Satan, President Obama, and The History Channel

Have you been watching The History Channel series The Bible? The series creators have found themselves at the center of a controversy surrounding their use of Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni to portray Satan. Ouazanni, a Moroccan actor who has often portrayed satanic characters, bears a striking resemblance to President Barack Obama.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have denied any kind of insinuations, saying:

“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. “False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”

What do you think was this intentional, or coincidental?


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



You Have All The Leaders You Need… They’re Just Hard to Spot

Do you find yourself having a hard time recruiting the church leaders that you need? I have rarely met a church leader who would answer that question with a no.

Rich Birch tends to disagree… According to his blog, UnSeminary, God has provided all the leaders your church needs… you just need to know where to look. Rich points to five major groups of leaders that many churches miss:

People with Followers
Young People

Today we unpack Rich’s post, and talk through where YOU may have hidden leaders in your church.

Where does YOUR church find key leaders?


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



Lessons You Need to Learn from Jack Schaap

Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to having sex with an underage girl. This entire situation is horrible: a powerful pastor taking advantage of a girl from his congregation. We need to be praying for the victim, the families involved, and for the church.

While it is easy to say “that would never happen to me” the truth is that no pastor wakes up one morning having decided to blow up his family, his church, and do something that will land him in jail. Falls like Schaaps, and the other highly public failures of the recent past, take time to develop, and start with the most minor compromise. This morning, on Ministry Briefing, we discuss how to avoid moral failures like this.

How are YOU guarding against the tiny compromises?


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



Rob Bell’s Definitive Statement on Gay Marriage

Controversial Christian speaker Rob Bell, formerly of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is probably best known for asking questions… without answering them.

Whether it be his position on hell, or other theological positions, Bell rarely makes a definitive statement, preferring to answer questions with a question, which tends to anger people… until now. At a recent event in San Francisco, Bell was asked about his position on marriage, to which he responded:

“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think … we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

In this edition of Ministry Briefing, we discuss the importance of Bell’s statement, what this means for him, and for the church as a whole.

Does Bell’s statement change the way YOU think about him?

Are You a Banal Pastor?

Do you ask for feedback? Seriously, think about this one. Do you ask people for honest feedback on your leadership… on your preaching?

Many times in the church world, we tend to look at a lack of feedback, whether positive or negative, as a good thing… the truth is that a total lack of feedback is the most alarming response you can get. Seth Godin writes:

“We armor ourselves against the cutting remark, the ad hominem attack, the person who just doesn’t like our stuff.

But all of this is the feedback we get when we touch a nerve and are doing work that matters enough to care about.

No, the worst sort of feedback is no feedback at all. That means we’ve created nothing but banality.”

A lack of feedback means that your people don’t care enough to share their thoughts, positive or negative. In this edition of Ministry Briefing, we talk about feedback in the church, and why it is so important.

How do YOU encourage feedback within YOUR church?


Pat Robertson’s Million Dollar Word of Knowledge

Help us out here.

On a recent episode of the 700 Club Pat Robertson received a word of knowledge about a viewer that would be receiving a check for $1 million. A few days later, Robertson shared that a business man told him that BP had written him a check for $1 million. The check was related to the Gulf oil spill, and he had not been expecting it.

When you hear about things like this, how do you feel? Is this a miraculous event, or something a little less than that? Is Pat Robertson doing God’s work in sharing a “word of knowledge” or is he giving those trying to discredit our faith more ammunition? Are these types of things intended to be done in the public eye, or in private?

We have a lot of questions here, we’d love to hear your take:

Were YOU given Pat Robertson’s platform, would YOU share a “word of knowledge”?


Lie About Going to Church? There’s an App for That…

A new app for your smartphone promises big things! Couch Cachet promises the ability to “finally be who I want you to think I am.”

According to the website:
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that showed you all of the cool parties, bars and restaurants that you could be hitting tonight? Of course it would. But you know what would be even better? A social application that will lie and say you are already doing those things while you sit at home in your pajamas.”

So what do you think?


In this episode of Ministry Briefing we discuss the app: whether it could be useful in the church, whether it is already at work in the church, and whether we’d use it.

Would YOU be interested in using Couch Cachet?


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



$3 off Ministry Briefing TODAY ONLY!


There’s really nothing else out there like Ministry Briefing.

(Of course every author thinks his book is the best thing since sliced bread).

But many of you who have followed my blog here for the past 10 years (believe it or not) know that I love the church… and I love the people who serve in the church.

I love the church’s quirkiness. I love the church’s diversity. And I really get charged up when I see stories about how the church is being effective.

That’s why I blog… to encourage, to inform, and yes… at times to entertain.

I find the church fascinating. What’s working? What’s not? Where is culture taking us (and how is the church responding to it)? How can we learn from each other’s shortcomings and failures? These are all things that interest me about the church.

And I think they interest you as well. That’s why you visit the blog.

Believe it or not, my writings here at the blog are just a small sampling of what’s going on in the church and ministry world. There’s just not time enough in the day to share all the news and events that I find interesting… things that I think every church leader should at least have a basic knowledge of.

That’s why I think there’s not really anything else out there like Ministry Briefing.

And that’s why I joined up with my friend Matt Steen to produce this monthly ‘briefing’ of all the things that are going on in the church world.

As church leaders, it’s really important that we keep up with what’s working, what’s not, and the ways the culture and trends are heading.

In the past 10 days, we’ve just released our newest March edition of Ministry Briefing. Matt and I scoured over 15,000 ministry headlines and articles and chose only the best (about 175 of them) that we think every church leader should know about.

For each identified story, we provide a short one-paragraph synopsis of what you need to know about it… as well as a link to the full story so that you can read all the details if you’re interested.

The end result is really an ‘intelligence briefing’ type document that we think gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s really going on outside the ministry of your local church… and what is affecting the church around the country and around the world.

I really think knowing these things will help make you a better leader in your local context and ministry.

So… for the next few hours (until midnight Friday night), I would love for you to purchase and download a copy of the March edition of Ministry Briefing for just $6.99. That’s $3 off our normal price.

Just use the coupon code ‘$3 off’.

A couple things to note:

1. You can download in any format: pdf (great for viewing on your computer); or you can download for your iPhone or iPad, Android phone or tablet, or for your Kindle or Nook. The choice is up to you. (Download all formats if you like!)

2. Once you purchase, you can share with up to nine other people on your staff or leadership team for free. (If my math serves me correctly, that brings the price down to under $.70 per person).

3. And if you purchase Ministry Briefing and think it’s a total waste of your time, just email me directly, and I’ll gladly refund your $6.99. No questions asked. (OK… I might actually ask you a question or two about why you hated it so much!)

So… the clock is ticking… You can download now and instantly download Ministry Briefing, but you need to do it by midnight to get the $3 off.

I really do think you’ll find it valuable for your ministry.


For those of you who have read my blog for years (or even months or days)… I thank you. I always appreciate hearing from you, reading your comments, and even many times taking your well-deserved criticism! And I appreciate those of you what will help support this new Ministry Briefing venture!

Have a great weekend!

Todd Rhoades
Ministry Briefing

How to Deal with Incredibly Negative People

Serving in ministry, we work with all different kinds of people. Some are positive, some aren’t… While we would all love to work with people who give us warm fuzzies, and are always positive, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Fortunately, we found an article on Life Hacker about how to deal with negative people, so today we talk about dealing with negative people, while maintaining our sanity.

How do YOU handle negative people?


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube




Maybe we DO need to dumb down the gospel

Mark Morford writes:

Six percent of Americans believe in unicorns. Thirty-six percent believe in UFOs. A whopping 24 percent believe dinosaurs and man hung out together. Eighteen percent still believe the sun revolves around the Earth. Nearly 30 percent believe cloud computing involves… actual clouds. A shockingly sad 18 percent, to this very day, believe the president is a Muslim.

Question:  How do you reach someone with the Gospel that believes in unicorns or that cloud computing involves actual clouds?



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