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Stewardship Partners' Rusty Leonard Featured on '20/20'

Contact: Warren Smith, 800-930-6949 ext 711

MEDIA ADVISORY, Mar. 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Stewardship Partners founder and CEO Rusty Leonard, CFA, is scheduled to be featured on ABC's news program "20/20" on Friday, March 23, at 10 pm eastern time.

"20/20" host John Stossel interviewed Leonard about MinistryWatch.com. MinistryWatch.com was founded by Leonard and his wife Carol in 1998 to help donors to Christian ministries give money more wisely and effectively. MinistryWatch.com is a free online database with profiles on more than 500 of the largest Christian ministries in the United States.

Leonard and MinistryWatch.com came to the attention of "20/20" in part because they were the subjects of a front-page profile in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 30, 2006. That article highlighted the "watchdog" aspect of Leonard's group, and focused on the financial analysis the MinistryWatch.com team had done on Joyce Meyer's St. Louis-based ministry. Leonard discovered that Joyce Meyer Ministries spent lavishly on property, travel, and other perquisites for Joyce Meyer, her family, and other senior executives in the ministry. As a result of that analysis, MinistryWatch.com issued a warning or "Donor Alert" regarding Joyce Meyer Ministries.

But Leonard is quick to point out that exposing ministries with questionable financial practices is not the primary mission of MinistryWatch.com. "Our heart is to see God's people and the ministries they support be more effective," Leonard said. Leonard says the "Donor Alert" of Joyce Meyer Ministries is a good example of the process. The ministry has since made substantial changes in the way it operates.

Another important aspect of MinistryWatch.com’s work is to give positive attention to ministries doing great work. So to balance the "Donor Alerts," MinistryWatch.com also releases a list of "Shining Lights" that are transparent in their financial dealings, and efficient and effective in the use of donor money. The 30 "Shining Light" ministries include large and well-known organizations such as Young Life, The Jesus Film Project, and Gideons International – as well as lesser known ministries such as New Directions International and EvanTell.

"We're excited and humbled that '20/20' is highlighting our work," Leonard said. "It is our prayer that the increased publicity will glorify God, not us, and will encourage donors and ministry leaders to be even more thoughtful about their stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to them."

Warren Smith
800/930-6949 x 711