Church Leadership hmm... thoughts stocks

Things are looking up

You want this chart to keep going up

It may not look like it yet where you live, but there are signs of life in America that things are looking better.

As the chart above shows- stocks have been rebounding for basically 12 months.

You want this chart to start going down

The unemployment rate, while still horribly high, has begun to turn… following the comeback of Wall Street.

As church folk, we know that these two charts are closely tied to people’s ability/willingness to give. When people feel good about their money [and 401k, and for retirees, their investments] than they become more generous. Once unemployment starts to turn, then happy times should come in the offering plate… and begin trickling into staff dollars and budgets.

The upside of 2009’s double crotch kick

Let me explain what I mean by the double crotch kick.

First, going into 2008-2009 pretty much every church in the country was re-evaluating and re-thinking how they do ministry. This was a crotch kick as we all wrestled through the realities that our ministries probably need to change significantly to adapt to culture faster and reach more people.

Second, 2008-2009 were rough years financially. While not in every single church, most churches saw a dip in contributions. This was a swift kick to the groin because you either had to cut staff or cut programming (or sell assets at the bottom of the market) to balance the budget.

The upside, just like in real life, is that getting kicked in the crotch twice in a row causes most people to wise up and get ready to fight.

As I talk to ministry people all over, almost universally they have come through 2008-2009 with a new sense of calling and determination.

While the signs of life haven’t trickled into every corner of the church just yet. It is awesome to report that there are signs (more than the two economic ones I’ve shown here) that things are truly looking up.

May we take to heart lessons learned in the hard times. And may we never again need to get kicked in the crotch twice to be awoken from our slumber.

hmm... thoughts

Things I’m thinking about today

Ever just have a hodgepodge of slush in your mind? Here’s some random thoughts this morning.

– While I still think of myself as a down-the-middle, maybe even conservative evangelical Christian… I’m finding myself tired of the grey haired leaders.

– As much as I’d like to say I agree with the complimentarian position of women in ministry, I thinks it’s just a politically correct version of it’s older self. I think you can put me in the egalitarian position of women in ministry, if those are my choices. I think its straight up revisionism, chauvinism, and crazy hermeneutics to say women can’t be elders and pastors in churches. (Conservative brethren allow women to practically serve in these roles, they just call them “directors of ministry” and pay them 50% less. That’s sexism.)

– Speaking of crazy hermeneutics… I think the rapture was made up by someone who liked science fiction. People argue about a pre-tribulational and post-tribulational rapture of God’s people in revelation. I keep reading the New Testement verses about that, and I have to say I think it was made up. I’m still firmly in the pre-millenial camp, but that whole rapture deal?

– This year’s American Idol is ridiculous. Paula and that new lady are cheerleaders. Seriously, what is Paula on? Randy isn’t say “dog” nearly enough. And the longer this thing goes,  the more I like Simon. At least he tells the truth.

– I’m officially addicted to the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel. I could watch them both 24 hours a day.

– I’m trying to be more green by taking the trolley to work in April. The mile walk back and forth to the trolley stop won’t hurt me either.

– I can’t wait for it to warm up a bit more so I can swim at the Kroc Center.

– The last month has been amazing on the stock market. Seriously, one of my stocks gain 25% just this week.

– Call me a hypocrite. But I made $1 per share on Ford in the last 2 months. Easy money! I think GM is going out of business in the next 6 weeks. But Ford and Chrysler are going to make it.

– I wanted to pull an April Fool’s joke on YS, I really did. But after I saw all the online jokes I was glad I didn’t.

– Speaking of work… I’ve been wanting to run around screaming about how excited I am about new stuff we’re doing. But people there already think I’m nuts so I didn’t.

– I like my iPhone, a lot.

– The other day I had dinner with Gary Shell from our church in Romeo. He asked me if I had any regrets about this move. I feel bad about it but I laughed. No regrets. I’m not the kind of leader who second guesses himself much. But I do miss our friends, big time. We are trying to scrape together a plan to go to Detroit in July.

– Baseball season is upon us, I’m calling it. Cubs win the World Series. 6 games.

– The kids Spring Break begins today. I doubt we’ll make it through April without a trip to Disneyland.

– When Jesus told his disciples, “Take up your cross and follow me” before the crucifixtion… what did they think? Is that kind of like U2’s new song, “Get on your boots?”

– Stoney still hates the water. He’s the only labrador retreiver in the world who won’t swim.

news item stocks

Quick Note to Investors

The sky isn’t falling. As all of that money pours out of Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other financials today… just be reminded of one thing. That money is leaving one place and going somewhere else. As you know, there’s a bull market somewhere. It’s not like all of those investors are taking that money and putting it in their savings account.