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MinistryBriefingCover_July13We’ve been hard at work preparing for this day! The July edition of Ministry Briefing has just been released.  In it you’ll find literally hours and hours of research and writing to save you time and keep you informed. This month’s edition includes an exclusively written synopsis of over 200 things that YOU need to know about from the past 30 days.  Current events, Cultural items, Personalities in the news… stories on outreach… a look at world stories in the church, and my favorite:  weird stuff in the church that we just couldn’t have made up (even if we tried). Matt Steen and I consider this our best issue ever!  And it’s available for instant download for as little as eight bucks by going here.  You can download for viewing on your computer, iPad, iPhone, Android, Tablet… really just about anywhere. Find out why Craig Groeschel, Brad Lomenick, Brady Boyd and Perry Noble think you should read this month’s edition of Ministry Briefing… Here’s a listing of all the stories that you’ll read more about in this month’s issue. Current Events
  • -Defense of Marriage Act Struck Down by Supreme Court
  • -Cancer Diagnosis Worsens for Pastor Chuck Smith
  • -According to Pastor: Paula Deen Cannot Be Racist
  • -Huckabee’s Suggestion to Give Up Tax Exemption Could Hurt Churches
  • -Exodus International to Disband
  • -Son of Church Deacon Televangelist Asks for Donors to Pay for Jet Repainting
  • -Oprah Winfrey Optimistic About Impact of Gay Marriage
  • -Deacon’s Son Killed by Police After Fight in Church
  • -Religious Leaders Back Immigration Reform
  • -Organizations Team Up to Fight Bible Illiteracy
  • -New England Poised to Torment Jets with Tebow Signing
  • -Friendship Baptist Church Negotiates New Location Deal
  • -Christian School Maintains Separate Sports Teams for Each Gender
  • -Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales Are Working with Samaritan’s Purse
  • -LifeWay Launches Ministry Grid Training Platform
  • -Christianity is Most Common Faith Among Homosexuals
  • -50 Years After Prayer Banned in Public Schools, Faith Is Present
  • -Ignite Bible for Teens Releases
  • -Pastor Calls for Justice for the Incarcerated and Downplays Marijuana
  • -Jury Rules Church Was Negligent in Retention of Pastor
  • -”Best Sermon Ever” Series Launches at Mars Hill Seattle
  • -Pastor Takes Plea Deal in Car Wash Theft
  • -Parents Held in Jail After Refusing Medical Care for 7 Month Old
  • -Author of “A Gay Son’s Journey to God” Shares about Exodus
  • -U.S. Government Has Failed to Use International Religious Freedom Act
  • -Americans Want Same Sex Marriage Defined by States
  • -Brothers from Oral Roberts University Win Bible Game Show
  • -LifeWay Finds Leading Qualities of Disciples
  • -Founders Syndrome Could Hold Your Organization Back
  • -Students Learn the Same from Teachers Who Aren’t Charismatic
  • -New York Seeks to Fill Foster Parent Gap for Gay Youths
  • -Pastor Launches “One Million Men Porn Free” Campaign
  • -Royal Rangers Provide Boy Scout Alternative
  • -Production of Evangelistic Silent Film Begins
  • -Humanist “Church” Meets in Cambridge
  • -Nonprofit Journalism Is Growing and Fragile
  • -Court Upholds Discipline of Nurse
  • -Pennsylvania Recognizes Freedom of Religion in Public Schools
  • -Sequester Cuts Impact Affordable Housing in NYC
  • -Wedding Guest May Need a Budget
  • -Burnett Adapts The Bible Miniseries for the Movies
  • -Texas Rangers Owners Branch Out Into Christian Music
  • -Thom Rainer Plans to Work on Turnaround Churches for Next Generation
  • -Makers Call “Final: The Rapture” the Scariest Christian Movie of the Decade
  • -Americans Want a Greater Religious Influence
  • -Comedian Embodies New Catholic Approach to Evangelism
  • -Louisiana Students Can Assemble for Prayer in Public Schools
  • -Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Not Just for Lutherans
  • -Holy Ghost Movie Funded on Kickstarter and Sets Records
  • -Valedictorian Recites the Our Father at Public School Commencement
  • -FBI Steps Up Investigation of Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Hindus, and Sikhs
  • -Former Baylor Basketball Star Says School Covered Up Her Sexual Orientation
  • -Restrictions on Morning After Pill Temporarily Lifted
  • -Cedarville University Announces New President
  • -Recovering from Religion Launches Hotline for Doubters
  • -White House Calls for Pastor’s Release from Iranian Prison
  • -Reading Is Alive and Well in America
  • -Catholic Diocese Fires Teacher Over Artificial Insemination, Loses in Court
  • -The Brain Can Distinguish Different Types of Laughter
  • -Texas Public School’s Bible Class Ruled Unconstitutional
  • -Kentucky Church Breaks with Boy Scouts
  • -Oldest Torah Scroll Was Written 850 Years Ago
  • -Pope Francis Sparks Controversy Over Atheists and Capitalism
  • -Platt and Chandler Warn Against Prolonged Adolescence for Young Men
  • -Kirk Cameron Criticizes Media After Birthday Picture Goes Viral
  • -Dispute Between Pastor and Ex-Wife Further Muddies Foreclosure of Florida Church
  • -Evangelicals Join Push for Immigration Reform
  • -”Ark Experience” Theme Park Flooded with Delays
  • -Fans Vote for TobyMac and Casting Crowns at K-LOVE Fan Awards
  • -TCU Recognizes Atheist Student Group
  • -Episcopal Church in South Carolina Takes Property Dispute to State Courts
  • -Huckabee Questions Value of Tax Exemption for Churches
  • -Pope Francis Meets with Archbishop of Canterbury
  • -Mexican Mayor Dedicates Her City to God
  • -Former Lesbian Professor Speaks of the Difficulty of her Conversion
  • -Willow Creek Unveils $10 Million Care Center
  • -LifeWay Sells Glorieta Camp
  • -Jim Wallis Recovers from Surgery for Prostate Cancer
  • -Pastors Keep the Peace at George Zimmerman Trial
  • -Reviewing the Rules for Interns and Nonprofits
  • -What Role Did Soros and Evangelicals Play in Immigration Bill?
  • -After Affair, Pastor Returns to Church He Founded
  • -Murder Plot Uncovered in Case of Pastor and Mistress
  • -Church Asks Derrick Rose to Resolve Trademark Dispute
  • -Superman Movie “Man of Steel” Marketed to Churches
  • -Almost Half of LGBT Population Unaffiliated to Religion
  • -Fall Out from Both Sides Over Boy Scouts
  • -Credit Union Files Foreclosure on Mega-Church
  • -Mugger Steals Bible from 92 Year-Old Man in NYC
  • -Oral Roberts University President Looks Abroad
  • -What Is the Worst Charity in America?
  • -Christian University Expels Student Over Lesbian Relationship
  • -Pastor Wrote Bad Checks in His Church’s Name
  • -Wycliffe Reaches Agreement on Translation with AG
  • -Google Unveils Plans to Remove Child Porn Through New Database
  • -Former Republican Strategist Attempts a “Marriage” of Republicans and Gay Rights
  • -PGA Tour Golfers Say Bible Study and Prayer is Par for the Course
  • -New Guidelines for Houses of Worship During Attack
  • -Church Helps Nearby Congregation Complete Building
Culture Watch
  • -Centers for Disease Control Says Half of Americans Will Have Mental Illness
  • -”Tweet” Added as ‘real word’ in Oxford English Dictionary
  • -Self-Employment Grows Dramatically
  • -America’s Growing Sex Addiction Problem
  • -Majority of Americans Favor State Decisions on Same Sex Marriage
  • -The Fast Growing Cities in America
  • -News Coverage Leans Toward Support for Same Sex Marriage
  • -Immigration Adds Over 600,000 Christians Every Year
  • -The Surprising Story of Young Atheists
  • -Online Dating Is Popular and Leads to Lasting Relationships
  • -Blurred Nudity Keeps Parents from Clear Cut TV Decisions
  • -Homeschooling Grows Rapidly in the U.S.
  • -College Graduation Rate Increases Among Americans
  • -Do You Live in a “Fit” City?
  • -House Sizes Grow as Families Shift
  • -Connected Millennials Still Read Print Books
  • -Not Getting Enough Sleep Could Literally Kill You
  • -Is Caffeine Withdrawal a Disorder?
  • -We Value Accuracy Even Though We Like to Skim the News
  • -Boomers Have Looming Fear and Uncertainty About the Future
  • -FCC Considers Nudity and Profanity on Network Television
  • -Television Viewing Increases Among Americans
  • -Marriage Rate Declines During Recession
  • -More Adults Providing Care at Home
  • -Bono Talks About David Singing the Blues and “Punk Rock” Jesus
  • -Transgender Elementary School Student Discriminated Against
  • -Louisiana “Pastor” Launches Atheist Church
  • -Scout Pack Finds New Home in Presbyterian Church
  • -MTV Adapts to New Generation of Viewers
  • -Baptists Leave Boy Scouts After Vote Removes Homosexual Ban
  • -Geneva College Granted Injunction for Contraception Mandate
  • -Religious Services Not Permitted in Homeless Shelters
Denominations
  • -ECLA Elects First Openly Gay Bishop
  • -Methodists Fight Over Ordination of Lesbian Pastor
  • -Baptist Church in Houston Sells Property and Renovates
  • -Fred Luter Elected as President of SBC Again
  • -Fred Luter Calls SBC to Evangelism, Not Debates
  • -Slight Decline In SBC Members with Rise in Churches
  • -Southern Baptists Concerned Over Growth of Calvinism
  • -Russell Moore Takes New Post at SBC
  • -Southern Baptists Pass Non-Binding Sex Abuse Resolution
  • -Dramatic Departure of Churches from PCUSA in 2012
  • -Southern Baptist Women Take Stand Against Pornography
  • -Christian Reformed Church Declines but Optimistic
  • -Catholics and Lutherans Join Together to Remember the Reformation
  • -Most Catholics and Americans Open to Multiple Paths to Heaven
  • -Second Miracle Attributed to Pope John Paul II
  • -Pope Francis Confirms Covert Gay Lobby Exists in Vatican
  • -Dolan Tells Muslims, “We Worship the Same God”
  • -Church of England Backs Off Same Sex Marriage Fight
Outreach
  • -LifeChurch.tv Involved in Tornado Relief in Oklahoma City
  • -New Study Challenges Churches to Reach Out to Divorced Families
  • -Montana Church Works with City to Build Pool
  • -Indiana Church Can’t Meet Demand to Feed the Hungry
Personalities – Deaths
  • Longtime Organist for Graham Crusades Dead at 94
  • Former Porn Star Who Converted to Christianity Passes Away
  • Novelist and Priest Andrew Greeley Dead at 85
Personalities in the News
  • -Mark Driscoll Disagrees with Cecassionists on Gift of Tongues
  • -T. D. Jakes Partners with Regent University
  • -Richmond Outreach Center Turns to Jonathan Falwell
  • -John MacArthur Calls Charismatic Movement Into Question
  • -Carman Sets Out on Comeback Tour
  • -Billy Graham Prepares for Final Campaign
  • -Boz Tchividjian Criticizes Evangelical Leaders’ Response to SGM Allegations
  • -Rick Warren Takes a Break After the Death of His Son
  • -Suspected N.T. Wright Forgery Resolved
  • -Josh Duggar Joins Family Research Council
  • -Greg Laurie Prays After Paris Jackson Suicide Attempt
Technology
  • -Google Glass Bans Pornographic Apps
  • -Facebook Linked to Relationship Problems
  • -Internet Is More Important Than Food and Shelter in U.K. Study
  • -Controversy Over Facebook Users Under 13
  • -Reddit Atheism Page Has New Moderators
  • -YouVersion Approaches 100 Million Downloads
  • -Speech to Text Causes Safety Concerns in Cars
  • -Tablet Ownership Booming
  • -Computer Screens Linked to Sleeping Patterns
  • -Facebook Is No Longer Fun for Millennials
  • -AdWords Help a Church Grow Online “Campus”
  • -Texas Bible Add On Adds Clarity to Scripture
  • -Facebook Bug Causes Security Breach
  • -Social Networks and Smart Phones on the Rise Globally
  • -Mormons Turn to Facebook and Text Messages
  • -Should Tablets and Phones Integrate with Television? Probably Not
  • -Majority of Parents Aren’t Worried About Children’s Screen Time
  • -Social Media Still Gets Workers in Trouble
  • -Snapchat Passes Instagram
  • -Children and Teens Have a Steady Diet of Social Media
Trends in the Church
  • -Christian Bookstores Face Uncertain Future
  • -Declining British Evangelicals Are Optimistic
  • -Evangelicals Aren’t the Only Group Reading the Bible
  • -Small Nonprofits Struggle to Increase Giving
  • -Seminary Grads with an MDiv Less Likely to Work in Full Time Ministry
  • -”Pulpit Freedom Sunday” Speaks Against Same Sex Marriage
  • -Ministry to Children of Divorced Couples Is Essential
  • -Evangelicals in U.K. Overwhelmingly Support Women in Ministry
  • -Reports on Churches and Scouts Emphasize the Negative
  • -Catholics and Evangelicals Among Less Welcoming to Homosexuals
  • -Global Church Shifts Dramatically in 20th Century
  • -Study Finds Texting Kills More Teens Than Drunk Driving
  • -Majority of Americans Over 65 Go Online
  • -Same Sex Marriage Spreads Since 2010
  • -Financial Resources Firm Advocates for Church Health Plan Act
  • -The Advantages and Pitfalls of Church Mergers
  • -Portable Churches Meet in Public Schools
  • -Matching a Housing Allowance with the Primary Residence
  • -Barna Study Finds Christians Widely Use Digital Reading Devices
  • -How to Pay Teens for Childcare at Church
  • -Evangelical Adoptions Face Unseen Pitfalls
  • -Natural Disasters Bring Interest in Relief Work and God
  • -Pastors Continue to Adopt Facebook and Twitter
World Watch
  • -Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church Opens $15.5 Million Pavilion
  • -Pastor Murdered As Nigeria Declares State of Emergency
  • -Deaf Christians in Japan Create Video Bible
  • -Pope Francis Answers School Children’s Questions
  • -Acceptance of Homosexuality Divides Nations Around the World
  • -Iranian Churches Shut Down as Baptisms Increase
  • -Egyptian Coptics Are Suspicious of President Morsi’s Approval for Church
  • -New Archbishop of Canterbury Does Not Support Same Sex Marriage
  • -Human Trafficking on the Rise in Europe
  • -Religion Divides Europe
  • -City Harvest Church Leader Resigns Over Differences
  • -Christian Charity in New Zealand Deregistered
Weird but True
  • -Noah’s Ark Story Inspires “Gay Wedding Cruise” Painting
  • -Petition Calls for Ban on Straight Male Drivers
  • -Judge Denies a Teacher’s Tuesday “Sabbath”
  • -Man Runs Out of XBox Games and Chooses Jail
  • -Bank Worker Makes Enormous Money Transfer While Asleep
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Leadership
Here’s a snapshot at how Tim Keller prays… I try to do petition in the morning. I try to do repentance in the evening. So I try to pray in the morning and in the evening. In the evening I look back on what I did wrong and repent. But in the middle of the day I try to catch myself and I look for four kinds of emotions. I always pray in the morning, “Lord make me happy enough in the grace of Jesus to avoid being proud, cold, scared, and hooked.” Now, in the middle of the day I get it out and say, “Have I been proud, scared, cold, or hooked in the last 3-4 hours. And the answer usually is “Yeah.” And then I say, “How do I bring the Gospel to bear on that? How does the grace of God deal with it?” And you try to catch yourself in those feelings. So basically finding problem feelings and inordinate desires, catch them when they’re happening, try to deal with them with the Gospel right there. I call that “Quick Strike” on my idols around noon, if I can remember it. And repentance at night and petition in the morning. So I try to get into God’s presence three times a day. via Reformissionary: Tim Keller on Preaching to Himself. Seems like a good plan to me.  Do YOU have a plan for how you pray, or do you just do it?  
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Leadership
Has the church ever become your mistress?  Here are some great and pretty heady questions to ask yourself as you start your week…
  • Do you need to confess your affair with church/work to God and to your wife?
  • What kind of idolatry has been motivating your church/work affair?
  • How can you embrace the good news of repentance to true change?
  • Is there someone in your life that can regularly exhort you to put the mistress away and remind you that Christ is your identity?
via When Church is a Mistress | The Resurgence. How’d you do? Todd
0

Leadership
Seth Godin wrote something recently that I think is totally true.
Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else.
I have the opportunity to work with a ton of really healthy churches… and  I can tell you that this is a value in each and everyone one of them. Every one of them fails. And every one of them learns from their failures so that they can do better next time. If you look at failure as a negative in your ministry, you probably won’t fail much. And if you don’t fail much, you probably won’t get much right either. This ‘reaching people’ stuff is important stuff.  We need to be willing to stick our necks out there, risk a little, and see what works.  If we don’t, we’re destined to only more of the same. via Seth’s Blog: How to fail. Thoughts?
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Leadership
This quote from Mark Dever, given at a recent pastors conference on the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian:
The difference between a Christian and non-Christian: When a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.”
Do you agree?  Is this a good definition? Please take a moment to leave a comment… Thanks, Todd HT:  DesiringGod
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Leadership
One of the biggest questions right now, whether it be personal or business, is how to innovate and move past what has come before. In fact, whole companies have grown up around the idea of innovation and fostering it within staid organizations. But really it comes down to a single question. What If? Throughout the ages, innovation has been fostered by imagining what is possible instead of what you can do with your current resources. The key way to innovate is to question the status quo and “ask the right questions” – not what can we do now, but what is possible. via How To Innovate By Asking The Right Questions. What ‘What if’ questions should the church be asking these days? What’s the last ‘what if’ question you asked in your ministry?  
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Leadership
Dwight A. Moody, the founder and president of the Academy of Preachers, has been recruiting potential preachers at Samford University and Birmingham-Southern College to take part in an effort aimed at reigniting an interest in preaching. The academy organizes a national festival of preaching each year, summer camps and workshops for aspiring ministers ages 16 to 28, of all denominations. Modern seminary students often seek to work in ministry outside the pulpit, said Moody, former dean of the chapel at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky. “Today half of seminary and divinity school students are women, and very few if any want to preach,” Moody said. “Some believe that preaching is no longer a socially significant vocation. It has lost part of its punch.” From the First Great Awakening through the civil rights movement — from theologian Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in 1741 to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon in Memphis the night before he was killed in 1968 — preachers have had a resounding influence on U.S. culture. It’s still true to a certain extent, Moody said. “Every week in America, more people hear a sermon than engage in any other communal act,” Moody said. “Preaching still has an important influence.” Moody hopes to improve the quality of preaching in America by attracting top talent to the pulpit. “It’s the Jesus version of ‘American Idol,'” Moody said. “We’re trying to attract talented young people and encourage them to stick to it.” via Academy of Preachers seen as ‘Jesus version of American Idol’ | al.com. // I’ve seen some posts in recently that have kind of gone along with this sentiment… that preaching isn’t necessarily the best way to reach people any more. I know many people that hold a very high view of preaching.  Most all of them are preachers. Is preaching something that is foundationally biblical?  I mean, I know that Jesus taught.  After all, we call it the ‘sermon’ on the mount for crying out loud. But most of Jesus’ time was not ‘preaching’ per se, was it? And even Jesus’ ‘preaching’ was NOT done in the context of a church service.  Didn’t it mostly happen spontaneously? We know the early church had elders and leaders.  But did they have ‘preachers’ as we know them today? Most preachers that I know LOVE to preach.  LOVE it.  And most guard their preaching time as closely as they do their first-born son.  Is this good/bad?  Biblical/extra-biblical? What do you think?  
9

Leadership
You’ve got to have some accountability and some boundaries set up in your counseling relationships. Here are some practical things you can do to start that process… Setting boundaries is an important part of establishing an accountability system and heading off improprieties in counseling relationships. Even you as the counselor need to keep a close watch on maintaining the boundaries, as inappropriate feelings can affect both parties. Watch for the following warning signs: An increase in personal conversations Inappropriate physical contact Fantasies about a sexual relationship with the counselee Offers to drive counselee home Meetings outside of the normal counseling session time Hiding feelings and/or meetings with the counselee from accountability systems, including your spouse (Via Church Executive.) QUESTION: What guidelines do YOU have in place for counseling at your church? Have you ever come close to crossing the line? Todd
1

Leadership
Lifehacker had an interesting post the other day on cheating.  I hear way too many stories about cheating pastors.  I always wonder why and how they ever get to this point.  This is really something to consider: Cheating doesn’t occur just because it’s a possibility, but because the alternative to cheating is potentially worse. Say you’re back in high school and you have a history test in the morning. History is your worst subject because you don’t like it and can’t seem to memorize a bunch of dates you find incredibly boring. As a result, there’s a very likely chance you will fail the test and it will 1) negatively impact you grade, which 2) will negatively impact your chances of getting into the college you want, which 3) will result in an angry parent. Alternatively, you can cheat and be guaranteed a good grade. This, of course, comes with the risk of getting caught but you have to weigh that risk against the risk of failing”which is basically an assurance. Comparing this to the dating scenario, more people will choose to try and fail because it’s the more assured outcome, like not asking someone out for dinner. Cheating happens when the risk of getting caught cheating isn’t as scary as failing. With the dating scenario, you’re more likely to ask someone out if being alone is scarier than being rejected. When cheating becomes the more attractive outcome, people choose it. (Via Lifehacker.) Wow… I really like that quote:
Cheating happens when the risk of getting caught cheating isn’t as scary as failing.
Could this be true? Is this why so many pastors fall into the temptation of cheating on their wives, losing their career, their families, and everything they’ve worked hard and given their lives for? Does cheating happen for a pastor when the act of getting caught cheating isn’t really as scary as overall failure? Food for thought. What do YOU think? Todd  
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