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Half will go to the local area, the other half will go to orphans in southwest Africa. The church:  Church of the Resurrection near Kansas City. In the local metro area, the money will go to help refurbish schools, build playgrounds and contribute to literacy programs. // Read more here… … ‘but we could have hired TEN staff members with that money!…’
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David Murrow, the director of Church from Men, has some ideas: 1.  The midsize congregation will disappear. 2.  An explosion of satellite campuses and microchurches 3.  A small number of cutting-edge megachurches led by amazingly talented communicators. 4.  No denominations. 5.  America will have about 200 well-known preachers by 2062. 6.  More money spent on mission. 7.  We’ll need a lot fewer preachers. 8.  We’ll need a lot more campus pastors. 9.  Small group ministry will be more important in 60 years than it is today. 10.  Microchurches and megachurches will cooperate for programs like youth and children’s ministries across cities. You can read more here. Fascinating. What do YOU think the church will look like in 50 years?
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Want to know how you as a leader can help your church be much more generous during 2013?  Brian Dodd has some suggestions: Churches Should Tell The Compelling Stories Of Need Within Their Community Donors are now desiring to give directly to real people with real stories rather than anonymously through charities. Unite Your People Around One Cause At A Time Church leaders need to make the stories of need targeted and specific. only features one story at a time.  This prevents your generous community from being fragmented. Develop Systems Learn to leverage impulse generosity.  When a need arises, be prepared to immediately address it.  Have systems in place where you can quickly address needs. Social Media Is Here To Stay So Leverage It Social media has exponentially raised the awareness of issues and real human stories of those in need.  Generous communities have learned to leverage this. Make Giving Easy Social media and electronic giving makes generosity easy. Expand Your Circle Of Influence Social media expands the circle of those who have the ability and resources to provide solutions.  The entire world now has the ability and access to participate in funding your cause. // Read 6 more ways here: 12 Ways Pastors And Church Leaders Can Create A Generosity Mob In Their Church What have you done in YOUR church to foster generosity?
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Interesting story: An American church is promising gay men they will be cured of their homosexuality if they stroke horses. The Cowboy Church of Virginia, led by chief pastor Raymond Bell, believes homosexuality and other ‘addictions’ can be cured by Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Horse therapy, in the right hands, can be used to help overcome fears, develop communication skills, and is generally beneficial to mental health. But Bell says the horses in his church, a cowboy ranch in the south, are part of teaching men to stop being gay and encourage them to be more masculine. ‘EAP can help any person who is living the homosexual lifestyle or involved in it in anyway,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘The first common misconception is that homosexuality is genetic, or hereditary, or as some say “born this way”. ‘Homosexuality is actually a type of addiction. It is not “curable” as a disease because it is a “choice driven” by the person.’ Bell said he uses EAP to identify how a person got ‘involved’ in homosexuality to begin with. For example, because of rape, abandonment, lacking a male role model, abuse, and having low self-esteem. He said: ‘Homosexuality is a secondary effect from a single, or multiple, primary events in a person’s life.’ When asked if the therapy ever worked, or if it was even valid, the pastor said ‘it is not now, nor has it ever been, in question’. SOURCE Thoughts? Todd

This week on the Filter, my friend Matt Steen and I discuss all kinds of ministry-schtuff.  Things like weather and the end of the world, paying to speak at a conference, a revival reunion, Noah’s ark, live nativity displays, and how honest people think you are as a pastor. We end the conversation with a sincere look at fallen pastors, honesty, and how church leaders should handle struggling leaders. Here are the show notes: Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times (0:30) Finally… a ‘pay to speak at’ conference… You in? (4:45) Churches uses live Nativity displays in response to ban (8:42) Brownsville Revival Reunion? Really? (12:27) Evidence Suggests Noah’s Ark Flood Existed, Says Robert Ballard, Archaeologist Who Found Titanic (17:41) Why I dislike mega churches (22:12) Poll: Who is More Honest Than Pastors? (26:23) Church to decide whether to keep their pastor accused of rape… (29:25) As Kentwood pastor’s embezzlement tally doubles to $316,000, some church members continue their support (31:08)  

Even though the official Church of England has been against gay marriage, lawmakers are looking at a workaround that will allow gay marriage in churches, but give a legal exemption to the Church of Englad and others. Here’s part of an article from Mail Online: Gay marriage will be legal in some British churches by 2014, despite furious Tory warnings that the issue could split the party and cost it the next election. In a surprise move, the Church of England will be guaranteed a blanket exemption from holding same-sex marriages. But this failed to quell a major Tory backlash. Amid stormy scenes in the Commons, Equalities Minister Maria Miller vowed to fast-track plans to legalise gay marriage, saying the change was needed to keep the institution of marriage ‘vibrant and relevant to society’.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller promised a ‘quadruple legal lock’ to prevent the Church of England from being forced to hold gay weddings
She confirmed a government U-turn on the issue which will allow religious institutions, such as the Quakers, that want to conduct gay marriages to ‘opt in’ to the law and hold ceremonies in their churches. But unexpectedly, she announced there would be a specific legal ban on the Church of England and Church of Wales holding gay weddings. Mrs Miller said this would give the Church ‘iron-clad’ protection against legal action by gay rights campaigners. Other religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, will also be allowed to refuse to hold ceremonies for same-sex couples, as will individual vicars. Mrs Miller said the legislation would include a ‘quadruple lock’, meaning no church will ever be forced to conduct a gay wedding unless it wants to. The legal protections include: – A guarantee that no religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises. –  A legal bar on allowing ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their organisation’s governing body has expressly opted in to provisions for doing so. – Amendment of the Equality Act 2010 to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple. – An explicit statement that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples and that Canon Law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply. Read more: Thoughts? Todd

The Times of London has release text from a leaked memo from within the Church of England. (Learning here:  Nothing you write on paper or [especially] in an email is confidential) The Secretary General of the General Synod said the public and political fallout from the recent vote to not allow women bishops is “severe”:
“Parliament is impatient… Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church-State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”
More on the story: A former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, upped the ante when he called on church leaders to “rip up its rule book” and speed through the introduction of women bishops. He said it was “ridiculous” to assume that the General Synod could not reconsider women bishops until 2015. A full 42 of the 44 dioceses of the church voted for legislation that would have made women bishops next year. There are 3,600 ordained women in the Church of England and 37 female bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion, including Africa’s first Anglican woman bishop, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, who was consecrated five days before the defeat in Britain. // Read more here…

Leadership is a big topic in the church these days. Heck… I work for “Leadership” Network. But some say our leadership culture has gone too far.  Lance Ford has written a new book called “UnLeaders”.  He’s a quote from Lance:
The leadership culture in the Church has fed a lot of egos and crowded out the character of Jesus in the name of leadership.
You can read this quote in full context of an interview here… As with anything, when we concentrate just on one thing, we will get derailed. I think leadership in the church is vitally important.  Without great leaders, churches flounder.  Seriously. But do you agree with Lance, that all this concentrate on leadership has fed egos and crowded out the character of Jesus? What do YOU think? Todd

New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii has rented a local school gym for their services for the past 18 years.  They spend nearly $400,000 a year on rent that is paid for the school.  And in the past, they have even patched the roof when it was leaky, and made other physical improvements to the school building at their own cost. But when a nasty storm caused part of the school’s roof to collapse, some are pointing fingers at the church. Sometimes you just can’t win. Click here to watch the news reports and interview with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. Thoughts?