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“I’m not asking you to like me. I’m not asking you to love me or respect me, because I’ll do the work to earn that…I always ask people to give me one year of your life and I promise you will be changed.” Those were the words of Pastor Paula White, the new Senior Pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Florida. She pledged to continue the vision of Tims to build a church that helped people in trouble find success in life. At one time, New Destiny boasted 8,000 members.  About 1,000 people were in attendance on Sunday. Paula brings a lot of baggage to the new position, including much controversy from her previous church, Church Without Walls, and a tumultuous personal life over the past few years. New Destiny Christian Center has it’s own share of baggage.  Just last week, the divorced wife of the deceased founder sued to block White’s hiring (and for herself to return to the pulpit).  Riva Tims divorced her husband and co-founder a few years back after Zachery Tims was involved in an affair.  Zachery was found dead in a New York Times Square hotel room last year in what has been speculated as a drug overdose.  Zachery’s mother has been suing the coroner’s office to keep the cause of death a secret. Can anything good come of this situation? Can a congregation led by such an interesting and notoriously goofed up leadership find the hand of God blessing them? What are your thoughts?  

Current Events
Some members of an Orlando area mega-church spent their Christmas protesting the possible appointment of a new pastor. Churchgoers at New Destiny Christian Center are concerned over the possibility of Paula White replacing the church’s late pastor, Zachary Tims. Last week, the group passed around petitions and asked board members to resign. They claim the church’s board has ulterior motives. The petitioners said Tims’ ex-wife, Riva Tims, should be the pastor. “The majority of the congregation does not want Paula White. We want our mother back, and our mother is pastor Riva Tims,” Mary Walker said. White began serving as the church’s temporary pastor after Tims was found dead inside a New York City hotel room. New Destiny board members have not not confirmed whether they plan to name White the permanent pastor. White currently serves as the senior pastor at Tampa’s Without Walls International Church. The board’s decision on a permanent replacement for Tims is expected to be announced on New Year’s Eve. via WESH Orlando. Uh… wow.  This would be a fascinating story without Paula White in it.  Add Paula and you’ve got something. By the way… I’m hoping I can get my new Lead Pastor to take a publicity shot like Paula’s. She’s not just here to look cute, you know.            

Current Events
When I first heard that Randy White, the former pastor of Without Walls International Church, was nabbed over the weekend on a DUI charge, I admit my first thought was judgment. But when I saw the online mugshot, my heart turned more to a heart of compassion. No doubt, Randy has over the years preached a false prosperity gospel message. And much of the inner workings at what used to be a huge church, were, well… at least a little suspect. And when you drink and drive (which, in my opinion is one of the most self-indulgent activities one can do), you pay the consequences. But when I saw the mugshot… I saw a man that is desperately in need of help. Many times, we’re too busy pointing fingers at people to help them. I still think Randy has been wrong in so many ways.  But my compassionate side says this is a brother that needs help.  I hope there is someone in his life or community that can provide that for him. Randy… I prayed for you today.  Honestly, I’m not sure what else to do. Todd

Current Events
Some quotes from Paula White at a recent conference: “I’m not here to look cute … I came to let the devil know … I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.” “I have a word to those who have all odds stacked against them: You’re about to get your bounce back.” “I came to put every devil on notice … I’m getting my dream back, I’m getting my prophesy back, I’m getting my vision back, I’m getting my anointing back, I’m getting my strength back.” “We going public with all our stuff. Somebody’s got to get real in the church now.” These come from a posting at The Christian Post. Paula also calls articles that were written against here based on allegations from former church staff were… get this… “mostly, totally unfounded”. Mostly, totally. Gotcha. Why would staff do something like this? Well, because the church wasn’t able to ‘supply the staff with the lifestyle that they were used to’. All the while, she was under great pressure. Again, according to the Christian Post… “[Bishop] Randy, Pastor Paula, give me a word, marry me, bury me, pay these bills, prophesy. Why aren’t you doing this? Why isn’t it like it used to be? We don’t like the music. We leaving the church because you didn’t know our names and you didn’t come have lasagna with us,” she said, mimicking the demands and criticisms she was met with. Her husband (Randy) closed her off. She would often ask herself: “Why can I win the world and not go home and win the one that I love?” When the two announced their divorce, Paula said “God told me to keep my mouth shut.” And on the congressional investigation, she says that we should be thankful to her: “The church better recognize, it should be thanking six ministries for fighting for the body of Christ for saying ‘we are not going to let you dictate to us how we interpret Scripture’ and you can’t tell us ‘because Jesus rode in on a donkey’ because if you start telling us how to interpret Scripture in one way, you’ll tell us how to interpret it in every way,” White said in frustration. Grassley had referred to Jesus’ humble entrance into Jerusalem to make the point that ministers today don’t really need Bentleys and Rolls-Royces to spread the Gospel. “I preach in countries if I say ‘Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life,’ they’ll arrest me. And don’t think America’s that far away. Unless the people of righteousness stand up and say ‘we’re not going to allow for this because you cannot take what is our First Amendment rights. You can’t do that!” White asserted. “We pay taxes. We work hard. We do it by the books. We have integrity. But you’re going to make a public misery and mess out of it like something’s wrong!” White also flatly denied she ever had an affair with Benny Hinn. “God uses every enemy, every lawsuit, every lie, every betrayal, all the brokenness.” Any thoughts? You can read more here at The Christian Post…

Current Events
Televangelist Benny Hinn is being sued by Strang Communications, alleging that Hinn violated a morality clause in their contract when he began an “inappropriate relationship” with Without Walls pastor Paula White. Strang (now Charisma Media) is saying that they should receive about $250k of unrecouped royalties.  Evidently, they’ve asked Hinn for payment, but he refuses. The complaint:  Benny didn’t work hard to promote his books.  One book, Blood in the Sand, published in 2009 got Hinn a $300,000 advance.  But Benny didn’t make appearances scheduled to promote it. In other words… Benny took the money and ran, it appears.  Or at least didn’t do what Strang expected him to do to promote the sale of the book  (that they had paid him the advance to do). On the relationship itself, Hinn says that he didn’t do anything immoral.  But maybe he told the publisher something privately that he hasn’t yet said publicly.  It’s hard to tell since the suit seems to be a breach of contract for not promoting rather than moral failing.  I’m sure much more will come out in the more public hearing. via Benny Hinn Sued by Strang Co. | Liveblog | Christianity Today. Thoughts?


I found myself in the middle of a little firestorm (again) last week with one of the stories I published at MMI. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last (Todd says jokingly).

At the center of the issue was a post about Benny Hinn and Paula White. I simply gave some personal thoughts on the issue that had recently hit the tabloids (and some mainstream news outlets as well).

I was immediately greeted with comments about how terrible it was that I would even mention the subject (sinced both Hinn and White had denied its truthfulness); and how I shouldn’t write anything negative about people. (Oh, I was also accused of slander, and of name dropping for the sole purpose of increasing twitter and blog numbers).

That leads me to a couple thoughts this morning; both about MMI and about how we communicate in our Christian ‘church worker’ subculture.

MMI has always been a personal blog for me. It’s a place that I share my personal thoughts… things I like, my pet peeves, and most importantly, a place that I can share things that interest me. That could be anything from something on leadership; to something on technology; to something on church trends or leadership. All of those things interest me.

Communication and relationships are also something I have a lot of interest in. Serving on a church staff for nearly twenty years taught me that working at a church was probably the toughest job I ever had. The good and bad relationships, the politics, and the positive momentum and personal scandals make church work the most interesting, difficult, and at times, rewarding work in the world.

That’s why I’m drawn to the positive, leadership-enhancing resources that I share. I love a good article or post that challenges me to be a better leader. That’s why posts like 7 Questions that will lead to a stronger partnership between you and your senior pastor, or Is your church an equipping church or a non-equipping church? catch my interest (as they did this week). They allow me to become a better leader and learn from other’s experience; and even their mistakes. My thought in sharing these types of resources is that if they can help me, they may be able to help someone else.

To be honest, that’s probably why I’m drawn to the negative, shake-your-head, or typical church scandal type article as well. In my church staff employment, I saw many things that made me sad, angry, and simply want to give up. I’ve lived through the scandal of a watching a good friend in ministry disqualify himself from ministry right under my nose. I’ve dealt with churches that don’t know how to deal with conflict and take a bad situation and screw it up even more. It happens over and over, everyday, in churches all across America. When I read an article on a church conflict, or scandal, or something that makes me shake my head, I seriously look to see what I can learn from that. That’s why stories like Benny’s or Ted’s interest me. When I see a leader with negative traits, or someone who finds himself in a conflict that instigates a public press story, I am interested because I want to learn what has happened… if for no other reason that so that it doesn’t happen to me. I think this type of analysis, at least for me, is very helpful.

I also enjoy watching trends in the church and culture. When a foundation donates $400K for Episcopal gay liturgies, I think that’s something I should know about. Not because things like this infuriate me or stir emotions, but because it’s part of the church world and the culture in which I live. Call it ‘shop talk’ or whatever you like. For some reason, I’m interested in comparing my property tax bill to Joel Osteen’s. I think as church workers, we have at least a working knowledge of things like the house church movement or church planting. It’s part of our ‘trade’. We need to be knowledgeable.

Other stories… I just find interesting. Like why Ed Young, Jr. would make this video. Or about the church that claims it invented the vuvuzela.

Some people think that only positive stuff should be highlighted… that anything negative or personal should be avoided in the church world. I disagree. I think there has to be a proper balance. While I’ve not always acheived the balance I’d like here at MMI, I think overall, it features a good balance of the ‘good’, the ‘bad’, and the ‘ugly’.

Whenever I’ve written a post like the Benny one, some people accuse MMI of being sensationalistic. In fact, a friend once described MMI as one half Bible, and one half National Enquirer. To be honest, that doesn’t bother me. In fact, you only have to open your Bible to the old testament to find stories that they couldn’t print in the National Enquirer!

So… as you read MMI, remember… you’re reading my personal blog, not the New York Times (or Christianity Today for that matter). You are reading a compilation of things that interest me. In fact, that’s always been my standard for what I write about and link to here. I’m silly enough to figure that if I find something interesting, that maybe someone else will as well.

And, above all, I hope you find the links, articles, and posts to be helpful, in some way at some time, to your local ministry. That, at least, is my prayer!

Have a great week!


I’m sure that most of you have at least heard of the latest, greatest TV evangelist scandal.  The National Enquirer is reporting that Benny Hinn and Paula White are having an affair.  This is a charge that both TV evangelists firmly deny… kinda. Here are a few thoughts. 1.  I know, I know… it’s the National Enquirer.  But say that to John Edwards. 2.  Benny’s still married.  His wife recently filed for divorce.  Paula is divorced.  Twice. 3.  Both say that nothing inappropriate happened and that there is no immorality. 4.  Both were spotted in Italy, hand-in-hand.  The Enquirer supposedly has pictures of them entering a hotel room together. 5.  Both Benny and Paula admit that they were in Italy at the same time recently, and that they were together, but ‘were never alone and were in constant company of staff and other associates”.  The pictures, however, suggest differently. 6.  Both Benny and Paula took different transportation to Rome; and were both there on separate ministry assignments… at the Vatican.  (This sounds just a little fishy to me.  What is the Vatican doing talking to either of these people for?  Seriously? 7.  Benny Hinn posted a response on his website that pretty much said that he does have some feelings for Paula White; but they have decided to ‘cool’ it, at least publically until the divorce is final.  This statement has now been removed from Hinn’s website.  In fact, it was replaced with a video of Benny asking his supporters to help catch up on $2 million dollars worth of bills. 8.  I think most people aren’t really interested.  I think church people want to stay as far away from this as possible.  And I think unchurched just look at it and figure it’s normal.  I’m not in the Hinn/White circles, so I don’t know what the response is there; but let’s face it… both of these ministries (and their followers) are used to dealing with divorces, charges of financial misconduct (both ministries are being investigated for that), and misc. other charges over the years.  It could be to them (personally), and their followers, just another day. 9.  I’m glad that my wife confuses Benny Hinn and Benny Hill.  That makes me smile. Seriously though… I wish that things like this just didn’t happen.  But they do. In fact, there’s not anything that will surprise me any more.   Evangelical (I use that term loosely) scandals these days are so much more complicated.  It used to be that a fall from grace just meant that you had an affair.  Now, it’s not a scandal unless you have a gay prostitute, you beat your spouse in a parking lot, or you get caught holding hands with another evangelist while your still married.  It seems like everyone keeps setting the bar a little higher. The bar of offense has been raised; but the bar of forgiveness has been lowered.  Every one of the recent scandals I’m thinking about have the people involved immediately (or almost immediately) back in ministry.  Some never left the ministry for a minute.  Most have little or no accountability; or scrap their accountability structure when they fall.  They find that there are always enough followers to keep them going.  So, they start afresh. Actually, it disgusts me. Your thoughts? Todd