your church must offer (more) electronic giving options. More

Right now is a great time for next year's tax planning for pastors
Church Executive Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Though current year tax planning often occurs at year-end, this is an even better time for “Next Year” tax planning. Planning for next year with employee compensation options can be particularly effective. Most options are more beneficial if operating the entire year, and some options must be in place before the New Year starts. There are several compensation related elements that provide important planning opportunities for churches and pastors. The following descriptions are meant to provide enough information to help you know which ones could be useful to you, and some initial steps to begin planning. More
Xerox FreeColorPrinters
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Faith-based Organizations use Play Areas to Build Community and Educate Children

"We use our PLAYTIME Noah's Ark during story time as a teaching tool in our children's ministry," says Pastor Dr. Steven Hunsley of Family First Church in Overland Park, KS. "Our play area has had a big impact. It sparks interest so children and families want to come back." READ MORE
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Good leaders are good teammates
Today's Children's Ministry    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
No matter how great an individual player you are, your relationship with your team can make you or break you. Teamwork is also important at church. There is a lot of hard work assembling and developing a team. The growth and goals we were able to achieve could not have been accomplished without ministers and ministries working together. The author of this article writes, “But as great as it is to be a part of a team, some of my most frustrating moments in life have come from being a part of a team that did not function well. My least favorite times in ministry have occurred while on staffs made up of people that were all doing their own thing and not functioning as a team. Churches can become so departmental that we don't work together as a team.” More

2 healthy churches merge for bigger impact in Arizona
The Christian Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Church mergers mostly involve one healthy church saving a dying one. But in Arizona, two growing congregations are coming together for the purpose of creating a greater impact. East Valley Bible Church and Praxis Church – just 12 miles apart in Gilbert and Tempe, respectively – have decided to merge to form Redemption Church. "[W]e’ve felt God’s strong call to come together for the good of his Kingdom," church leaders say on their website. "By doing so, we have faith that more people throughout Arizona will be changed by the Gospel." More

Presents or presence? Gifts that matter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What if we just stop? Stop the madness. Stop the frustrating pursuit of the perfect present. Stop shopping until we drop. Stop trying to “people please” through gift giving. What if we spend less, but give more, love more? And here’s a thought. What if we use the holidays to worship God more fully? Those are questions posed by a grassroots group known as the Advent Conspiracy. They’ve partnered with more than 1,000 churches—more than 300 of them United Methodist—in 17 countries to change the way the world does Christmas and the way the world gives presents or…presence. More

Increase your church's donations with online giving

Online giving helps people give more and give more consistently to your church. Learn about the five ways that TransactU™ can help increase your church’s overall giving.

Pastor leads church in solemn assembly, sees lives changed
Baptist Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A pastor in Washington state led his congregation to observe a solemn assembly this fall, to repent of sins and seek God intensely -- and lives were changed. Now he is challenging other churches to throw off the grip of worldliness and set aside a day for repentance and renewed commitment. "I'm absolutely convinced that if there is not a significant awakening in the church, we're in serious trouble," Scott Brewer, pastor of Meadowbrook Church in Redmond, Wash., told Baptist Press. More

3 ways to get teens sharing their faith
The Christian Post    Share    Share on
FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When the teens in your youth ministry begin to share their faith they will pray harder and worship louder. Many of them will read the Bible more diligently and walk in dependence on God more willingly. Why? Because the social stigma associated with evangelism helps teenagers to heighten their spiritual senses and deepen their spiritual thirst. There’s something about the threat of losing friendships, popularity and reputation that can help to trigger spiritual growth like nothing else. The act of evangelism is a visible, visceral way for Christian teenagers to pick up their cross, die to themselves and follow Jesus. If evangelism can help to spur spiritual growth in our teens then how do we get them doing more of it? Here are three practical ways. More

Youth with a passion
Christianity Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Youth With a Mission (YWAM), launched half a century ago by Loren Cunningham in his parents' garage, is active in 180 nations, making it one of the world's most widely dispersed evangelical missions groups. YWAMers, as members call themselves, undertake an enormous range of ministries: caring for Chechen refugees living in Poland; rebuilding Burmese villages after Cyclone Nargis; sharing the gospel through sports at the FIFA World Cup in Cape Town; sheltering the children of prostitutes in Pune, India; and distributing Bibles in Patagonia on the southern tip of South America. Steve Douglass, president of Campus Crusade for Christ International, calls Cunningham "a person who pursued the scope of the Great Commission and who embodies the Great Commission by going to every country in the world. I don't know anyone else who has done that." Indeed, since its inception, YWAM has deployed more than four million people on outreach projects in 240 countries (some of which no longer exist as sovereign states). More

Christmas attitudes land businesses on naughty-or-nice lists at Dallas church's 'Grinch Alert' website
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
First Baptist Church of Dallas is making a list this Christmas, and lots of people will be checking it. The Rev. Robert Jeffress, the church's pastor, announced Tuesday the launch of There people can post on a "naughty" list the names of businesses that aren't acknowledging Christmas through store displays, advertising and greetings to customers. "Too many businesses have bowed down to political correctness," Jeffress said. "I thought this would be a fun way to call out businesses that are refusing to celebrate Christmas." More

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