This Week in Ministry

Each week, Todd Rhoades and Matt Steen look at the top stories affecting pastors and ministry leaders across the country.
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Apr 29, 2017

Sermon Content Is What Appeals Most to Churchgoers

Court Says Disaffiliated Church's Property Belongs To Local Congregation, Not PCUSA

Will Livestreaming a Worship Service Hurt a Church’s Attendance?

Southlake-based Gateway Church confirms it will cut staff by 10-15 percent

Has Lying Become Normal and Acceptable in American Society?


Apr 21, 2017

What The Tech? Bible in virtual reality


Less than half of German Christians believe in heaven


Neuroscience of religion reveals hidden cultural trends


Special report: 1 in 4 Americans don't think one-night stands count as cheating

Apr 14, 2017

A quarter of Christians do not believe in the resurrection

Number of U.S. adults cohabiting with a partner continues to rise, especially among those 50 and older

What Would Jesus Disrupt?

5 things churches lose when they give up hymnals

Todd's Favorite Hymn Verse (See verse 5!)

Mar 24, 2017

Religion Is Declining Where It’s Needed the Most

Poor communities have the greatest need of religion’s benefits, since it creates stronger social ties, offers hope, and keeps younger community members out of trouble. However, the decline in religion throughout America is the greatest in the poor communities who need it the most. Where there is greater affluence and education, religion is more likely to be declining at lower numbers and rates.

Source: Washington Post


Social Media Is Replacing Phone Calls

Young adults and teens today are more likely to share social media contact information rather than their phone numbers. In 2015, 62% of teens reported sharing a username from Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or Skype rather than sharing a phone number. Only 13% relied on phone numbers as the primary form of communication.

Source: NY Post


Princeton Seminary Reaches Compromise Over Keller

In a compromise reached in consultation with Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Princeton Theological Seminary president Rev. Craig Barnes announced that Keller will deliver the Kuyper lecture on April 6, but he will not receive the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness. Keller had been chosen for the award, but many within the Princeton community opposed Keller because of his teachings about female submission and opposition to same sex marriage.

Source: RNS

Mar 20, 2017

This week, we discuss a recent trip Matt took to Greece to help a group of local church planters.

Feb 17, 2017

As a direct result of the recent decision by the Trump Administration to dramatically reduce the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. throughout fiscal year 2017, World Relief has been forced to make the difficult decision to layoff 140+ staff members across its U.S. Ministry and close local offices in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Glen Burnie, Maryland. Collectively, these five offices have resettled more than 25,000 refugees over the past four decades.


When Adrien Koch retired last summer from her job with FEMA in the Bay Area, she and her husband resettled in the wooded mountains of north Idaho. They had visited only a few months before on a vacation but had quickly fallen in love. For Koch, Idaho reminded her of the California she knew in the 1970s.



Feb 10, 2017

Pastor's Families Generally Happy But Report Ministry Drain

Many pastors are satisfied in their work, they admit that it takes a toll on their family life, according to a recently released study by the Barna group. As a matter of fact, an impressive 70% of US pastors claimed to have happy marriages and healthy family lives. However, when asked if their church work has been hard on their family life, 40% admitted that it certainly has.

Source: PJ Media


The Normalization of Lay Pastors

The use of lay leaders for preaching, teaching and organization is becoming increasingly more common across the United States. Research shows that the number of congregations led by part-time clergy rose from 29 percent to 38 percent from 2010 to 2015. If you’re on paid staff this might seem alarming but many congregations who rely heavily on lay leadership and preachers report increased ownership, faith and engagement.

Source: Christian Science Monitor


Aging Pastors Struggle to Find Viable Replacements

The Barna Group has released a new study entitled “The State of Pastors, 2017” which shows that the age of most Senior Pastors is increasing, often due to a struggle to find a suitable, younger replacement. In fact, 69% of pastors report that it's “becoming more difficult to identify promising pastoral candidates" due to a number of factors including delayed spiritual maturity of millennials and financial struggles.

Source: Christianity Daily

Jan 27, 2017

Stetzer Pleads for Christians to Share News Responsibly

In an editorial for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer writes that the truth will set us free, but Christians have been among some of the most likely to share fake news, with a popular Christian news site providing one of the clearest examples of bad reporting. Stetzer encouraged readers to consider sharing true, factual news as part of their Christian witness and reliable Gospel messengers.

Source: Christianity Today

Don’t Break the Law During the Super Bowl

Churches are allowed to host Super Bowl viewing parties regardless of screen size, but there are several key restrictions. For starters, a church cannot charge admission, although donations to cover food costs are permitted. Churches also cannot use official logos for the NFL or the teams playing in promotional material.

Source: Facts & Trends

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Jan 21, 2017

Pastoral Missteps and Renewed Faith Top CT News

In the list of the top 20 stories from Christianity Today, a number of pastoral missteps and removals topped the news in 2016, including Andy Stanley’s regret that he said it’s selfish to attend a small church and the resignation of Darrin Patrick from Acts 29 and his St. Louis church The Journey. However, the charismatic renewal of Bethel Church continues and former atheist Nicole Cliffe wrote about how God messed up her “happy atheist life.”

Source: Christianity Today


Why this story matters for church leaders:

People will always want to know about pastors who failed or overstepped their boundaries in some way, so church leaders should have clear accountability and restoration plans should a misstep happen.


  • Communication Mishaps: With recorded sermons today, a comment can go out of context quickly and become news.
  • Review Processes: Is your church at a stage where it may help to have a trusted colleague or member to read over your sermon notes in order to catch potential problems?
  • Testimonies Are Powerful: One of the most popular stories at Christianity Today was a conversion story, which reminds us that a testimony can still encourage many.

Is there one particular lesson or action step your church can take based on this story?

Jan 13, 2017

Quarter of Americans Look to Presidents for Solutions

A LifeWay poll asking Americans who they look to in order to solve the problems in America found that only 23% relied on the U.S. president to solve their problems. Only 11% trusted in preachers and 10% looked toward college professors. However, 33% choose “none of the above” in their response.

Source: LifeWay


3 Growing Trends for Healthy Churches

Thom Rainer has noticed three key trends that are leading to healthier churches throughout America. For starters, he’s seeing longer pastoral tenures, and he hopes that will continue since longer tenures tend to correlate with more effective ministry. Rainer also sees renewed emphasis on practical ministries and a commitment to ongoing learning within the ministry context.

Source: Facts and Trends


Compassion International Finds All Sponsors for Four Countries

All of the children available to be sponsored through Compassion International in four countries, El Salvador, Indonesia, Rwanda, and Tanzania, were sponsored at a recent event, making it the largest surge in sponsorships to date. Roughly 14% of the 50,000 conference attendees at a Passion event signed up to support children with education, healthcare, food, and the gospel for $38 a month.

Source: Christianity Today