Washington National Cathedral to wed same-sex couples

According to CNN, Washington’s National Cathedral is set to bless and wed same-sex couples:

When laws went into effect in three states for same-sex couples to marry, many were quick to line up at their city halls to exchange vows. Now they may do so in one of the nation’s most prominent churches – the Washington National Cathedral.

Most Americans know the house of God, also called the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, as a place where sacred rites are carried out on behalf of the nation. It has been host to the funerals of numerous presidents and of inaugural prayer services for four presidents, including Barack Obama.

But it is also an active house of worship in the Episcopalian Church, said the Cathedral’s dean, Gary Hall. The denomination has developed a blessing rite that mirrors current wedding ceremonies for heterosexual couples and allows each bishop to decide to allow same-sex marriages in their churches or not.

Bishop Mariann Budde decided to allow the rite, since same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and now in neighboring Maryland as well, Hall said.

It was Budde’s decision that led Hall to create the same-sex rite.

He sees it as “another historic step toward greater equality.”

The states of Washington, Maine and Maryland all legalized same-sex marriages in referendums during the 2012 general election. It was already legal in the nation’s capital.

// Read the whole story here…


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Granger Community Church: 2012 year in review video

Here’s another great ministry video report for the year for Granger.  Granger always does a great job communicating and casting vision through video story:

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RESEARCH: Average SBC Lead Pastor pay: $60k – $72k

The average pay of a senior pastor serving a Southern Baptist church in America for 2012 was $60,774.  That’s for pastors that live in church housing.  For those who don’t, the average is more like $72,840.  That doesn’t include cash payments that most pastors get as reimbursements (like for mileage, conference reimbursements, books, etc.

That’s the synopsis from SBC Voices.

LifeWay and GuideStone collaborate on the compensation survey. The  latest is available here.


Does this strike you as high, low, or just right?

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2012 Word of the Year

This is official, folks…

It’s direct from the American Dialect Society.

(It doesn’t get much more official than that!)

The 2012 word of the year is…



“This was the year when the hashtag became a ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk,” Ben Zimmer, chair of the ADS’ New Words Committee, said in a statement. In the Twittersphere and elsewhere, hashtags have created instant social trends, spreading bite-sized viral messages on topics ranging from politics to pop culture.”

The word of the year in 2010 was similar:  ”TWEET”

What would YOU have proposed as the word of the year for 2012?  What do you think it will be for 2013?

// Read more here…

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IBM’s 5 in 5: Top innovations that will change the way you work in the next 5 years

Each year for the last seven years, the scientists at IBM have released their list of five innovations that they feel have the greatest potential to change the way we work and live during the next five years.

Here’s what they came up with this year:

1) Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone.  Imagine using your smartphone to shop for your wedding dress and being able to feel the satin or silk of the gown, or the lace on the veil, from the surface on the screen. Or to feel the beading and weave of a blanket made by a local artisan half way around the world. In five years, industries like retail will be transformed by the ability to “touch” a product through your mobile device.

2) Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words. We take some 500 billion photos a year, and 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. But computers today only understand pictures by the text we use to tag or title them; the majority of the information — the actual content of the image — is a mystery. In the next five years, systems will not only be able to look at and recognize the contents of images and visual data, they will turn the pixels into meaning, making sense out of it similar to the way a human views and interprets a photograph.

3) Hearing: Computers will hear what matters.  Ever wish you could make sense of all the sounds around you and be able to understand what’s not being said? Within five years, distributed systems of clever sensors will detect elements of sound such as sound pressure, vibrations and sound waves at different frequencies.

4) Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter. What if we could make healthy foods taste delicious using a different kind of computing system built for creativity? IBM researchers are developing a computing system that actually experiences flavor, to be used with chefs to create the most tasty and novel recipes. It will break down ingredients to their molecular level and blend the chemistry of food compounds with the psychology behind what flavors and smells humans prefer.

5) Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell. During the next five years, tiny sensors embedded in your computer or cell phone will detect if you’re coming down with a cold or other illness. By analyzing odors, biomarkers and thousands of molecules in someone’s breath, doctors will have help diagnosing and monitoring the onset of ailments such as liver and kidney disorders, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy by detecting which odors are normal and which are not.

via Ooh Ooh That Smell — IBM’s 2012 “5 in 5″: Innovations Of The Senses « Turbotodd.


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How will your church do financially in 2013? Here are some predictions…

Here’s a great read over at ChurchExecutive.  They asked some people involved in church finance and generosity to give some predictions on what 2013 might look like for churches.

Dan Mike is Executive Vice President of Bank of the West.  Here’s what he has to say:

From a financial perspective the last four years have certainly been challenging for churches. However, looking at the data gathered across our church customer base, we have noticed a slow but distinct turnaround.

For example, the general tithes and offerings (T&Os) collected by our customers as reported on statements prepared by certified public accountants increased 4 percent between 2010 and 2011. While 33 percent of those churches saw a 5.9 percent average decline in T&Os, the remaining 64 percent realized a 9.2 percent increase.

Geographic and demographic factors were certainly in play. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see the 4 percent increase after T&Os declined 1 percent between 2008 and 2009, and then increased 1 percent between 2009 and 2010. We should note that we only analyzed the T&Os line.

You can read more from other experts here…

Do you think 2013 will be better or worse for your church financially?  Do you plan to have more or less paid staff in 2013 than you have in 2012?  Is your budget projected to be higher or lower or the same?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment below.

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New Research: Attendance and offerings up for most churches in 2012

New research from Leadership Network and Warren Bird:

Although the size of the churches surveyed varied, the average growth rate for all churches combined is between 6-8% per year, based on worship attendance numbers (adults and children combined) from the past three years.

The majority of churches surveyed have also seen an increase in offerings since January, 2012. This trend increases with church size. Churches of 2,000 or more have seen a significant increase, with 28% increasing in the 6-10% range

Interestingly, the 80/20 “rule” applies to giving. We asked: Which answer best completes this sentence describing how total giving is reflected in your church? “__ of the giving comes from 20% of our family units.” Most churches replied “80%” or “70%”, indicating that a large amount of giving comes from a small number of households.

Churches receive from 1% to 80% of their total offerings via electronic means (online, bank transfer, credit/debit card, lobby kiosk, etc.), with the biggest group of churches receiving between 1% and 20% of their offerings electronically. Larger churches are more likely to receive a greater portion of their giving through electronic donations. All churches surveyed of a weekly attendance of 2,000 or more receive at least some portion of their donations electronically, and the majority are receiving between 1% and 30% of their offerings electronically.

These findings are just a few of the insights from the 2012 Leadership Network Economic Outlook Survey. A full, illustrated report of the complete survey findings is planned to release in early 2013.

via Church Offerings Increased in 2012 – Worship Attendance Too » Leadership Network.

Are you optimistic for 2013?  Is your budget more, less, or the same as it was in 2012?

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Our Take: Pat Robertson says he missed God’s voice. Should we be surprised?

Last week, Pat Robertson came clean.  He said that he had totally missed God’s voice in the 2012 presidential election.

How do you feel when someone tells you that they’ve heard directly from God?

Have you found that it is usually validated later, or is it usually proven to be false?

How do you know if you’ve really heard from God?

Here’s our take (and by ‘our’), I mean my Filter co-host Matt Steen and myself:

What do you think?

Have you ever THOUGHT you heard the voice of God, only to find out later, it wasn’t confirmed?

Have you ever trusted in someone that said they heard God’s voice, only to see it repudiated?

What has been your experience in this area?

Leave your comment below…



New Research: 73% of surveyed churches expect to meet or excede budget in 2012

New research from Leadership Network… this is just being released from Warren Bird and my colleagues at Leadership Network:

Despite the current economic landscape, 73% of all churches surveyed expect to meet budget this year(“this year” being 2012 calendar year or current fiscal year). This response was to the question: “How do you respond to this statement? ‘Our church will meet its budget for this year.’ (whether calendar or fiscal year)

Participating churches ranged in size from less than 50 to over 40,000 people in weekly worship attendance.

The larger the church, the more likely they are to say they will meet budget.

More than half of the churches surveyed use a Jan-Dec calendar year for their fiscal year, but as church size increases, so does the likelihood that the fiscal year does not follow the calendar year.

This optimism is particularly encouraging when you compare the outlook to the responses to the question, “Overall, how has the economic slowdown that began in 2008 impacted your church?

This is just part of the story.  Read more here right now…

How is YOUR church doing?  Are you on-track to meet or excede your budget this year?

And how’s next year looking financially?

Leave your comment/insight below…


Man… I wish someone would’ve told me this earlier…

Will Mancini writes: Every year, Outreach Magazine provides a profile of the 100 Fastest-growing churches in the country. This year, they had a few interview spots entitled, “What I wish someone told me.”

What really struck me are the common threads on vision and alignment. Look for how these pastors discuss clarity and unique calling. The big themes are as follows:

Radical emphasis on mission and vision (including values and strategy)

Willingness to “let people go” who don’t align with the vision

Commitment to stop programs and cut ministry not aligned with the vision

Now, listen to their own words form the 2012 special issue.

Luke Barnett (@LWBarnett),  Phoenix First Assembly of God (12th Fastest-growing)

At first you think the mobilizing leadership happens naturally, like leaders and volunteers and magically appear because you have a great idea, but that’s not so. Over time you learn that you have to be intentional in mobilizing and recruiting leaders and you have to develop the leaders that have bought into the vision and feel appreciated.

John  Beukema (@John Beukema), King Street Church (39th Fastest-growing)

Some people will never leave no matter what happens and some people will leave no matter what happens. Since that has been true, I wish I had been told how pitiful and unproductive it is to worry over who you retain and who you don’t. Just do the right things, be clear on your mission, and don’t get emotionally invested in who stays or goes.

David Brown (@DavidBrown_Ave), The Avenue Church (44th Fast-growing)

People do not have trouble committing to something. Look around at the ball fields and cheerleading meets. The church has been slow at giving them something worth committing to be in. When leaders are passionate about the vision God has given the local church and begin to share that vision people will follow.

// Read more here:  “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me:” Pastors of the 100 Fastest Growing Churches Share on Vision and Alignment – Will Mancini.

What do YOU wish someone would have told you about ministry 10 years ago?


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