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Well, it’s Christmas in only three days and I hope everyone has avoided the stress and crowds that come along with this special holiday. It’s a great feeling when you have everything done and you can sit down with family and friends and finally celebrate what the season is really about: the birth of Christ. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the chaos, but this is a time to take a deep breath, get closer to God, and rejoice in the blessings that you have. Below are two things that I thought you might like. The first is a link to what I thought was a very creative interpretation of the nativity in modern times with social media. The second thing is the link to our Shelby Christmas card (video), in case you missed it. The third thing is part of the Christmas story as it is written in the Bible. From everyone at Shelby Systems, we hope you all have a safe and very merry Christmas!
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHNNPM7pJA
  • /2010/12/15/merrychristmas/
  • Matthew 1:18-25
  • This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

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Cell phone photoTechnology is fast-moving and so advanced nowadays, especially with the anticipation of paying for your belongings by using your phone. Near Field Communication, or NFC, allows mobile devices and payment terminals to communicate with each other and read special tags. This new technology is soon going to hit every person with a cell phone and our flimsy credit cards will be out. Samsung’s Nexus S was released December 16, 2010 and Nokia has said that they will have the NFC technology on all of their phones in 2011. This technology will allow you to walk into Starbucks and swipe your mobile device over their NFC devices, essentially charging your cup o’ joe to your phone. Scratch Google taking over the world. Cell phones are taking over the world. (I know we all know this, but did you ever think that so much of your life would be invested in your phone?) I even read an article recently on the M2SYS Blog site that mentioned the use of biometric phones now. Calls, texting, games, video, camera, apps, and now… your wallet as well. What if we treated the Bible the way we treat our phones? (Always in hand or purse paying constant attention to it and freaking out if we leave it somewhere.) We would all be different people, I assume. What will that mean for the credit card companies? What will that mean for us?

“Do you have a Gap card yet, ma’am?”

“Why no… no I don’t… let me add that to my phone real quick…”

What do you think?

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I just finished reading a great article entitled, “The Future of Christian Nonprofits: Responding to tomorrow’s trends today,” by David Kinnaman. This article came from Outcomes magazine and it covered the issue of wrongly-perceived Christians and the attempt of Christian non-profits having to conform to society. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes it’s not… but that all depends on who you’re asking. As Kinnaman states, “”Present-day Christianity” is viewed to be judgmental, hypocritical, out of touch with reality, too political, and anti-homosexual, among other images.” I agree with his statement, and I find it really unfortunate that it has come to that. Why? Because for the most part, these perceptions are untrue. These organizations have to be aware of the ever-changing views on religion and make sure that they can keep all of their contributors happy: the Christians and the non-Christians. He goes on to say, “This means that the changing reputation of Christianity will force our organizations not just to connect with the proverbial “choir” of Christians who support us, but also to maintain viable connections with a culture that desperately needs the gospel.” This should read, “How to sit comfortably between a rock and a hard place”- hence the title. Kinnaman mentions Max DePree in the article, who recommends that in order to keep up with society and to keep your organization alive, you need to be able to accurately describe reality. In other words, see the world for what it is and how people really think. Three other suggestions that Kinnaman had were:
  • being responsive to new opportunities
  • focus on the heart of the mission
  • revise the way you measure your impact (keeping in mind that the ways to connect to people are ever-changing).
How do we protect the Gospel while trying to succeed in our communities? Change…?

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As we all know, many people in the world do not have the ability to buy presents for their friends and family this Christmas, much less the proper food and clothing that they need. It is hard to think of new ideas for ways to reach out to people in need, and it can be especially difficult to get your congregation to join in on your efforts when so many of us are struggling ourselves. I thought for today’s post, I would get into the proper Christmas spirit and suggest a few good organizations that your church could get involved with. I know we are a little over a week away from Christmas already- and many of you are already involved with a charity- but I thought this could be helpful and you can always consider these ideas for the upcoming year or for Christmas next year.
  • First off, I’d like to mention the Salvation Army… one of Shelby Systems’ clients that works internationally to feed, shelter and clothe those who need the most.
  • Another great organization is Habitat for Humanity, an ecumenical Christian housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.
  • One group that has become really important to us this year (in Memphis) is the Orange Mound Outreach Ministries, which is an inner city group that welcomes children five days a week to participate in Bible study, arts and crafts, receive help with homework, and spend time with Christian adults. A meal is given to the children once a day and for some, it is their only meal of the day. If you are not located in Memphis, you can still get involved with a similar organization near you.
  • Another one of Memphis’ treasures, and probably one that is better known to you, is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is known for its research and treatment of children with cancer, and a cool thing that sticks out to me is that they promise to never turn a family away if they are unable to pay. This makes St. Jude a great organization to consider with your donations.
  • My final suggestion is the Ronald McDonald House program. Focused on the health and well-being of children, the Ronald McDonald House provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so that they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.
There are thousands of organizations that your church can be a part of…you just have to do some research and pick the right one for your ministry. You can encourage your ministry to make online donations, or have a food or clothing drive at your church. No gift, no matter how small, will ever go unappreciated. From everyone at Shelby Systems, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

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wrapped giftIn light of the Christmas season, we are offering 15% off of our Shelby v.5 modules such as: Church, Financials, Headquarters and e-Solutions (including: e-Give, e-Donor, e-Registrations and e-Bill) from now until December 31st! Don’t miss out because this deal won’t last long! Use the promo code: DEC2010 Questions? Call: 800-877-0222 Email: *Note: December offer excludes third-party products such as: Connections, ShelbyTeller & Mailroom/Move Agent.

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On the slopesWhen I was a teenager, a fun way to get to know people and learn more about God was to get involved in different church activities. During the winter months, there is plenty to do outdoors that can bring people together. The first thing to consider, however, is how to keep everyone safe. Here goes my embarrassing story… I was in ninth grade and going on my first ski trip with a friend’s youth group. I was so excited, and it was a good way to meet people and bring worship into my little vacation. It was over Christmas break and being from Tennessee, we made the (somewhat) short trip to the mountains of West Virginia. I had never been skiing before but I didn’t want to take the time for ski school since everyone else was headed straight for the slopes. I was doing fine until day two. On the second day, my friends and I decided to ride a ski lift to the middle of a large mountain, confident that we could get off there and slowly ski down. Boy… was I wrong. The chair took us to the very top and dropped us off on a black diamond slope, where I was sure one of my friends was going to have a panic attack. Thinking I was invincible at 15-years-old, I quickly flew down the mountain, rounded a corner, and collided right into the back of a snowboarder adjusting his eye wear. Embarrassingly, I had to be taken down the mountain in a truck to see the medic. My friends saw this as a photo opportunity and had a field day with it. I, too, found some amusement in it until I was told that I had seriously hurt my arm. Needless to say, I was not able to ski for the rest of the trip. The moral of my story is that the whole situation could have been avoided had there been a lot more organization on the trip. Our trip leaders never had any idea about my incident because there was no way for me to give the medics that information. I was also brand new to skiing, but there was never any push for newbies to do the one hour of ski school. And I don’t recall a single person on our trip wearing any safety gear, such as helmets or wrist bands. It is important to know what is going on with each person on your trip, and although I am to blame for my bad decision, I do understand how a 15-year-old might not think about keeping contact info in his or her pocket, or how he or she would think ski school would be a waste of time. Someone should have planned out these minor details and made sure that everyone was adequately prepared. So, the next time you are planning a retreat, in any season, make sure that you have the proper safety precautions sorted out so you can have fun and spend your time worshiping together. Best wishes to you all!


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We have a few great opportunities tomorrow to learn more about two of our Shelby Systems’ products: Arena Select and MinistryLINQ. Arena Select is our web-based software that has a pricing plan designed with your budget in mind. Arena Select is ideal for the church that wants an intuitive, powerful way of expanding its effectiveness. The webinar will take place tomorrow (Wednesday, December 8th) at 2 PM Central time. To sign up, click here. MinistryLINQ is a company that we have partnered with to provide you the ability to process payments directly from your software. To check out one of the MinistryLINQ webinars that are also being held tomorrow (Wednesday, December 8th), click here for the one at 10:00-10:45 AM and here for the one at 2:00-2:45 PM. We hope that you take advantage of these opportunities to see how these two products could be beneficial to your church or non-profit organization. See you there!

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Happy Friday! It is always nice to know what you are thinking about us, and we love getting feedback from you. One of our clients from Shepherd of the Hills Church, Jeremy Hoff, was asking around about Shelby Systems’ Payroll feature and was looking for feedback from our Payroll users on what they think about it. All of the feedback was positive, but I wanted to give everyone else a chance to see what some of our users are saying, as well as to take this moment and say ‘thanks’ to all of you. There is some great information here…

“I have worked lots of different PR programs and I think Shelby is one of the best. We are small but I still love how easy it is to use. I say go for it. It will pay for itself in just a few months.”

-Sue Nichols- Parish Manager at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church

“Shelby Payroll is a great program. We used ADP for several years, but pulled it in-house in 1995 and are SO glad we did. Periodically, my boss will ask if we should consider outsourcing – but so far, I see no reason why we should. Doing it ourselves may cost us a bit more time for the reporting side of things, but we save way more money in ADP fees than we spend on the salary for our employees to do it for us.

I would also recommend the third party product, Time-Clock Plus. It interfaces with Shelby and eliminates manual entry of hours. Shelby Systems actually uses this for their payroll processing.”

-Cindy Rose- Finance/Accounting Manager at Christian Life Center

“We have about 55 employees and do payroll every other week. Piece of cake, including the tax forms, and the Shelby support is amazingly up-to-date on this stuff!

The minister’s “quirks” are handled very easily. The data input is about as simple as it gets, and you have to do the data part of it even if you outsource.

I will say, however, that we are blessed not to have the nasty stuff–garnishments, out-of-state people, etc. But, Shelby has a place for those things, too. It’s all in how it’s set up. Once the setup is done correctly, the thing just about runs itself! I don’t think I could ever be convinced to outsource.”

-Lori Manning at Zoar Baptist Church

Our clients are so important to us and we appreciate all of you. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. I sound like a recording on an answering machine, don’t I?