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This is a great example of how NOT to run your church finances, or your personal finances for that matter. Eddie Long has had a rough couple of years… various sexual allegations with young men that were settled out of court, declining membership at his megachurch, and now a divorce… which is bringing new details into view of how convoluted the finances are between Long’s church and his personal finances. And the local TV news investigative reporter is all over the story.  Lesson:  Keep your personal finances personal, and don’t mix it up and blur the lines with the church.  I know this is not a problem for most all of us… at least to this degree… but as a pastor, you have opportunities, however small, to game the system from time to time.  In the words of Nancy Reagan:  “Just say no”, or else you may end up in this type of a situation with the IRS and local media: Thoughts? Todd

Here’s a TV story about a church in North Carolina. Big feud between past members and current members. According to the news story… a settlement has been reached. The current leadership will remain in power, and the pastor stays.  The pastor was accused of child abuse at his last ministry, but says those claims are false. My question… what good can come out of this? Seriously? This “Bible preaching, KJV” church is not positioned to reach anyone after a very public fight, and a pastor shrouded in controversy. When should a pastor or a church just call it a day? I think this may be one of those instances (for both the church and the pastor)  IF  they are serious about reaching people in their community. If they want to keep a small group of people together to read and preach from the KJV, I guess it’s ok.  But their very presence will not be good for the overall name of Christ in that community. Am I totally off base here? (I’ve been known to be from time to time) What do you think? Todd

Here’s an interesting update from John MacArthur, speaking on multisite churches:
The first thing that comes to mind with multi-site pastors preaching on flat screens to people in another city is that it’s completely artificial….It’s artificial, it’s not real, it’s not reality….The most important of all the shepherds to be known and loved and understood and watched by the flock, is the one who teaches them the Word of God. The very basic requirement for a pastor is that the congregation can affirm that he is a godly man: they know his life, they know his wife, they know his kids, they know he manages his household well, they know how he lives, how he spends his money, how he behaves. All of that exposure is necessary to the confidence of the people in the pastor….Intimacy, connection, friendship, vulnerability, exposure, that’s essential to being a pastor. Any other approach is purely artificial and it has a way of making somebody famous without making them a real shepherd.
Found here.  (You’ll enjoy this article!) So… the answer is… John is not going multisite in the foreseeable future. Word to all the artificial multi-site pastors and churches out there:  Keep up the good work. But word to the wise:  If you REALLY wanted to spread the gospel… TV is where it’s at.  The 60 in. plasma in my living room beats out your 10 foot screen every day of the week (even if it is purely supplemental). Todd

Trend alert:  Many pastors are starting to pack heat. And it’s no wonder… there have been a lot of church shootings recently. Here’s an interesting TV report that shows both sides of the issue; and talks to pastors about why or why not they think carrying a gun in the pulpit is a good idea. I wish I could get the video to embed, but you’ll have to watch it here. Do YOU pack heat?  Have you considered it?  Do you know others that do? Do you think this is a great idea or a horrible one? Please leave your comments below! Todd

Greater Friendship Baptist Church in Daytona beach is hosting Operation Safe Surrender today.  It’s a program that is encouraging fugitives to turn themselves in. Here’s how it works.  Fugitives turn themselves in (rather than wait for the cops to beat down their door.) In return, the fugitive will have his first appearance at the church via closed circuit TV before a county judge.  There will also be ten public defenders available at the church as a resource to them. In addition, the church will provide pastors for spiritual counseling at the same time. In return for turning themselves in, the criminals, at least those charged with non-violent felonies or misdemeanors, will likely receive dropped or reduced charges. This is the third time that the church has partnered with the police and county in this program. What do you think?  Is this a good idea?  I’m really surprised that no one has cried foul on the separation of church and state issue. Would your church participate in such a program if asked? Read more here… Todd