1. Last chance to give 2014 reminders for charitable contributions. "Many churches advise their congregations during the first worship service in January that checks contributed on that day can be credited to the previous year if they are dated December 31 of the previous year. This advice is incorrect and should not be given" ("Charitable Contributions," by Richard R. Hammar, 2015 Church & Clergy Tax Guide). Provide this reminder and several other important ones to your congregation before the end of 2014 with these easy-to-use bulletin inserts.
2. Holiday survey reveals personal touch still matters. Technology may permeate most every aspect of our lives, but a new Barna Group survey reveals people of all ages and backgrounds still prefer that personal touch over digital communication in important moments. It's a revelation church leaders should note when it comes to congregational care overall. For instance, this holiday season, personal notes and phone calls still ranked far higher than e-cards, emails, texts, and other digital messages:
Most people say they will take time to place a phone call; more than 8 in 10 say they are likely to phone absent friends or family members (82%). Calling is the most popular option across the board for all generations: Millennials are just as likely (81%) as Gen-Xers (80%) and Elders (81%) and only slightly less likely than Boomers (84%) to pick up the phone on Christmas Day. … Similarly, technology hasn't significantly impacted the long-standing tradition of sending Christmas cards. Only 2% of all adults plan to send Christmas cards digitally this year ("'Tis the Season: How Technology is Affecting the Holidays," barna.org).
3. Honor staff members by honoring their families. "One of my previous pastors taught me the importance of honoring the families of your team members. Give your staff a day off on their spouse's birthday and their anniversary. Write a note of thanksgiving to the entire family of a staff member. Offer to provide childcare so a couple can have a night out" ("10 Ideas from Wise Leaders," by Chuck Lawless, ThomRainer.com).
4. Repair a broken work relationship. "If you haven't been getting along with someone at work, there are ways you can repair the relationship. First, ask yourself what's happening so you know what needs work. Are you having trouble communicating? Are you failing to see eye-to-eye on things? Give up being right, and resist your tendency to analyze every detail of what's happened. ... Instead, look forward and reflect on what you want from the relationship. Try to see the other person's perspective. When you're ready to approach him or her, make it on neutral ground. Go out for lunch or coffee, rather than asking to meet at one of your desks. Don't debate what went wrong or who is at fault. Focus on the bigger picture or a common goal you share. But don't expect the relationship to change overnight; it takes time to reestablish trust and reciprocity" (Adapted from "Fixing a Work Relationship Gone Sour" by Amy Gallo, hbr.org).
5. Notable quote: "We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden." —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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