Giving Tuesday

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Today is Giving Tuesday, which is a fantastic way to follow-up the consumer driven, shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  It’s also fitting that Giving Tuesday follows right after Thanksgiving Day.  When I count my blessings and remember all of the things and people for which I am truly thankful, I am inspired to give.

There are a lot of fantastic charities and ministries out there, but this year my wife Susan and I are making a special Giving Tuesday donation to our local church, Discovery Church in Orlando.

Like so many churches across America, Discovery does so much good both locally and globally.  I can’t think of a better place to give than to my local church, can you?  Today, why don’t you consider giving a special gift to your own local church?

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

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Couples Who Spend Less on Wedding Have Longer Marriages

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Some fascinating new research from two economics professors from Emory University has uncovered this startling fact, couples who spend less on their wedding have longer marriages.  This is good news for those of us who are parents of daughters, but it may also shed light on the relationship between finances and marriage.  

The study found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. And couples who spent $1,000 or less on their big day had a lower than average rate of divorce. While the study’s authors didn’t examine why, they do have a few theories.

“It could be that the type of couples who have a … (cheap wedding) are the type that are a perfect match for each other,” said Professor Hugo M. Mialon, who co-authored the study with Andrew M. Francis.

“Or it could be that having an inexpensive wedding relieves young couples of financial burdens that may strain their marriage,” he said.

My wife, the fabulous Susan, and I have coached engaged couples for years and always caution them about planning a great wedding, instead of focusing on having a great marriage.  We have talked with many couples who personally go into debt to pay for a fairy tale wedding, and later find that the stress of that debt and future debt is very tough on their marriage.

Susan is a professional wedding planner and I always marvel at the way she helps couples and their families plan beautiful and meaningful weddings, no matter what the budget may be.

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Have a Weekend to Remember With Your Spouse

The fabulous Susan and I are speaking at the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Getaway in Dallas at the beautiful Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas the weekend of November 13-15, 2015.  We would love to have you join us!  Or choose a city closer to home or one that you want to visit.

And, now for a limited time you can get your registration for half price.  Great marriages don’t happen by accident. Now’s your chance to take an intentional step towards strengthening your marriage and get rewarded for doing so.

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The Grace of God

What God is doing at Discovery Church in Orlando, FL is stunning!  I am so thankful to be a part of this great church.

We are teaching our way through the stories of the Bible and last week I got to share the story from Jonah 3.  It isn’t a story about Jonah, or a big fish or the Ninevites.  It’s about the grace and mercy of God.

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Generous Churches HUB

Recently, I spoke with Tim Nations, my Leadership Network colleague, about the Generous Churches HUB which launches in November 2015.

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Generous Churches Film Festival

What if two hours of your time could result in dramatically increased generosity at your church?

What if just two hours invested next week could bring you ideas that you could use in your services the very next weekend?

It can.  Next Tuesday, in fact.  At 1pm Eastern.

In two hours, you’ll learn what some of the leading churches in the country are doing to increase giving, volunteering, and stewardship at their churches.

You’ll get ideas.

You’ll learn strategies.

You’ll see how simple it can be to do little things that can help your people be more generous.

Like this short video from Sagebrush Church in Albuquerque, NM. It was used as the starting point for a sermon series on generosity…

Thrivent Financial and Leadership Network are proud to present our first-ever Generosity Film Festival this Tuesday, May 19 starting at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific).  We’ll look at the best generosity short-form videos in the following areas:

  • Capital Campaigns/Giving Initiatives
  • Special Projects
  • Sermon Support
  • Promos for Financial Peace University, Crown or other stewardship offerings
  • “Thank You for Giving” pieces

As with all of our Leadership Network online events, this  online two-hour event is totally FREE for you and your staff.  In fact, you’ll get to vote on your favorite generosity video… and your vote could earn the winning church a cash reward to further help them with their future generosity efforts!

Register now for this free online event.  You won’t want to miss it.

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How Much Younger Should Your Next Pastor Be?

My Leadership Network colleague Warren Bird has done some great work on the topic of pastoral succession.  He writes,

He came as a 29-year-old, Louisiana-born, itinerant pastor’s son. But before retiring in 1990, Gardner C. Taylor (1918-2015) had pastored Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY, for 42 years. During that time he led the church to national prominence both in its local impact and in the civil rights movement. Repeatedly honored as one of the country’s best preachers, his powerful voice influenced generations of preachers from all backgrounds. “Doc Taylor,” as he was known, was also a role model and mentor to many young pastors, from Martin Luther King Jr. to the man who would be his successor—Dr. Gary V. Simpson.         

See Warren’s complete blog post here and find out how your church can navigate the pastoral succession journey successfully.

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