Myths about church dropouts – research from Barna Group

Barna Group has released new research about young people who drop out of church. Their book is called, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith.

They have posted an executive summary of the research on their blog: Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts.

The myths: (more…)

Do the cribs in your church nursery need to be replaced?

Richard Hammar calls attention to new regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission affecting cribs in the September/October 2011 edition of Church Law & Tax Report.  The newsletter is not available online so I will not quote it. Since government statistics & regulations aren’t copyrightable, I will summarize a few key pieces of information from the CPSC.

By the way if you are in leadership of a church, I heartily recommend you subscribe to Church Law & Tax Report.  At $69 for six issues a year, it is the most reasonable, pertinent legal information you’ll find.  E-mail contact:  On the net at

Why are cribs a problem getting government attention?  Here’s the data CPSC collected in a 2 ½ year time span: (more…)

New blog!

Why am I starting a new blog, Outrun Change?  You can find it at  (Update – the blog name and address have been changed from what was set up at first.  Sorry for the confusion.)

The amount of change taking place today is staggering.  The rate of change is going to increase.  That change is making our knowledge and skills obsolete.  To keep up, we need to be learning and stretching to keep ahead of the radical change taking place around us.

At the Christian Leadership Conference in April 2011, Dr. Richard Swenson said that there will be 1,000 times more change in the next century than in the 20th century.  There was more change in the 20th century than the previous 5,000 years.  That is staggering.

My focus in the new blog will be on: (more…)

Happy birthday to Nonprofit Update

It has been one year since I launched Nonprofit Update. On August 29, 2010 I started this blog to talk about issues affecting the nonprofit community. On October 14, 2010 I started moving topics of more interest to CPAs to a new blog, Attestation Update.

Many thanks to all who have stopped by to read!  This has been fun and I look forward to many more years of blogging.

Here are some stats from the first year for those who are interested in such things.

Number of posts: (more…)

Private sector rocket launches will resupply space station

SpaceX will launch it’s first space shot on a resupply flight to the space station in late November.  NASA gave technical approval to the launch.

Why is this discussion in a blog about nonprofit issues? Three reasons.

First, is a superb illustration of stretching our brains. In the nonprofit sector we need to be intentionally thinking about the future. See my discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Just the idea of private space flights will stretch our brain.


Refueling the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team as an illustration of how much it takes to get something done

I’m developing a post on the functional allocation issue.  Particularly how expensive it is to conduct ministry in the American cultural context. Part of that discussion will be analogies to the “overhead” it takes the US military to accomplish its mission.

As a lead-in to that idea, consider the following blog post by Jasmine Lee, a photographer who went on a KC-10 flight to refuel some C-17s and the Thunderbird flight demonstration team.

U.S. Air Force Media Flight – Travis Air Force Base… Part I

Some really cool pictures.  A good photographer, decent equipment, flight of F-16s, a tanker to put you 100 feet from said flight, and awe-inspiring skill of the USAF crews combined to produce fabulous photos.

Also an amazing 37 second video of an F-16 sliding into position to draw fuel.

As you look at the pix, consider the amount of effort that is behind the scenes.


You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for free, direct from the IRS

A colleague of mine needed an employer identification number for a new entity. Did a Google search and went to the first source listed. Wasn’t until the process was almost done that the website asked for a credit card. At that point my colleague realized there was something wrong and did not pay $150.  My colleague backed out of that place, went to the IRS website and got an EIN for free.

There are websites out there that will charge you for what you can do for free.


Hints for better e-mail (and maybe staying out of trouble)

Seth Godin reposted his tips on how to make e-mail less painful for recipients, and you. He did this

 in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.

See his 36 tips here.

My favorite:


Extension of deadline for California firms whose first Peer Review report is due July 1, 2011

(cross-post from my other blog, Attestation Update)

Extensions available!!!

Just a reminder, California now has mandatory peer review.  First deadline is rapidly approaching for firms whose first peer review is due July 1, 2011.  This would be CPAs whose licenses end in 01 through 33. 

The Cal Society has a memo on their website allowing extensions.

See announcement here.

To get an extension, a firm must: (more…)

Great illustration of outcomes versus outputs

Here is a superb illustration of outcomes measurement from audio recording of Nathan Adam’s presentation at the 2011 Christian Leadership Alliance conference in Dallas:

Recidivism rate of faith-based prisons was a small fraction of the state prisons.

When he worked in the Florida state government, there were three faith-based prisons in the state. Their recidivism rate was 1/16th the rate of the state prison.


Cheapeners make life really fantastic for all of us – the radical cost reductions in technology

It isn’t the initial idea of a technology that makes life so fantastic for all of us. It is the next round of people who figure out how to make it ridiculously cheap that lets everyone enjoy the really cool inventions. So explains Matt Ridley, of the Wall Street Journal, in Three Cheers for the Cheapeners and Cost-Cutters.

 “A feature of innovation is that the greatest impact of a new idea comes not when the light bulb goes on over the geek’s head, but when the resulting technology eventually becomes cheap enough for many people to use—perhaps decades later.

This is the driver behind the tremendous productivity gains in the last few centuries.


What’s the dollar value of what a church contributes to the community?

Christianity Today points to a study which starts to answer the question.  Their article What’s a Congregation Worth? provides a nice illustration of a 1997 study by Professor Ram Cnaan. 

In his study, he quantifies an urban congregation contributes around $140,000 of value to the local community.  CT states he updated his estimate to $476,000 in 2009.

Some of the factors quantified: