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Weekly Review

Why And How We Cover Sensitive Stories, Changes to the ECFA and MinistryWatch Databases, and “Redemptifying” A Southern Town

Warren Cole Smith

On Today’s MinistryWatch Podcast.  Each week, Warren and Natasha bring you news about Christian ministries, as well as the latest in charity and philanthropy, news that we examine from a Christian worldview perspective.  Our goal is to help us become better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.  On today’s program, new sexual abuse charges have been leveled against the recently deceased Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias.  We discuss why and how we cover such delicate stories.  Also on today’s program:  When unwanted or disruptive people log on to your Zoom meeting, that’s come to be called Zoombombing.  It’s starting to happen in church services and other worship gatherings.  And we’ll have the latest installment in our Generous Living series:  a couple from Manhattan who gave up the Wall Street lifestyle so they could support God’s work.  We also have an update on a story we first brought you in July. Blackbaud, one of the nation’s largest fundraising and donor management companies, announced this week that personal data of some donors to charities that use the Blackbaud’s software was exposed to cybercriminals.  You can hear the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast apps, or you can simply click here.

MinistryWatch Extra with John and Ashely Marsh.  A quick reminder that our new MinistryWatch Extra podcast episode is now going strong.  Natasha Smith and I will continue our weekly roundup of the week’s MinistryWatch news, posted each Friday (as mentioned above).  The extra episode will be an interview with a writer, ministry leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist.  This week’s guests are John and Ashely Marsh.  If you type “death of small town America” into a search engine, you’ll get more than a half-million hits.  You’ll find stories about the death of Rust Belt cities.  Stories about the death of southern mill towns.  Stories about the death of farming communities in the West.  This is not one of those stories.  Opelika is a former textile mill town in Lee County, Alabama, not far from the Georgia line.  Twenty years ago, it might have fit comfortably into that “death of the small town” cliché.  With the textile industry fleeing overseas, by the 1980s, Opelika’s downtown was all but boarded-up.  But that was before John and Ashely Marsh got a hold of it.  As you will hear, John and Ashely’s marriage was in even worse shape than Opelika.  John was an alcoholic and a workaholic.  Ashely was on the verge of divorce, and John was on the verge of suicide when they turned their lives over to Christ.  Their relationship with Christ transformed their relationship to each other, and to their neighbors.  And that transformation has led to the transformation of a town, and that town is now a model for other small cities around the country.  To learn more, or to listen, click here.

ECFA Changes.  The following organizations have had membership status changes in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  ADDITIONS: Palmer Home for Children (Columbus, Miss.), With (Knoxville, Tenn.), CoPassion (Jacksonville, Fla.), Present Age Ministries (Harrisburg, N.C.), The Bucket Ministry (Fate, Tex.), The Send (Huntington Beach, Calif.), The Kaleo Foundation (Warr Acres, Okla.), LIFELIGHT (Louisville, Ken.), Reach A Village (Park Forest, Ill.), ProGrace (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Firm Foundation in Christ Ministries (Beaverton, Ore.), REMOVALS:  The Road (Richardson, Tex.), Baptist Global Response (Nashville, Tenn.), Shining Light Ministries (Annville, Penn.)

MinistryWatch Rating Changes.  The following ministries have their profiles updated with the most recent year’s financial data.  The Financial Efficiency rating of each ministry is in parenthesis. If this rating represents a change from the previous year, that change is noted: Faith Broadcasting, Inc. (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Mission Aviation Fellowship (1 Star, Transparency Grade: C), Mission Eurasia (pka Russian Ministries, Inc.) (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Missionary Athletes International (Down from 3 to 2 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Open Air Campaigners US Incorporated (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Operation Mobilization (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Pioneer Bible Translators (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Student Mobilization, Inc. (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Total Living Network / TLN / Jerry Rose (Down from 2 to 1 Star, Transparency Grade: C), World Help (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), WorldVenture (5 Stars, Transparency Grade: C).  These ministries have recently been added to the database: Southern Nazarene University (2 Stars, Transparency Grade: N/A), Southwest Baptist University (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: N/A), Gardner Webb University (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: N/A), Point Loma Nazarene University (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: N/A)

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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine and has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 20 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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