50 Things You Should Be Reading this Week…

Last year, my friend Matt Steen and I embarked on an interesting journey.

We’re both self-confessed information junkies, particularly when it comes to the church.  We love to find great resources to make ourselves better leaders… and we love sharing it with others.

Not everyone is like us.  (“Thankfully”, say our wives.)

So, if you’re a ‘non-junkie’ who doesn’t have the time or the patience to wade through tons of content to find the true ‘nuggets’, It’s ok. You know it’s important to keep up on what’s happening in the church world. Matt and I can help eliminate that frustration and probably full-on guilt that you’re feeling. (All ministry leaders live with full-on guilt, right?!)

That’s where Ministry Briefing comes in.

Ministry Briefing is kind of a ‘just the facts’ resource that Matt and I deliver to hundreds of church leader’s email in-boxes every Friday morning.  In it, you’ll find a really short, custom-written synopsis of what we think are the top 50 things every church leader in America should know about.

Think of it as your Cliffs Notes for all things ministry.

In fact, in just 30 minutes, you’ll be up-to-date on all the things you know you really need to know, but have just not had the time to keep up with.

30 minutes… just you, a cup of coffee, and Ministry Briefing.

Frustration gone.  Brain loaded. Guilt subsided. Batteries recharged.

It’s a great feeling.

OK… maybe it’s not total heaven this side of heaven.  But we really do believe that Ministry Briefing can help you be a better leader by learning from others and knowing what in the world is going on.

Below you’ll find six of the stories you’ll read in this week’s full Ministry Briefing.  You can download the full 50 stories in less than 60 seconds and read them on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or Kindle. And the cost… just $2.99. (And if you buy it, and think it is (as Paul would say) ‘dirty rags’, just email me, and I’ll be happy to refund your three bucks.

So… let’s get caught up together.  Today.  Right now.



Here are some samples of the great content you’ll read this week…

Chef Rick Warren… Cookbook Author?

In following up his #1 New York Times bestseller, pastor Rick Warren is expanding his Daniel Plan dieting book with a cookbook. Warren promises American classics that don’t compromise taste. Source: http://bit.ly/1iOXC7V • The Christian Post

Nashville Atheist Church Adds Second Service

The Sunday Assembly, an atheist church, has add- ed a second service after three months of meetings that celebrate life. The movement’s co-founder Sanderson Jones, will co-lead a service alongside agnostic documentary film maker Morgan Spurlock. Source: http://bit.ly/1fg5BXx • The Christian Post

Divorce Higher Among Evangelicals in New Report

A new report from Baylor University that included data from a number of studies found that evangeli- cals have higher divorce rates than those who claim no religion. Those who claim no religious affiliation has grown form 3% in the 1960′s to 20%.

Source: http://bit.ly/1iP1bLl • Baptist Standard

Mennonites Ordain Lesbian Clergy Member

Theda Good was licensed as the pastor of nurture and fellowship at at First Mennonite Church of Den- ver under the Mountain States Mennonites. Good is the first lesbian in a committed same-sex relation- ship to be ordained by the Mennonites.

Source: http://bit.ly/1ojPwri • RNS

Arvella Schuller Passes Away

Arvella Schuller, the wife of Robert Schuller, passed away at the age of 84. She was a producer for the Hour of Power television show and was noted as one of the key creative forces behind the growth of the Crystal Cathedral.

Source: http://lat.ms/1ojTZKP • L.A. Times

Pastor Uses Nudity as Object Lessons

Pastor Allen Parker of White Tail Chapel in Rich- mond, VA has made clothing optional in his congre- gation. Parker has used public nudity as a way of discussing the ways we can approach Christ without shame.

Source: http://bit.ly/1kzriJp • UPI

Order your copy of this week’s Ministry Briefing and download immediately here…


Here is the full list of topics and stories we cover in this week’s edition of Ministry Briefing…


Chef Rick Warren… Cookbook Author?


Atheists May Be Growing But Many Remain Silent
Baby Boomers Turn to Small Start Ups
Marriage and Education Linked
Pro Life Groups Oppose Girl Scout Tweets
Doctor Assisted Suicide Rebranded for Boomers
Top Defensive Player at Missouri Comes Out
Same Sex Couples Receive More Rights Under Federal Government
Does a Catholic Hospital Have to Follow Discrimination Laws?
Nashville Atheist Church Adds Second Service
Divorce Higher Among Evangelicals in New Report
Does Crowd Funding Bring A Dark Side?
This Is What Happy Couples Do…


Church Arsonist Forgiven
Pastor Released from Prison in Philippines
Bob Jones University Rejects GRACE
Legal Team for Florida Church Quits in Middle of Foreclosure Fight
Ponzi Scheme Involving Eddie Long Reaches Settlement
Camel Carries a Load of Questions for the Bible
FBI and IRS Raid Charity’s Warehouse
Minnesota Pastor Takes 1500 Mile Snow Mobile Trip


Chicago Presbytery Fails to Preserve Camp and Dunes
Orthodox Receive Welby’s Support of Hagia Sophia
Assemblies of God Minister Dismissed
Poll Reveals Deeply Divided Catholic Church
Mennonites Ordain Lesbian Clergy Member
Farmer Leaves 10 Million to Catholic Churches


Couple Leading Homeless Ministry Get Married Under Bridge


Arvella Schuller Passes Away


Bill Gothard Revealed as Sexual Predator
Virtual Deaf Church Pastor Announces He’s an Atheist
Zschech Experiences God’s Love Throughout Cancer Journey
Ken Ham Says Robertson Is Neither Scientist Nor a Bible Scholar
Pierce Brosnan Relies on His Faith


Anxiety Comes with Smart Phones on the Night Stand
PillCam Could Replace Colonoscopy Procedure
Google Glass Is Coming to the Airport
Smartphones Become Flash Point for Many Couples
It’s Not Cool to Impersonate James Dean
New Start Up Creates Digital Representation of Individual


What Would Jesus Brew?
Youth Pastors Need Texting Policies
Church in New Orleans Integrates After Katrina
Leaders Need to Prioritize Family


Pastor Uses Nudity as Object Lessons
Molson Beer Fridge Can Only be Opened with Canadian Passport


England Has Railway Chaplains
Orthodox Church Fails to Draw Regular Attendees in Russia
European Union Could Be In Trouble
British Bible Society Finds a Nation without Bible Knowledge
For Sochi Time As This

Order your copy of this week’s Ministry Briefing and download immediately here…

Don’t Miss the 2014 Large Church Salary, Staffing and Budget Survey

This week Leadership Network launched our “2014 Large Church Salary, Staffing and Budget Survey.” Our bold goal was to email someone in every large church (attendance 1,000 to 50,000+) across North American.

The responses from this survey will allow us to report valuable information such as:

- What’s the salary range for an executive pastor in a church of 7,000?
- How do budgets compare for churches with attendances of 8,000-9,000?
- What’s the staff-to-attender ratio in churches over 10,000?
- What percent of budget goes to staffing costs in megachurches, and how does that change with size?
- How does the salary of a founding pastor in a large church compare with that of a successor pastor?

The more who participate, the more specific comparisons we can provide. If you didn’t receive an email inviting your church to participate, please send this link to the person on your staff who is privy to your church’s salary and budget information.

Here’s the link to the survey: https://www.research.net/s/C8YRZKM

Benefits of participating: For those who participate, we offer an executive summary, an invitation-only video Q&A webcast and even a copy of the data set (sanitized to remove all church-identifier clues). All free. For larger churches, nowhere else will you join such a sizable group of peers. The time you invest will come back to you in multiplied helpful information. Thank you!

Questions? Contact us at research@leadnet.org or 214-754-9179.

What the Church can learn from CVS and Flappy Bird

Two stories from the past week have caught my eye.

Honestly, you don’t see these kind of stories very often.

Like CVS, the huge pharmacy chain, deciding that it will no longer sell tobacco products.  Tobacco is a 2 Billion dollar business for CVS, but they are walking away from the money, saying that the health of their customers is more important than profits.

Then there’s Doug Nguyen, the Vietnamese developer of a viral mobile game called Flappy Bird.  Flappy Bird because a huge success overnight.  (My kids had me try it on my iPad, and I admit my high score was 1.)  Nguyen abruptly pulled the game from the app stores.  It seems the $50,000 he was making off the app’s ad placements was ruining his ‘simple lifestyle’.

It’s not often that big business walks away from $2 billion.  Or that an individual walks away from an estimated $18 million a year salary.

But both did.  For the right reason.

They took their eyes off the money, and did what was right for their business and for their own personal sanity.

What if the church did this?

Many times church programs are tied to money.

So… here are some questions to ask:

1.  What is our church doing only because of the money?  (Maybe it was a largely successful ministry in the past that is still bringing in the bucks but has lost it’s effectiveness)

2.  What is our church NOT doing because of the month? (This is the opposite side of the coin.  Don’t be foolish, but what is your church NOT doing because you’re SO focused on your pocket-book?

3. What are we offering as a church that is not healthy overall?  (Everything is good, right?  NO!  Some programs take away from time and effort needed to be put into other things. Some high maintenance, high calorie programs need to be replaced with things that directly further the mission and vision of the church).

Take some time today to re-think and re-align what YOU are offering (just like Doug Nguyen and the CEO of CVS did).  What would be different six months or a year from now if you made some bold decisions like this today?



“We love you to death, but you’re no longer a fit here…”

Marion Aldridge asks a great question:

What happens when, after a time of magnificent ministry, it is obvious an individual and a church are no longer a fit?

Here’s the problem as Marion states it:

Most churches are small. Compared to the government’s various definitions of “small business,” which can be 50-500 employees, our congregations are tiny. It is a rare church that has a dozen employees. Most have one (the pastor) or two (the pastor and an administrative assistant). Some have full-time or part-time employees with very specialized skills — financial secretary, minister of music, preschool coordinator.

If someone is a good employee but in the wrong job, larger businesses can move a person to an assignment where he or she can succeed.

But churches can’t do that. We are too small. There is no wiggle room. Promotions and demotions are nearly impossible in ecclesiastical life within the same congregation.

This is a problem for small AND large churches.

Particularly when the church has changed over the years.

Maybe the church has grown dramatically under one leader.  Past success does not mean future success.  The reality is, it takes one skill set to grow a church from 100 to 500, and a complete different skill set to consistently pastor a church that is larger… or one that grows to a thousand.

Read more here…

An Update From Todd…

I sent this out earlier today to all of my friends of the website:

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out an email or given an update!  Things are been busy here in Ohio, digging out from the snow… but I hope this email finds you well!

I’ve appreciated getting to know many of you personally over the past years, and am excited to meet and work with many more of you this year!

Every December, I recalibrate for the coming year (as many of you do as well). Sometimes I over-evaluate the previous 12 months… what went well, what went badly, and ways that I can improve… all in an effort to make the biggest impact for Jesus and the Kingdom as possible in the coming new year.

In addition to my work at Leadership Network, I have two other major projects that I am working on with friends and colleagues in 2014: Ministry Briefing andChurchJobs.tv.  In this update, I want to share some of my work and recent writings in the staffing area and my work at the new ChurchJobs.tv website. (Also, watch your email this Monday for another little surprise).

So… today, I want to introduce you to my new baby… ChurchJobs.tv.  I played around a little bit with the site last year, but finally settled on a platform that will allow, what I think, the best experience on the web for churches that are looking for staff and staff that are looking for a new place to serve.  And we’ve worked hard over the past few months to build what I believe to be the largest, most accurate list of church job openings you’ll find anywhere. In fact, in the past 60 days, we’ve gathered over 600 church job openings that have been added and checked for accuracy.

If you’re currently looking for a new staff member for your church… we’d love to help you, personally, however we can, to get your opening in front of your next staff person.

If you’re a staff person looking for a new opportunity, we’re working hard to give you the greatest list of the newest job openings you’ll find anywhere.

But even if you’re not looking for a new staff person OR a new job, you’ll find that ChurchJobs.tv has a great library of resources to help you manage your staff and improve your professional career.  We’ve assembled over 250 articles and resources to help every church and church staff member. For example, we have6 resources on compensation issues43 resources for hiring new staff members,8 articles on salary negotiations, and 34 resources on how to better manager your staff.

Below is a sampling of some things we’ve added over the past week. I’d love it if you’d follow us on Twitter as well!

Let’s talk again on Monday… watch your email!  :)


Leadership Clout. Why it’s important, and how to get some.

I’m so excited.  Today is the day my friend Jenni Catron’s first book hits the shelves.  It’s called “Clout:  Discover and Unleash your God-given Influence.”

Jenni is an absolutely GREAT leader… and I think this book will encourage you in your search for leadership in the church and in life in general.

Here’s a little preview:

It is easy to believe that power, influence, and leadership are gifts given to a special few. But the Bible says otherwise.

We all long for significance, even as we fear we will never be good enough. We listen for God, but hear only voices of doubt and practicality. Listen again. There is a call that only you can answer.

Clout is power and influence. It is an undeniable trait that opens doors and moves mountains. You have it, and you can use it to change the world around you. With Scripture and stories from her own life, Jenni Catron maps out the pitfalls and clear paths on the way toward discovering and unleashing your very own clout.

This is not a quest of power for power’s sake. Influence is not a guarantee of fame or fortune. It is an opportunity to use your gifts to do the extraordinary. This is a journey toward dismantling what stands in the way of your influence and leadership, discovering your God-given clout, and using it to answer God’s calling on your life.

Grab a copy of the book today here.

Or check out the website or download a free chapter here!

(You can thank me later)  :)



Free Report: Staffing for Stewardship

Churches throughout the United States are not only taking the Bible’s teaching on stewardship and generosity more seriously, they are also developing creative new staff roles to help integrate the value of generosity into all aspects of congregational life. All have one thing in common—a renewed focus on generosity is creating blessings for those who give and receive.

Leadership Network’s concept paper, Staffing for Stewardship: Innovative churches are exploring new pathways for incorporating stewardship, previously published by Alexis Wilson explores this important topic.

Here are some great quotes from the paper:

“We realized we needed to challenge people in all areas of stewardship.”

“Stewardship is the understanding that everything belongs to God, and we are just managers of his resources.”

“The heart of stewardship is that everything belongs to God, and we get to take care of it.”

“That is the way that we should live every day giving our money away like it’s about to be worthless.”

“Do not go it alone. Find others who are walking this road, and build your ministries together.”

To see the entire library of Leadership Network’s papers, podcasts, and videos go to


Multisite Church Trends for 2014 from Jim Tomberlin

Multisite Church TrendsMultisite church trends have changed from year to year… but the momentum and sustainability of the multisite revolution will continue well into 2014.  Jim Tomberlin knows as well as anyone what is happening in multisite these days.

Here’s what he thinks we’ll see more of in 2014 in Multisite Church Trends:

Megachurches becoming giga-churches. Megachurches are getting bigger because they are no longer limited to one location.

Owning multisite locations. Up to now the overwhelming majority of multisite campuses are in rented facilities. Because the multisite model has now moved beyond an experiment to a proven strategy more churches are beginning to buy land to construct new buildings or purchase existing buildings for permanent multisite campuses.

New rules for church construction. In an increasingly hostile culture towards new church construction the rules have changed for constructing new church buildings. The new church buildings going up today are smaller, multi-purpose, multi-venue, local community-centric and environmentally-friendly buildings.

The majority of multisite churches are not maximizing the model. Most of the 5,000+multisite churches are stuck at two or three campuses because they don’t know how or aren’t willing to make the organizational changes necessary to fully benefit from the multisite model. The majority of multisite churches are still functioning like a mono-site church with campuses instead of a church of campuses.   If this describes your church take the Multisite Diagnostic Test to determine how well your church is managing this paradigm shift.

Multisite churches with four or more campuses. Even though the majority of multisite churches are not fully maximizing the multisite model as previously mentioned, more are growing beyond three campuses. The fourth campus is the “game-changer” that typically forces churches to change their structure which positions them to take full advantage of the model and grow even beyond four campuses.

Confusing multisiting with church planting. Though the outcome of church planting and multisiting is the same—new congregations, church plants and multisite campuses are not the same thing.  There are geographic, gifting and governance differences. A lack of clarity and understanding around these differences  causes a lot of unnecessary problems in multisite churches.

Se habla español (Spanish spoken here). Multisite megachurches are leading the way in producing local congregations that are more economically, racially and ethnically diverse especially within Hispanic communities.

Multisite Teaching Teams. Whether they utilize video sermons or not, there is a growing desire to develop preaching-teaching teams to strengthen the teaching bench of the church, develop teachers and potential successors while increasing the overall depth and breadth of biblical instruction.

Requests for Multisite Coaching.  There is a rising chorus for on-going multisite coaching in the month-to-month oversight of a growing multisite church. A coach who can help churches go from two to five, then ten campuses. Someone who can help them avoid the potholes and get better at multisiting. They need a mentor and we got’em at MultiSite Solutions. Find the right one for you by visiting Jim at Considering a Multisite Mentor?

Read more from Jim here.

What do you think?  Is your church multisite?  Are you seeing these trends in your neck of the woods?


Welcome to 2014. Time to think about your resignation letter.

Well… that’s not a great way to start off 2014, Todd… thinking about your resignation letter from your church!

OK… I get your point.

But maybe you should think about it today… the first day back to work in the new year.

Whether you’re happy you’re where you are at, or you’re just putting in your time (we’ve both been both places!), there is some value in the exercise of thinking about what you might write in your resignation letter… it helps to to focus on what you’re thankful for today.

I wrote a post about this subject over at my ChurchJobs.tv site.  I hope you’ll take time to read it today and do the exercise.  Believe it or not, it could give you a real kick in the pants for 2014 as you reflect back on the good things that have happened (and that are still in store for you) WHEREVER God has placed you!

Pastoral Resignation Letters:  Seven Elements for a Successful Letter

Here’s to a great 2014!


Mark Driscoll is not an intentional plagairist

Mark Driscoll is many things to many people.

But he’s not an intentional plagiarist.

At least in my opinion.

Maybe you haven’t heard of all the uproar. (But I find it hard to believe it’s gotten past you).

Driscoll appeared a couple of weeks ago on nationally syndicated Christian talk show host Janet Mefford’s radio program to discuss his new book. But the discussion never got to the book.

Instead, Driscoll was first backed into a corner on his recent appearance at the John MacArthur Strange Fire conference.  Mefford tried to get Driscoll to admit that he lied about his books being confiscated.

Getting no traction there, she moved on to ask Driscoll how he could steal 14 pages of his new book from theologian Peter Jones.

Driscoll was obviously blindsided.

And even after he said that if he made a mistake, he would take steps to rectify it, Mefford didn’t let up, and eventually accused Driscoll of hanging up on her (which he didn’t… proving that with a recording from his end of the conversation with him saying ‘I’m still here’.

Here’s why:

1.  When most people plagiarize, the don’t steal from friends.

Driscoll and Peter Jones are friends (and so are Mefford and Jones). As Mark said, they’ve shared meals together.  Jones has spoken at Driscoll’s church, and written endorsements for Driscoll’s books.  I don’t think friends do this to friends, at least intentionally.

2.  When most people plagiarize, they don’t do it in a forum where they’ll be sure to be found out.

There are all kinds of safeguards in place here… supposedly.  Publishers don’t want to publish works that aren’t original, and authors don’t want to be discredited by putting out material that will be tagged as being copied.  Plagiarism mostly finds its place where people think they can get away with it… like spoofing a professor, or copycatting a sermon to a local church.  :)  You know… places where the copied material will, chances are, never be found out.  This would be the equivalent of a pastor having a moral failure in plain view of everyone… shade up and lights on.

3.  To me, Driscoll was clearly taken aback by the accusation.  

As I listened to the recording, Driscoll actually sounded (to me) to be quite willing to make sure that this would not be an issue, offering to go to Peter Jones personally… and if need be, apologize to him and make changes with his publisher if need be.  What else can you do?

Listen.  I’m not here to make excuses for Mark Driscoll.  He’s a big boy.  I have no idea if he wrote what he wrote, how he wrote it, what his editing process was, etc.

And yes… I’ve seen the side-by-side comparisons (that I’m glad somebody has hours and hours of time on their hands to research).

But as I said… Mark Driscoll may be many things, but a serial (or intentional) plagiarist he is not. IMHO.

Whether you like him or despise him, Driscoll is brilliant.

And he loves Jesus.

And I trust him at his word… that behind the scenes he is making right whatever needs to be made right and will move on.

I try to always give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to a conclusion. I think there’s an extra measure of grace there that I want to be characterized by.  But the trend these days is to jump head-first.

As Mark Driscoll says, “There are three sides to every story.”

Or maybe that was Rick Warren.  Or Ghandi.  I forget.

Tomorrow, I hope to continue some thoughts here on a rising trend I’m seeing in Christianity these days:  how some Christian leaders are using traditional and social media to make their point and get their way.

What do YOU think?

Please leave a comment below…

Have a great day.




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