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Unsettling.  Ugly. According to the pastor: The PURPOSE of this website and the videos on it is to protect Beaverton Grace Bible Church and our families from ongoing slander and criminal accusations of the worst kind. Meaghan Varela has lied to her family, friends, pastors, the police, the Department of Human Services (Child Protection), the court, and the world. Julie Anne Smith has joined her in her lies and heralded them forth to the world on her blog (BGBC Survivors) dedicated to the destruction of our church and families. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have given “false witness” against our church and families for four years. The statements and videos on this website tell our story of suffering and surviving their assault. We are the TRUE BGBC SURVIVORS. via True BGBC Survivors | Surviving Four Years of Hate, Reviling Accusations, and Criminal Slander. How horrible. But… what would you do? What would you do if you were accused (wrongfully) of child abuse… if your church was accused of horrible things? I have no idea whether or not any of these abuses actually happened. What I do know is that, regardless, this is a horrible public glimpse into a church conflict. Thoughts? Todd

A new lawsuit by a woman and her husband claims a pastor of a large church “purposefully introduced her into his life of depraved pornography, adultery, scheming, lies and the abandonment of her marriage and family with the intent that it would lead to the destruction of her marriage and family, which he knew would be going against everything she ever believed in or truly desired.” The couple is seeking $6.6 million for breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and other claims. SOURCE   Folks… this HAS TO STOP. How?  I don’t know. 1.  If this pastor did this, we HAVE to find ways to stop it.  There is NO WAY that the allegations levied in this article can be true without huge warning signs and red flags SOMEWHERE along the way.  Is there? 2.  If this is a total fabrication from the couple, how do we defend ourselves from this type of thing? Video surveillance of counseling sessions? How do you prove things in a he said, she said situation? If you’re innocent, you could be an hour away from a news story like this breaking about YOU. If you’re guilty of this kind of conduct, you have no right being a pastor. Either way, you’re vulnerable. How do you protect yourself from: 1.  Falling into a sin like this; or 2.  a False accusation that could ruin your reputation, family, and ministry? Have you thought about this?  What are your thoughts? Todd

Perry Noble is pumped. In fact, he thinks this Sunday will be the best Sunday ever at New Spring. But he also thought that last Sunday was the most exciting Sunday ever at New Spring.  And the Sunday before, and the Sunday before. Can this really be true? Listen to Perry’s Answer Now! What do YOU think?  Will this Sunday be your church’s best Sunday EVER? Todd

Here’s an interesting commentary… what do you think?  Great idea, or horrible one? Many church staff in congregations perform several ministry functions even though they are not officially a “pastor”. Special attention to church staff (youth directors, associate ministers, musicians, office assistants, interns, educators, etc…) and their work wellness. Appreciating their work is not enough (a raise wouldn’t hurt). Pastors and church leadership need give more time off in a world where church staff have to do “more with less”. Micromanaging, low pay, unreasonable expectations, many evening commitments, and poorly managed church conflict all lead to staff burnout. Giving the standard “two weeks” vacation is another sure-fire way to burnout staff. Years ago, Google allowed their employees to spend up to 20% of their work time on side projects. What if churches let church staff blog, create, dream, build, write, or encourage creativity through side projects? Allowing church staff to express themselves through under utilized skills or talents may help a church find a new ministry. In addition, it allows the church staff to explore and create – something that is innate within humanity. Suppressing creativity only leads to frustration. Churches would be well advised to use a Google-like project to guard against burnout. // Read more here… What do YOU think? How do you help reduce burnout on your staff? Todd  

In what is being called a hate crime, three elderly women (between the ages of 84 and 90) were tied up, tased, and their hom ransacked. According to the Christian Post: Three Mennonite women were attacked with a stun gun simply because of their faith, police said on Sunday. Dereck Taylor Holt was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses and is being held by Lancaster, Pennsylvania police. While police chief David Steffen told the Associated Press that Holt did not know the women personally, he did know that they were Mennonite and attacked them for that reason. During the assault, which lasted several hours, he tied up the elderly women, used a stun gun on them, ransacked their home, and read Bible verses before destroying the book. “There is no direct information that linked these individuals to targeting by the suspect. The only thing that linked them was his bias based upon their faith. They suffered multiple electrical shocks, were incapacitated and left. They were unable to move for a long period of time. That could have led to bad things like blood clots and positional asphyxia,” Steffen told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era. Holt allegedly told the women that he was a former Mennonite but gave no further information as to why he would attack them. He allegedly told the women he was a previous member of the faith and had significant anger towards all members since leaving the tradition. // Read more here…

According to the Charlotte Observer, Elevation Church is planning on an expansion that could cost around $30 million: Elevation, one of the country’s fastest-growing evangelical congregations, plans to build a $20 million facility in Ballantyne to house its administrative staff, along with a 1,500-seat sanctuary. Elevation also is considering two sites in Huntersville for a campus there. In all, the projects will cost more than $30 million. This month, Elevation hopes its new “Banner Years” campaign will raise the up-front money needed so the church can pay cash for the sites – $3.5 million for 20 acres off U.S. 521 in Ballantyne, and another $2.5 million for the Huntersville tract of its choice. “We are not building a church for our own benefit. We are designing a movement for the glory of God,” Pastor Steven Furtick said in announcing the campaign. “Which means we can’t stop or back down … We want to be available and ready to launch new Elevation locations anytime and anywhere God leads.” Elevation, a Southern Baptist congregation that is only 7 years old, already has seven Charlotte-area campuses plus an extension church in Toronto. In 2008-09, the congregation raised $4.6 million to build Elevation Matthews. Its 2010 “Kingdom Come” campaign funneled $5.1 million toward its Blakeney location. Church leaders say they have pre-approval for a loan to pay the estimated $25 million needed to build and equip the Ballantyne and Huntersville projects. Plans call for the work be completed by 2014. As of Saturday night, and a little more than a week into its “Banner Years” campaign, Elevation had already raised $5 million, most of which will go toward buying the land, spokeswoman Tonia Bendickson said. // Read more here…

Joel and Victoria Osteen appeared on the Today Show on Monday.  Here’s what Joel had to say when asked about gun control:
For what I’m doing, I’m trying to reach as many people as possible. There are good people on both sides of the aisle, and I don’t know what the best answer there is either, but I just try to guide them and give them hope in this time of need.
Another quote:
God gave us all our own free will. He gives us freedom of choice, He didn’t make us his robots…Unfortunately, some people choose to do evil, and we don’t always understand it, but I still believe that God is good and God is for us, but He doesn’t make us do what’s right.
Read more here… How did you think Joel did?  Would you say anything differently if you had that forum? Todd Here’s the video: