What do you say to the person that says ‘we love God, we love the church, but we’re gay’?

“What do you say, as a minister, as a pastor, to a gay couple that comes to you and says, ‘We love God. We love the Church. But we also love each other, and we want to raise a family in faith.’ What do you say to them?”

Here’s what the Catholic Cardinal of New York, Timothy Dolan, told ABCNews’ George Stephanopoulous:

Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too. And God loves you and you are made in God’s image and likeness. And we want your happiness … and you’re entitled to friendship… We gotta be, we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody… Jesus died on the cross for them as much as he did for me.

What do YOU think of Cardinal Dolan’s answer?

(We cover the gay marriage debate and the cultural implications of it quite a bit in the new Ministry Briefing download for April.  Check it out here).



9 Steps To Give Feedback Effectively

“If you and your team members are going to be transparent with each other, enable each other to make informed choices, and hold each other accountable, then you need to give regular feedback, formally and informally,” says Roger Schwarz in his new book, Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams.  Here are nine key points for improving how you deliver feedback (by applying a Mutual Learning mindset):

  1. As you approach the conversation, be open to changing your mind. Being curious is one of the most powerful things you can do to give feedback effectively. This doesn’t mean holding back on what you think; it means being as equally curious about the other person’s view as you are convinced about your own.
  2. Jointly design the conversation. Start the conversation by agreeing on the purpose of the conversation and how you will hold it. This reduces everyone’s anxiety and also lets you act as partners in making sure the conversation stays on the track you agreed to.
  3. Jointly design the order of the feedback. Many leaders assume that others want to receive feedback using the sandwich approach (start with some positive, then give the negative, then end on a positive note). They have been taught (erroneously) that the negative feedback goes down easier when it is sandwiched. Rather than assume this, simply ask the person you are giving feedback to how they would like to receive it.
  4. Give the headlines – don’t make people guess. When you give negative feedback, state exactly what you have seen and what your concern is; then ask for their point of view.
  5. Ask about your own contribution – before they raise it. To be accountable, toward the beginning of the conversation say, “I’m open to the possibility that I may be contributing to the very things that I am concerned about in your performance. If I am, I’d really like you to tell me.”
  6. If someone seems to get defensive – stay curious. If someone seems to get defensive, simply ask him about it by saying, “I noticed the last couple of minutes, you have gotten quiet – yes? I’m wondering, are you feeling defensive?”
  7. Hold others accountable – do not allow anonymous feedback. If you really want to frustrate someone and make her defensive, tell her what concerns others have about her and then say you can’t tell her who said it.
  8. If you don’t share the feedback soon, void any negative consequences. There should be a statute of limitations on negative feedback. The longer you wait to give it, the longer you contribute to the person’s ineffectiveness and the less time they have to improve. A good guideline is that unless you are giving someone feedback on something he did in the few weeks before a review, and if you have not shared the feedback, you should not use it to reduce the employee’s performance rating.
  9. Get feedback on how you are giving feedback. Just as you want others on the team to improve their work performance, learn how to better develop others. Ask them what you did in the feedback session that was helpful and what they would like you to do differently next time. Then you can practice receiving feedback without getting defensive.

Converting Strip Club Patrons with a Billboard?

A Birmingham church recently launched a billboard campaign that is causing quite the stir. Located next to a strip club, the billboard says “Strip for me -Jesus.” Attributing the quote to Hebrews 12:1 (NLT), Pastor Mike McClure Jr. explains the purchase saying:

“We strategically picked the strip club because we want the brothers who are walking in…to know God has a greater cause for your life”

McClure went on to say that there are several area pastors that are upset by the move, but he is undeterred.

In this edition of Ministry Briefing, we discuss the bill we discuss the billboard and whether we would do something like this in our ministries… we’d love to hear your take on this:

Would YOU do this?



59% of Americans Have NO Easter Plans

A recent study done by Ed Stetzer and Lifeway Research points to a decline in church attendance on Easter for Americans. The study suggests that 41% of Americans are planning on attending services on Easter, 39% will not be attending, and 20% are undecided.

This morning we debate the meaning of this, how churches can learn from this study, and what this says about the culture we find ourselves in.

What do YOU expect attendance to look like at Easter this year?



Westboro Baptist’s New Neighbors

Last week Aaron Jackson painted his home on Orleans Street in Topeka. While painting a home is nothing remarkable, the paint job is something to behold: he painted the home to resemble the rainbow flag. When asked, Aaron’s neighbors across the street had this to say:

“We thank God for the Sodomite Rainbow House. It is right across the street from the ONLY church that loves people enough to tell them the Bible truth about the filthy, soul-damning, nation-destroying sin of sodomy…The Sodomite Rainbow house helps shine a bright spotlight on this!”

Did we mention that the house is across from Westboro Baptist Church?

In this edition of Ministry Briefing we have a quick discussion about Aaron Jackson’s paint job:

What do YOU think of the new paint job?




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?



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