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Yep! According to the audio commentary included with an episode on the DVD boxset of the show’s first season, the Spongebob Squarepants characters are all based on the Seven Deadly Sins. I found out about this from “OMG Facts” (or @OMGFacts on Twitter), who puts out tweets informing you of things that most people don’t know (i.e. Babe Ruth kept a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep his head cool). “OMG Facts”, despite their slightly derogatory name, usually gives out some great information. This one about Spongebob was a fun read because they tried to guess which character is which, and I think they hit it head-on. Who knew Spongebob Squarepants had a Biblical reference hidden in it? Can you guess which characters are which before you read the article?


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Many churches have church signs out front that portray inspiring and sometimes funny messages that are intended to intrigue passers-by. The NACBA MultiBrief Weekly Update from a couple of weeks ago highlighted a story from The Gadsden Times that talks about Rainbow Church of Christ in Gadsden, AL. The church has seen a lot of feedback from people who have driven by their sign and have gotten a true sense of how much of an impact it can make. “We show our phone number as a part of the message, and drivers often use their cellphones to enroll,” said Ray Cox, of Rainbow. One woman had even changed her mind about suicide after reading the weekly message that said, “HANG IN THERE.” We don’t always realize how important our good deeds can be to others, no matter how big or how small. It’s cool to see how this one church has made a point to put up a message come rain or shine. If you haven’t seen the story, be sure to check it out here.

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One challenge for many churches is that of finding committed volunteers for events and charity projects. Whether it is getting someone to volunteer for the first time or holding on to current volunteers, it can be a real struggle to get people to participate. What seems to be really effective is asking for help when you are talking to people face to face. It shows people that you have put thought into them and that you think they would be an asset to the event. People are also more aware of how important it is to your ministry and the community when you speak with them directly about volunteering. What is said in person is usually always more meaningful than what is said in an email or newsletter. An article from YouthWorker.com outlined “5 Ways to Recruit and Retain Volunteers for Youth Ministry” that talks about different ways to increase your number of volunteers. Two tips that I thought could be of most use were to “Provide Practical and Transferable Training and “Do Not Underestimate the Power of the Call”. Unless you are part of a smaller church, it won’t be as easy to spread the word about upcoming volunteer opportunities unless you utilize tools like PhoneTree, the telephone messaging system invented in the church community and integrated with your Shelby software to facilitate your church’s communication needs. ShelbyMAILROOM is an address management system that integrates with your Shelby data to increase the efficiency of your bulk mailings. These tools are great ways to reach out to members and visitors when the face-to-face approach is not available. How does your church reach out to volunteers? What have you seen to be most effective? (Are you a youth worker interested in what Shelby church management software can do for you? Please visit www.shelbysystems.com/youthministry.)

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Protect My Ministry has created a free video to show you how easy it is to streamline the background screening process through your Shelby v.5 software. Just go to shelbysystems.com/protectmyministry, fill out the short form and your video will start. If you’ve ever wondered how to best protect the members and children of your church, this powerful tool is it. For additional information & tools, please visit the Add-Ons Documentation section of our Resource Library found at shelbysystems.com/resourcelibrary. For package pricing & FAQs, you can also download the Background Screening (Protect My Ministry) sheet on the Resource Library. If you have any questions, feel free to call (800) 877-0222 or email sales@shelbyinc.com.

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I LOVE this article by Jen Floyd Engel from Fox Sports who calls out all of the Tim Tebow “haters” and asks them what they have against the Denver Broncos player. She cuts no corners and says it like it is, putting her emotions and opinions into a well-written story about how unfair it is to criticize someone who stays positive and who doesn’t waiver in his beliefs. Her main focus is on the Detroit Lions players who mocked Tebow by kneeling and pretending to pray to God, as Tebow has been known to do after a great play. This mockery has now been coined as “Tebowing” and the idea has gone viral. Engel slams the people that take jabs at the Broncos player and says, “Tebow is just a guy with the good sense to say thanks. Instead of taking his cue, we mock his faith.” This paragraph from the article says so much in just a few sentences.
What this whole repeating cycle of Tebow — rip his game, mock his faith, rise to his defense, repeat — has revealed about religious discourse in America is ugly. We have become so enamored of politically correct dogma that we protect every minority from even the slightest blush of insensitivity while letting the very institutions that the majority holds dear to be ridiculed. And this defense that Tebow invites such scrutiny with his willingness to publicly live as he privately believes calls into question what exactly it is we value.
Engel goes to on say that the attacks on Tebow seem to be more personal than anything else and if it were another religion being mocked, like Islam, there would be an abundance of apologies from the Lions players and staff and the idea of  “Tebowing” would be quickly abolished. We all know that media stories on Tim Tebow can be overdone and analyzed from every angle. Engel’s piece is the first that I’ve seen from a well-known sports station that writes such a strongly-worded article defending the faith and actions of a professional sports player. I, for one, was proud to read what she wrote. I respect a journalist who’s not afraid to turn it around and speak out against what is popular. How do you feel about Tim Tebow? Do you think it is OK or a double standard that “Tebowing” has been permitted in a professional sport?  


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Chick fil-A didn’t just invent the chicken sandwich. They do a lot of important work in the community as well. Chick fil-A’s The Summit, nestled in the majestic mountains of Ft. Payne, Alabama, is a place of revival and restoration for Christians. It is designed specifically for ministry leaders to help them unplug and reconnect with God. Summit Director, Ryan Carter, joins us to explain what this wonderful retreat has to offer hard working Christians.

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Today’s post was written by Tim Cool, who is the founder of Cool Solutions Group and who has spent the past 25 years working with churches on their ministry facility needs. Cool Solutions Group is a provider of industry leading software solutions to assist churches in promoting their Facility Stewardship Initiatives. For more information on facilitEspace and ministrEspace and how they interface with Shelby/Arena products, contact them at .

This is a thought-provoking question… maybe just provoking to some… but it is one that I think needs to be addressed.

I am a firm believer that everything on this earth belongs to God. Our money, our houses, our cars, our families. The Word of God. The people we encounter….and the facilities that we worship in. I believe that God has entrusted us with the stewardship of all of these items.  For me, I believe that stewardship is less about what we give and more about taking care of what we have been GIVEN… and what has been entrusted to us! So, how do we define entrusted?  According to dictionary.com, it can be defined as follows: ENTRUST: to charge or invest with a trust or responsibility; to commit (something) in trust to; confide, as for care, use, or performance What does that mean to you?  To me, it means that when something (or someone) is entrusted to me, I am responsible to care for it… to be in charge of it… to be responsible for it. Sounds a lot like stewardship. If you have grown up in the church or have been involved in church for any period of time, you have heard the term “stewardship”, and I am sure that in almost every case, it revolved around money or raising money. In these cases, we are generally talking about financial stewardship, which is a critical element of our spiritual life, as well as the life of our ministries. The word “money” is used over 140 times in scripture, and if you add terms such as “gold” and “silver”, the number is huge. For example, words and phrases revolving around financial matters are mentioned more often in the Bible than prayer, healing and mercy. But stewardship is not just about money and finances…it refers to (as its definition above indicates) the caring for or oversight of something of someone else’s. The EPA has a section on their website that explains “environmental stewardship”. They define it as: Environmental stewardship is the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment. So, how do we apply this to our ministry facilities? Do we really believe that God has entrusted these to us, thus making us stewards of their care and oversight? I have witnessed churches and ministries spending millions of dollars in the construction and renovation of their facilities,but then fail to maintain them (i.e. steward them).  They wave the banner of “stewardship” when raising money to build them…but then neglect to steward them after dedication (i.e. care, management and maintenance). Now, I do not know very many churches that are not using some form of accounting software to manage their flow of “stewarded monies” and track congregant giving.  This is great and I applaud churches for being diligent with the monies entrusted to them.  Many churches use membership management software to steward the people who God has entrusted to them.  Again… hats off to you. BUT, I am shocked at the number of churches that do not have a proactive, effective and efficient way of managing the use and care of their facilities. Do we not believe that the care of our facilities is an important aspect of our stewardship initiatives? Do we not believe that we will be held accountable for how we steward all of the blessings that God has entrusted to us? I would argue that Facility Stewardship is actually a key component of Financial Stewardship.  That is why we believe so passionately that having the right tools to schedule and plan the use of your facilities, as well as manage service requests, work orders, vendors and equipment, is critical to the short term and long term financial and physical health of a ministry. Facilities are intended to be used… which requires planning and coordination. I love it when I see a church’s calendar jam-packed with ministry activities, but that requires planning, coordination, physical care and attention.  All facilities deteriorate… PERIOD… and we need to be vigilant with our care of them. If we do not, we will end up with facilities that do not properly reflect our mission, vision or culture.  They will become functionally and physically obsolete… and who does that serve? In far too many cases, the facilities become a deterrent to reaching others instead of a tool to enhance ministry. So, if stewardship is important to your church, don’t neglect your FACILITY Stewardship.    

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Keeping up with some of the cool things happening with the United Methodist Church, we’ve found another neat video from YouTube, this time highlighting Pauley Perrette of NCIS. She talks about her faith and her strong relationship with God that seems to grow stronger with age. Perrette finds comfort and knowledge at the Hollywood United Methodist Church and said that she feels like, “Every part of this church’s DNA, every part of it, is about love and non-judgment, complete acceptance, grace, forgiveness, and equality for everyone.” Perrette’s success on NCIS came after she moved to Manhattan to work on her Master’s degree. She became a bartender to help pay the bills and that is where she met a director, who soon hired her to do commercials… which then led her to television. Perrette had Romans 12:21 tattooed on her finger, which states, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” a good reminder to stay grounded and not let other influences bring you down.