What Churches Should Do If Your Pastor Has Been Using AshleyMadison.com


Because of the revelations recently about the data leak from the Ashley Madison website that encourages people to engage in adultery, my friend Ed Stetzer posted this statement on his blog: “Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday.” He followed with some excellent advice to the ministry leaders who may be caught up in the scandal. Because of my focus on media and culture, I wanted to follow up with some practical advice elders, board members, and other church staff need to know if a member of your pastoral team has been involved in Ashley Madison, or any other moral failing:

What Should Companies Or Nonprofits Do After a Spokesperson’s Arrest?


What do you do after your national spokesperson (or CEO or pastor) has been arrested? (Worse – for being a pedophile.)  That’s what Subway’s leadership is asking this week after the news that Jared Fogle, the former Subway spokesman, plead guilty to possession of child pornography. The federal charges state that he repeatedly paid to engage in sexually explicit acts with children and that he received and distributed child pornography. The documents also say that Fogle, 37, used Web sites for commercial sex and traveled extensively to engage in sexual acts with minors from 2007 until June 2015. So the question becomes

What To Do The First 24 Hours After a Leader’s Moral Failure


In the religious and nonprofit world, a leader’s moral failure still has a major impact. Along with the theological and scriptural issues, there’s also a significant trust issue involved. The common thinking is that if he or she can’t be trusted to honor marriage vows, then the leader is likely untrustworthy in other areas as well. However you personally fall on the spectrum of that thinking, the truth is, churches, ministries, and nonprofits take a heavy hit when a leader has an affair, or worse, is involved in illegal sexual behavior. In these cases, how the organization reacts in the first 24 hours is critical. Having advised numerous organizations through these difficult situations, here’s my recommendations for the first 24 hours of the crisis:

Why Your Organization Needs A Spokesperson


Whatever the size of your church, nonprofit, or business, you need a spokesperson. Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a crisis or disaster, but my advice is to always be ready. The question isn’t “if” a crisis will happen, but “when.” Even if you’re involved in assisting after natural disasters you’ll encounter the media on many levels, so it’s always good to put your best foot forward. So what makes a good spokesperson? Here’s what you need to consider:

How Non-Profits and Religious Organizations Can Survive A Financial Crisis


I asked a distinguished panel of donor development and fundraising experts about the advice they would give churches and ministries during a financial crisis.  The panel included Mary Hutchinson, Mark Dreistadt, Dale Berkey, and David Holland.  I asked them to send me a couple of suggestions that could help a church or ministry get through a tough financial time.  Here’s their suggestions:

Leaders: What To Do When a Crisis Happens

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Rarely a week goes by that you don’t see a public relations nightmare happening at a local church, ministry, or nonprofit. From a leader’s moral failing, to financial improprieties, to inappropriate sexual relationships, there are many ways a crisis can damage or destroy an otherwise great organization. And sometimes a crisis happens that’s not even your fault. That’s why I asked Kathy Lovin, who does a brilliant job managing Public Affairs and Communications for The Salvation Army USA Western Territory for some coaching on handling a crisis. Here’s her excellent advice:

What Leaders Should Learn from Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate”


Chris Christie may be finished as a presidential candidate, and maybe not. But either way, he experienced a potentially catastrophic event this past week with his now famous “Bridgegate” problems. While the vast majority of media critics and consultants agree that he’s handling the crisis very well so far (taking full responsibility, firing people at fault, having a 2 hour press conference to deal with questions), it certainly left him in a difficult position. It’s an instructional moment for leaders of all types for two reasons:

When To Intervene When Things Go Wrong


My father, Dr. Bill Cooke (left) was a mainline denominational pastor, and during the late 60’s and early 70’s he started exploring the Charismatic renewal. As a result, he began teaching on the Holy Spirit, and our church really started growing. There was an explosion of interest in that subject at the time and people started coming from everywhere. But there was one problem:

Don’t Wait Until the Crisis Happens


Sir Jonathan Miller is a highly regarded theatrical director based in London, and while I was watching him work on a BBC documentary the other night, he said something brilliant:  “You learn to ice skate in the summertime.”  He mentioned it was a lesson his father taught him.  It took awhile for it to sink in, and then I realized the power of what he was really saying. Once the game, project, production, business, crisis – whatever starts, it’s too late to learn what to do. Take the classes, learn the techniques, get the knowledge before the crisis begins, or