1. A midyear church finance checkup. “Finish the year strong by tackling 10 church finance tasks now, including this one: Unrestricted revenues. Are year-to-date unrestricted revenues at or near the year-to-date unrestricted revenue budget? If the answer is no: Which line items reflect the largest actual-to-budget variances? Will these particular variances self-correct by year-end based on reasonable projections? Explore ways to correct any revenue deficits” (“The Church Treasurer’s Midyear Checklist,” compiled by Chris Lutes, Church Finance Today SkillBuilders).
2. Strengthening small churches. “Ninety percent of churches in the world are under 200. Eighty percent are under 100. Of the two billion Christians in the world, half of them—one billion people—attend small churches. So what if small churches aren’t a problem to be fixed? What if they’re part of a strategy God wants us to use? After all, it’s hard to imagine that when Jesus said, ‘I will build my church,’ the only thing he had in mind were megachurches, right? Don’t get me wrong. Big churches are great. But there are very, very few of them” (“Introducing Pivot: Rolling Out a Blog to Inspire and Equip Small Church Pastors,” an interview with Karl Vaters by Drew Dyck, LeadershipJournal.net).
3. Six elements of church vision statements. “The six elements of a church vision statement are:
- The vision statement must be biblical
- Have the vision statement mirror you discipleship process
- Keep the vision statement succinct and memorable
- Ensure your ministries align with the vision statement
- Develop an ongoing vehicle to communicate the vision statement to the members (front end, continuous)
- Communicate expectations of the members in the vision statement”
(“Crafting a Church Vision Statement,” by Thom Rainer, ThomRainer.com).
4. Barna: Views on churches and same-sex marriage ceremonies. “A significant majority of Americans disagree with the argument that religious institutions or clergy should be required to perform same-sex marriages against their beliefs; only one-fifth of Americans (19%) say they should be required to do so. Even among those with no faith, less than one-quarter (24%) argue that such institutions should be required to perform same-sex marriages. There is a substantial minority, however, among Americans under 40 (26%) who believe the law should compel religious institutions and clergy members to perform same-sex weddings” (“Christians React to the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage: 9 Key Findings,” barna.org). Go deeper on what’s next for churches and clergy with same-sex marriage in the September/October 2015 issue ofChurch Law & Tax Report.
5. Leader, close that meeting well!“A common complaint among managers is that despite holding so many meetings, few meetings actually produce results. … The issue? Most meetings lack closure—the necessary link between meeting and impact. To deliberately and effectively close a meeting:
- Check for alignment: Ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Agree on next steps: Nail down specific commitments, concrete deadlines, and follow-up schedules.
- Reflect on what you accomplished: Say, “These are the five things I’m taking away from this,” to validate the conversation and the team.
- Check for acknowledgements: Did anyone contribute to the conversation in a way that needs to be highlighted? Give people credit.”
(“How to Override Your Default Reactions in Tough Moments,” by Lee Newman, hbr.org).
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