222 episodes

Transparency and accountability are vital to the renewal of the evangelical church in America. Hosts Warren Smith and Natasha Smith highlight the top stories of the week from the unique MinistryWatch perspective and give you a peek behind the curtain to show why and how we do the investigations we do.

MinistryWatch Podcast Warren Smith and Natasha Smith

    • News
    • 4.7 • 97 Ratings

Transparency and accountability are vital to the renewal of the evangelical church in America. Hosts Warren Smith and Natasha Smith highlight the top stories of the week from the unique MinistryWatch perspective and give you a peek behind the curtain to show why and how we do the investigations we do.

    Ep. 225: Liberty University, SBC Prez Bart Barber Rebukes A Predecessor, and MinistryWatch’s “Shining Light Awards”

    Ep. 225: Liberty University, SBC Prez Bart Barber Rebukes A Predecessor, and MinistryWatch’s “Shining Light Awards”

    On today’s program, in an unprecedented move, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bart Barber, has released a sharp rebuke of one of his predecessors in that role, Johnny Hunt.  We’ll explain why the rebuke, and why it’s important.  Also on today’s program, MinistryWatch releases its “Shining Light Awards.”  We’ll tell you how we arrived at the list, and who some of the winners are.

    We begin today with the latest chapter in the ongoing saga at Liberty University.  A former administrative dean for academic operations is suing Liberty University for $20 million, alleging they fired him because he was a whistleblower.

    The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh.  We get database and other technical support from Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, and Casey Sudduth. Writers who contributed to today’s program include Bob Smietana, Steve Rabey, Kim Roberts, Anne Stych, and Jessica Eturralde.



    Until next time, may God bless you.

    • 27 min
    Ep. 224: A “Giving Tuesday” Update

    Ep. 224: A “Giving Tuesday” Update

    We usually do interviews on these mid-week episodes, but today an update on what’s going on at MinistryWatch.

    The main reason I wanted to do this episode was to talk with you about Giving Tuesday.  I’ll admit that this short episode is shamelessly self-referential – it will be almost all about us.  So I hope you will show me a bit of grace for that, but – on the other hand – I consider you listeners to the podcast a part of the inner circle here at MinistryWatch, and I want you to knows what’s going on.

    The first thing I want you to know is that we’re doing fine.  This is not a panic or crisis communication, I’m pleased to say.  The budget for MinistryWatch is about $450-thousand a year.  Our fiscal year begins July 1.  That means we’re nearing the end of the fifth month of our fiscal year.  And I’m happy to report that we are more or less on budget both in terms of revenue and expenses.

    Our year-end goal – and by that I mean our combined goal for November and December – is $81,000.  That’s $25,000 for the month of November.  As of Monday night, the day BEFORE Giving Tuesday, we were at about $15,000.  That means that we need to raise about $10,000 on Giving Tuesday and on Wednesday the 30th to stay on target.  That’s certainly a do-able number for us.  We raised about $10,000 last year.  But our average donation is less than $100, so that means we will need about 100 people to step up on Giving Tuesday to get us to our goal.



    But the bigger challenge for us comes in the month of December.  Our goal for the month is $56,000.  These are big numbers for us.  I also know that for a lot of people, maybe for you, times are tough, or they are – at a minimum – not as good as they were last year.  The stock market is way down.  Inflation is up.  Lots of us are watching our purse strings.



    That said, if you can afford to help us out over the next month, we would be grateful.  And whether you give to us or not, I hope you’ll use this day as a reminder that Christians are supposed to be joyful, generous, and wise givers.  Here at MinistryWatch we encourage people to give to their local church first.  I’m not ashamed to say out loud that I think that’s where the vast majority of Christian giving should go.



    After that, we think Christians should carefully and prayerfully consider supporting a few ministries that God has placed on your heart.  But which ministries – of the more than 1-million that are out there – should I support.



    Well, that’s where MinistryWatch comes in.  Our goal is to help you become a more effective steward.  We are intentionally not a mega-ministry.  We utilize technology in ways that we think are hyper-efficient, designed to keep us small while at the same time giving you the data you need to make good giving decisions.



    And our strategy seems to be working.  About 140,000 people receive our daily emails.  And in a recent survey we did, more than half of respondents say they use MinistryWatch to help them make giving decisions, and a third said they had changed their giving decisions based on information they received from MinistryWatch.



    All of that is to say this:  We think we’re making a difference, and we couldn’t do what we do without your support.



    So we hope you’ll consider a gift to MinistryWatch either today, on Giving Tuesday, or sometime December, and – if you can – the earlier the better.  I’d love to take some of the drama out of the last week of December – and I’d doubly love not to clutter your inbox with emails.  I can promise you this, if we meet our year-end goal, the emails asking for money will stop.



    Before I go, I did want to mention that we have a few needs here at MinistryWatch that are not financially related.  First, we covet your prayers.  Pray that we will remain faithful.  Here at MinistryWatch, we often write about ministries that started out strong bu...

    • 9 min
    Ep. 223: A Conversation with Robert Thrasher, Who Represents Kanakuk Survivor Logan Yandell

    Ep. 223: A Conversation with Robert Thrasher, Who Represents Kanakuk Survivor Logan Yandell

    Last week, Logan Yandell filed a lawsuit against Kanakuk Ministries alleging fraud.  Logan Yandell’s lawsuit says that when he signed a financial settlement and non-disclosure agreement with Kanakuk, he did not have information that Kanakuk had that would have changed his decision to sign these documents.

    Here at MinistryWatch, we’ve been covering this story for more than a year, so naturally we were interested in this new development.  So we reached out both to Kanakuk and to Logan Yandell’s attorney, Robert Thrasher.  Kanakuk sent us a short statement, which we published in our story about this new lawsuit, posted on the website last week.

    But Robert Thrasher, the attorney for Logan Yandell, agreed to an interview.  So I spoke with Thrasher via zoom last week.  Today we feature that conversation.  You can read our article about the lawsuit, and all of our coverage of Kanakuk Ministries, by going to MinistryWatch.com and typing “Kanakuk” into the search engine.

     



    Before we go, I’d like to remind you that Giving Tuesday is coming up next week, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  Over the past few years, this global day of giving has evolved into a significant event both for us and for non-profits around the country.  If you can make a gift to us on Giving Tuesday, we’d be grateful.  Just go to MinistryWatch.com and hit the “donate” button at the top of the page.



    I also want to remind you that there’s an easy and absolutely free way you can help the program.  Just rate us on your podcast app.  The more ratings we get, the higher we rank with search engines, and that means other people can find us more easily.  Rating us just takes a second, and it doesn’t cost you a dime.  It’s a free and easy – and important – way you can support the MinistryWatch podcast.



    The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh. We get database and other technical support from Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, Kim Roberts, Christina Darnell, Anne Stych, and Casey Sudduth.



    May God bless you.



     

    • 20 min
    Ep. 222: Greg Locke Banned From Twitter, and Children’s Hunger Fund Sees Explosive Growth

    Ep. 222: Greg Locke Banned From Twitter, and Children’s Hunger Fund Sees Explosive Growth

    On today’s program, Tennessee pastor and MAGA celebrity Greg Locke has been banned from YouTube.  We asked why.  Charis Bible College, founded by prosperity gospel preacher Andrew Wommack, was rocked this week by a murder-suicide.  We’ll have details.  We also take a look at the explosive growth of a ministry called Children’s Hunger Fund.

    We begin today with an influential Hispanic pastor under investigation for violating wage and hour laws.

    A big thank you to the folks who showed up earlier this week for a dinner I hosted with MinistryWatch supporters in Newport Beach, California.  And I’ll be having lunch with MinistryWatch supporters in New York City on December 16.  If you live in New York, keep your eyes open for an email from me with the details.  If you want to be sure you get that invitation, just email me at wsmith@ministrywatch.com



    I also wanted to mention that we will be taking a break from the podcast next week.  We’ll be dropping an EXTRA episode on Tuesday, but no podcast episode on Friday.  And we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!



    The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh.  We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, and Casey Sudduth. Writers who contributed to today’s program include Yonat Shimron, Bob Smietana, Steve Rabey, Kim Roberts, Christina Darnell, and Jessica Eturralde.



    Until next time, may God bless you.

    • 24 min
    Ep. 221: James Dobson, Politics and Preachers, and Bob Jones University

    Ep. 221: James Dobson, Politics and Preachers, and Bob Jones University

    On today’s program, James Dobson is stepping aside from the ministry he founded after turning Focus on the Family into an evangelical powerhouse.  We’ll have details.  And during this election week, we have a couple of stories of pastors who are mixing politics and the pulpit.  At least one is under investigation.

    We begin today with an interesting story coming from one of the bastions of fundamentalism in this country:  Bob Jones University.

    The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh.  We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, and Casey Sudduth. Writers who contributed to today’s program include Scott Barkley, Jeremy Schwartz, Jessica Priest, Alejandra Molina, Steve Rabey, Anne Stych, Jessica Eturralde, Christina Darnell—and you, Warren.



    Special thanks to Church Leaders.com for providing material for this week’s podcast.



    Until next time, may God bless you.

    • 25 min
    Ep. 220: Celebration Church, Seattle Pacific University, the $100-M “He Gets Us” Campaign

    Ep. 220: Celebration Church, Seattle Pacific University, the $100-M “He Gets Us” Campaign

    On today’s program, a church does something it doesn’t often do.  It apologizes for its past.  We’ll share why.  We also look more closely at the $100-million evangelistic ad campaign called “He Gets Us.”  And we note the passing of an evangelical elder statesman.  Steve Douglass, who helped Cru grow into one of the largest ministries in the world, is dead at age 77.  We’ll have an appreciation.  We begin today with news that Celebration Church’s founders have reopened a defamation lawsuit against their former church.

    A final reminder that I’ll be hosting a lunch for MinistryWatch friends in Newport Beach, California, on November 15.  If you live in LA, especially Orange County, you should be getting an email from me with more information, but if you want to make sure that you get an invitation, please email me and I’ll make sure you get the details.  All of these lunches are FREE.  They’re just our way of saying THANK YOU for being a part of our work.



    Secondly, we’ve started something new here at MinistryWatch.  We’re doing a quarterly survey of the senior executive in each of the MinistryWatch 1000 ministries.  The first article based on that survey is on the website now.  And I describe the survey more fully in this week’s MinistryWatch EXTRA episode, so if you haven’t heard that episode, please check it out.



     The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh.  We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, Emily Kern, Rod Pitzer, and Casey Sudduth. Writers who contributed to today’s program include Scott Barkley, Jeremy Schwartz, Jessica Priest, Alejandra Molina, Steve Rabey, Anne Stych, Jessica Eturralde, Christina Darnell—and you, Warren.



    Special thanks to The Baptist Press and ProPublica for providing material for this week’s podcast.



    Until next time, may God bless you.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
97 Ratings

97 Ratings

SuzPearl ,

Good info

I appreciate a quick catch-up every week on what’s happening with ministries around the world.

lilly 1958 ,

Very informative

I love staying on top of all the Christian news.

StuPerron ,

Great info on ministries

I listen to this podcast every week. It helps me learn about important information on ministries and how they steward donations.

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