An established executive in branding and marketing in the retail world, Sam Smith realized the need for compassionate, yet professional business acumen within ministry leadership and coined the term "Optimizing Ministry."
Sam used that focus to achieve record results in fundraising and volunteer support as the CEO at Mercy Ships. He was then approached by Medical Ministry International (www.mmint.org) and is now able to make an even larger impact on the poor as CEO of that global organization. MMI has staff and programs in more than 22 countries that utilize health centers, residency training, and medical teams to serve the poor using Jesus as their guide. Sam is the author of the book, "When Love Heals" and blogs at sam-smith.net. Recently, I interviewed Sam about his insights on leadership and international ministry:
Phil Cooke: You're a nonprofit leader with a long background in business. Has that been a help or hindrance? more >>
A federal appeals court has scheduled arguments on an appeal from a group of churches hoping to erect a temporary cross display on public property in Indiana.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided to hear arguments on an appeal regarding churches, including West Side Christian Church of Evansville, which wanted to create a display with multiple crosses on property in Evansville.
Arguments will be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 18 before the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. more >>
Tony Campolo, conservative Christian preacher and influential social activist, has announced his intent to retire from the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) in June after nearly 40 years of impacting the lives of at-risk youth in the U.S. and abroad.
"Next month I will be 79 years old, and this decision will allow me to retire gracefully as president of EAPE," Campolo shared with supporters in a newsletter this week. "After June 30, 2014, I will go on preaching and teaching from my base at Eastern University. The president of Eastern, Dr. Robert Duffett, has agreed to provide me with the assistance and office space I need to continue the work that I believe God has called me to do."
He added, "Sometimes Christian organizations become self-perpetuating and continue long after they have fulfilled their mission. Not so with us! I, along with the EAPE board, believe in accord with Scripture that 'for everything there is a season,' and that the season has arrived for EAPE to come to an end." more >>
Churches and faith-based organizations immediately responded to the West Virginia chemical spill by gathering drinkable water and other basic needs by the truckloads soon after bottled water became a commodity and a state of emergency was declared last week.
Relief efforts began to pour in to the state on Friday, a day after over 7,000 gallons of the chemical known as 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was discovered in the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., leaving more than 300,000 people in Charleston and various surrounding counties without clean water.
"Our disaster response team departed Friday with initial shipments…these included four semis [trucks] and a box truck carrying almost 200,000 pounds of bottled water and other beverages and more than 8,500 pounds of paper products, plus two of Matthew 25's disaster relief vehicles," stated Matthew 25 Ministries, an Ohio-based international aid and disaster relief organization, on their website. more >>
An international Christian organization says it will distribute 60,000 blankets to the homeless and needy across the U.S. in January alone.
Gleaning for the World (GFTW), a Virginia-based humanitarian aid organization, is sending the blankets to 10 different states to be given to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks and homeless communities.
Ron Davidson, founder and president of GFTW, estimates that about 90 percent of the groups that distribute the blankets at a local level are churches. Not only do churches have the volunteers and facilities needed to hand out supplies, he told CP, but they can also use their humanitarian efforts as an opportunity to share the gospel message. more >>
WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors' annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.
With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea's persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.
Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group's methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings. more >>