Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
More troubles for Sovereign Grace ministries folk.  This hit the Washington Post today: A pastor known for promoting corporal punishment has been accused of physically abusing a woman for 25 years, beginning during her childhood. The Rev. Larry Tomczak, an associate pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church near Brentwood, Tenn., was named in a Maryland lawsuit that was filed against leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a denomination Tomczak helped found in the 1980s and later left. The suit was originally filed in October by three alleged victims of abuse and was amended Friday (Jan. 11) to add five others. All eight were given pseudonyms. It alleges that Tomczak, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., and other church leaders covered up sexual abuse in the denomination and at a Christian school in Gaithersburg, Md., in the 1980s and 1990s. Tomczak also is accused of repeatedly assaulting a woman (who is given the pseudonym Carla Coe) with plastic and wooden sticks. The alleged abuse began when she was a child and lasted more than two decades. When the woman was an adult, the lawsuit claims, Tomczak beat her bare backside. The suit doesn’t say where those incidents occurred or how he met the woman. Tomczak denies all of the allegations of physical abuse. He also said that as a parent, he was saddened to hear of the allegations. But he said he knew nothing about sexual abuse in the denomination. “I had no involvement in any of this,” he said. OK… so far, so bad.  Maybe he didn’t have any involvement in any of this, as he said. But then there’s this: A book called “The Little Handbook on Loving Correction,” for sale on Tomczak’s website, advises parents to use a stick to spank their children. He stands by that advice today. “That book has helped thousands of parents around the world,” he said. Wait. What? Most people who read this story in the Washington Post will not agree that spanking a child with a stick constitutes any type of loving correction. I don’t even believe that. (And I’m trying to stick up for the guy). No pun intended. If, for example, some kids were… oh… I don’t know… spanked with sticks in the Christian school that Tomczak was over, then I would think (in today’s culture and today’s laws, there would be at least some guilt of sexual abuse. Am I the only one who sees mixed signals here. Why do Christians and our Christian leaders get into these messes?  Don’t we see this stuff as troubling? And how do we expect people to believe us when we’re not making any sense? Please… let me know how wrong I am on this one. Leave a comment… // Read the whole article here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
23

Electronic giving is really taking off for churches all over the country.  Many churches are using online giving to supplement the offering plate.  Some churches are using giving kiosks in their lobbies. The truth is… many people just don’t use checks any more. And another truth:  people (especially the next generation) are pretty much joined at the hip with their mobile cell phones. So… could cell phones eventually replace the offering plate? At some point in the future, rather than having the ushers coming forward to receive the offering, will you just tell people to pull out their cell phones to take the offering. Giving via cell phone has never been easier.  But will it catch on? Matt Steen and I discuss in today’s Ministry Briefing: electronic giving

CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH Electronic Giving: Mobile Phones replacing offering plates?

(Length:  4 min 56 sec) Subscribe to MinistryBriefing on YouTube What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
6

How much ‘confidential’ church information do you share with you spouse? You know… board meeting stuff… who says what… who you’re counseling and what the issues are. Do you share stuff like that with your wife or not? It seems that most of the time, there are two different types of people… those that share everything, and those that share nothing. I’m one of the ‘I share almost everything’ types of guys.  My wife is my confidant.  She encourages me, and she talks me off the cliff at times. But I couldn’t keep a sane head if I couldn’t confide in her. Others I know are the opposite, and tell their wives next to nothing. Megan Hill writes on this subject in a guest post at ChristianPost.com.  She writes: In this post-HIPPA world, in a world where a tweak to Facebook’s privacy policy causes a cyber-stir, confidentiality is seen as a standardized procedure, an invisible but ever-present right. And that expectation gets imposed on the church. But pastors and their wives often don’t see it like that. The reality is, the church is something altogether different than a doctor’s office. And your relationship with your pastor is not your relationship with a therapist. The church is a body. An organic being in which each part is affected by the other. And this is why pastors and their wives share with one another. The problems and sins and needs that people bring to their pastor are not isolated letters to a remote advice columnist. (Nor are they unusual or inherently interesting, as some might suppose. We’ve all dealt with the same things. The root of murder is anger, says Jesus, and of adultery, lust.) Instead, the issues people have are part of their whole, eternal self. And their self is part of the body. And that body is the responsibility of the pastor, its under-shepherd. Pastoring is a long-term commitment to a comprehensive relationship. A pastor tells his wife because what happens to the church happens to him. And what happens to him, happens to her. (That’s the way marriage works.) Here’s the thing I wish people knew: when your pastor tells his wife something about you, it’s not really about you. This is what I heard from the pastors’ wives I interviewed: “If [my husband] is sad, I’ll notice. So he tells me.” “If I could give any advice to a pastor, I would say keep sharing your heart with your wife. She loves you and is there for you. She does not need all the details, but she needs your heart and your vulnerability.” “[My husband] is very open with his life. He tells me everything pertaining to his ministry. He tells me details of counseling sessions and personal information of those he ministers to and with. He processes through talking and he feels connected to me when he can share his life with me.” “I need to be a listening ear. We have had situations where [my husband] felt betrayed in the church. . . I am glad he shared those things with me. It was hard to hear, but I am called to bear his burdens as he is mine.” For pastors and their wives, it’s not about the secret information. It’s about the fact that having certain secrets can burden an individual and damage a marriage. // Read more here… What do you think?  How much do YOU share with your wife (spouse)?  Are there things that you don’t tell her… EVER? Do you think there are issues of confidentiality that are ever breached during a husband/wife discussion? Leave a comment…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
11

What do you do when you do all the due diligence  when you run the background checks, and you place your trust in someone (a 71 year-old man in this instance). At least you can tell your people that you did the due diligence… but this has to be extremely horrible to deal with: From WSPA.com: A volunteer with a Spartanburg County church has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a young girl who he befriended, authorities say. Now that church will add more security. Lieutenant Tony Ivey of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office said that 71-year-old William Clifford Hughes, of Boiling Springs, was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 16 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to Ivey, a report was filed with the Sheriff’s Office on January 12 detailing allegations of sexual conduct between Hughes and a young female, who he met at Restoartion Church as a volunteer. A copy of the report obtained from the Sheriff’s Office states that Hughes met the girl during a Wednesday night service at the church and asked her to accompany him to his house on Bay Hill Drive following the service. Once there, the girl told deputies that Hughes offered her a drink, which she thought was a diet drink, but she did not like it. The girl then claims that Hughes provided her with alcohol, and the next thing she remembers was waking up and putting her pants on. The girl’s father told deputies that when his daughter returned home later that evening she looked strange and vomited. Read more here…  
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
1

Joseph Wared, the director of Believe Out Loud has an op-ed piece in today’s Advocate. Wared writes: I have no doubt that there are conservative Christian leaders who provide extraordinary ministry in the social justice arenas of their choosing. Reverend Giglio’s commendable work to combat human trafficking was the rationale for his selection. But our culture is shifting, and when it comes to LGBT equality, Americans expect more from our churches. The U.S. Episcopal Church, Metropolitan Community Churches, and the United Church of Christ are just a few of the denominations that are meeting this need. Christians are consistently becoming more visible advocates for the full inclusion of our LGBT neighbors. Over the past few years I’ve had many conversations with friends and families, and I’ve seen folks move from antigay opinions to an unconditionally loving theology and everything in between. Christianity does not have to be exclusive of LGBT equality, and when it is, people are leaving the church. The Public Religion Research Institute found a significant increase in the number of college-age millennials who transitioned from being religiously affiliated in their childhood to religiously unaffiliated as young adults. A sizable majority view present-day Christianity as antigay and judgmental and believe that what makes America great is our openness to change and new ways of doing things. As public opinion shifts, churches that do not fully affirm LGBT people will leave many in their flock behind. Scripture that is void of compassion is merely words, and our ability to have compassion for every human being is critical to our faith and in an increasingly diverse world. If conservative Christians cannot stomach this evolution, they should not be surprised if progressive Christian traditions, like the U.S. Episcopal Church, gain more traction in society. For some, this is a necessary consequence to maintaining their biblical interpretation on homosexuality, but this shift should not be depicted as a decline of Christian beliefs in our society. Thoughts?  I definitely disagree… but agree that this is the way the culture is headed. Not so sure that he’s right that people will leave churches in droves that take a Biblical stand on homosexuality. What do YOU think? // Read more here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
11

pastor ed youngPastor Ed Young has started a new sermon series this year called “What Would Jesus Say to…”

Here’s part of the press release: Beginning January 5 and 6, Pastor Ed Young of the multi-state Fellowship Church will begin a new series entitled, “What Would Jesus Say To…” In this new series, Ed Young will take an in-depth look at some conversations Jesus would have if he sat down one-on-one with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, Ellen DeGeneres and more. While Pastor Ed Young recognizes that it may seem presumptuous to claim to know what Jesus’ conversations would be, he said in a recent article with ChristianPost.com, “if you look at the Gospel to see Jesus’ interaction with people 2,000 years ago, it can be paralleled with the celebrities that we admire today.” Celebrities are the center of so much of today’s culture, and that has been the case since the time of Christ. Because of that reality, Ed Young and Fellowship Church are confident this series will strike a chord with everyone attending. OK… let’s turn things around a little bit on Ed. // Read more here… If you were preaching the sermon this week “What Jesus would say to Pastor Ed Young”, what would you say? Ready?  Set?  Go!
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
11

Church staff are the front line of church leadership. Every church needs to hire well. Many churches don’t. In fact, many churches make the same mistakes over and over. TJ Addington makes some great suggestions on things that churches should consider before they hire their next staff person.  TJ writes:
One of the top leadership tasks is to hire well. Every hire impacts the entire organization in a ripple fashion. Hire well and the organization becomes healthier and more effective. Hire poorly and the organization suffers. I am a fan of the concept, “hire slow, fire fast.” Being slow on the hire allows you to avoid a lot of pain later.
Matt Steen and I talk about what we think you should discuss and plan on BEFORE you start the hiring process the next time at your church: church staff

CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH Before You Hire Church Staff

(Length:  4 min 56 sec) Subscribe to MinistryBriefing on YouTube What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
1