In this episode, we’ll visit with Brandon Tatum, host of The Officer Tatum Show on the Salem Radio Network, about:
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Welcome back to the Covenant Eyes podcast. We are live at NRB still meeting and greeting with the most amazing people. I'm just having the best time ever. Brandon, say hello to our audience. Hello audience. It's such a good time visiting with people. I mentioned in another podcast I'm just so encouraged by the people who are here doing the work for the Lord and here's what I love.
We all have a different calling, right? We're all one in the body of Christ, but there are many parts to that body and everyone is doing such a good job in carrying out their particular role. Absolutely, and today's guest is no exception to that role. So without further ado, I'll let you go ahead and introduce our guest and then we'll jump into the topic. Yeah, well, first of all, he's got a fantastic name.
We've got Brandon Tatum from the Officer Tatum Show on Salem Podcast Network. Brandon, thanks for being with us today. Thank you for having me. The only reason I did this interview because your name is Brandon. Hey, well, whatever works, man. Brandon, tell us just a little bit about yourself, your show. What led you to being on and having a show and speaking truth like you do? Well, I have to say that I think it's all God.
Alright, God has a plan and a purpose and me answering the call from God is what led me here. I started, you know, as a young man living in Fort Worth, Texas. Football was my passion. If you're from Texas, you play football and you go to church. So I had both of those two things. Unfortunately, I was in church, but church wasn't in me. Meaning that we would show up to church, but we weren't really involved necessarily like we should have. But at least we were in there, you know, according to what my father believed, that we at least show up to church.
And I played football in high school. I was one of the top players in the nation coming out. Went to college at University of Arizona. I played football there. My career didn't go as well as I wanted it to. I got injured. I had a terrible attitude when I was a young man. And then I ended up getting saved in college in 2008. I went to a very small church. There were about 130 people in there on an Easter Sunday. So. Wow. Awesome. Bible study, 30 people there every Sunday. The loyal people in the church.
And it was amazing because we had an intimate access to the truth. I could just walk up and ask the pastor, Hey pastor, this is in the Bible. Can you show me? Can you help me? Can you give me direction? And that helped me grow as a Christian before I was saved. Like grow into the faith. Make me want to be more involved and get to know Christ and keep coming back to church. So in 2008, however, I got saved. And it's a pretty significantly long story, but...
This happens to probably most people. I like to believe I wasn't the only one. But I went to church on a Sunday. I had had dreams about getting saved before this happened. And of course I didn't know what it meant because I wasn't really reading the Bible. I was just kind of like a baby saint trying to, I mean, not even a saint. I was a young person trying to get to know what this is all about. I had never read the Bible before.
I had only heard the stories, Adam and Eve, I never read it. I just heard Adam and Eve, and David and Goliath. I never read it. And so this was my first experience to get true exposure to the Bible and to Jesus. And I'll never forget the sermon that Bishop Arthur Pierce preached. And I'll never forget this. He preached the sermon about Jesus being the door and the way.
And he just made this image of this door and he said, you know, I can't even see the seal on the door. And he said, there's no way around it. You can't go under it. You have to go through the door. And that was the first time in my life as a quote unquote Christian did I hurt the gospel of Jesus Christ. All the other churches, they preach this feel good message. They jump over to Romans, they go to Ephesians. They jump around the Bible, but they jump right over the gospel of Jesus Christ on a Sunday morning.
And I heard it for the first time and it compelled me along with the dreams that I had been having. And I don't remember the exact date, but I showed up to church. I was with a young lady. We were dating, but we broke up. And when I started going to church, she was my only friend that I really had. So I said, can you go to church with me? We don't have to be in a relationship, but I'm going to go by myself. And I'll never forget that Sunday, she was crying because he gave an altar call and the sermon was really dealing with it, right? And so me being the man that I am,
I say, she must need prayer. So I'm gonna help her to the front of the church. And when I got there, I ended up getting prayed for. Right? So, you know, and all of those dreams and all those things came to fruition. And I'll never forget when I was there, he was praying for me. And I remember being kind of stubborn, meaning that I couldn't let go because all the people were looking at me and I'm up in the front of the church. And I remember at one point, I kind of relaxed a little bit and tried to separate.
all those thoughts in my mind and I felt like something happened to me. Like God touched me. I have my eyes closed at this point and the pastor is like, there you go, right there, let God deal with you. And I realized that I just need to let go of all this stuff in my mind and just let God deal with me in this moment.
God was dealing with me and I finally just let go and I just blocked out everybody and I remember that pastor preaching in my ear and saying, I command that you be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of your sins. And I accepted it. I said, let's do it. And so we went, I went and got baptized, she got baptized too. Oh my gosh. And then a few days later they prayed for me and I received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And I had never been insane. And it opened up a lot of, it broke a lot of, I'd say,
blocks in me, roadblocks in me, racial, all of the above. I didn't really like police officers and all of this stuff I grew up with. The bondage that I felt was released and that led me to becoming a police officer and so on and so forth. Now I'm an entrepreneur and I do a lot of other things. Oh my goodness. Wow. Tell us a little bit about the experience as a police officer. That must have been an interesting.
career? Yeah, it was incredible. It was one of the greatest things that I've ever done in my life. Like I said, growing up, I didn't really have a favorable relationship with police. When I was eight, I got arrested for smoking marijuana in a vacant house. And so my first exposure to police was me getting arrested in the back of a patrol car. So, um, but yeah, that wasn't, it was great now that I look back because it's.
I never did it again. Right. You know, back at the time, you know, it was kind of like a shock to deal with police on that level. But, you know, like I said, God healed me from all that. I needed a job and I ended up joining the police department. And it was an amazing experience. I had an opportunity to serve, like almost like ultimate service, meaning you serve with your life. You don't just serve with words. I mean, not saying words aren't powerful and effective, but, you know, I put my life on the line for other people.
the underbelly of society that most people never see, the murder, the abuse, and all of the heartache and pain that people are going through on a day-to-day basis that most people aren't aware of. So I was able to see that firsthand, but God in me kept me, and I was able to be an inspiration to people. You know, I would pray for people. Can they tell you not to, you can't, you gotta be impartial? Sure. Oh, as soon as they say, Jesus? All right, let's pray. Oh, that's awesome. I got you. I love that. I'll pray for you, I love it. But even beyond any of that.
I didn't have to go religious. I just went relationship, meaning that I was an example. So I would love people to have compassion for them in their worst moment. And I didn't have to necessarily say, Jesus to you, I felt like the God in me connected with them and maybe one day they say, well, this guy was different. Or maybe God had been dealing with them in some other way that helped us connect. And I don't always have to.
violate my policy and say it, I just lived the life. So it was an incredible opportunity. I saw a lot of things, but God kept me in my mind. And when I left after seven years on the police department, you know, I just left as a better person. That's great. How did you take that experience as a police officer with you into what you're doing now? Cause you saw, like you said, the heinous things, but you also had that compassionate heart. Do you...
Does that carry over into what you do now in your podcast? Yeah, I would never be the same. It changed me as a man. I mean, I was 23 when I became a police officer. And so I was young and I was a young father and it really compelled me to have compassion but also be courageous and bold. And so leaving the police department, it had never left me. Like even when I do my podcast, I leave from a place of love, truth and boldness.
And that's kind of how the police experience was for me. Talk to us a little bit about, you talk a lot about pastors becoming bold and talking about the issues that are, you know, facing our churches nowadays. Talk to us a little bit about your take on that and what pastors need to be doing and not doing maybe. Yeah, I think pastors need to be courageous in the gospel. Don't be ashamed of Jesus Christ. I mean, it's a very simple principle. Maybe people will leave your church, so what? You know, when Jesus was...
doing the miracles, they loved him. They were all, they were all, they were circling around. He couldn't, he probably couldn't go anywhere. People stepping on each other to be around him. Then when he start telling the truth, they start abandoning him. Yeah. And that has nothing to do with you personally as a pastor. You are called to tell the truth. And God will send in people that need to be at your church, but all the rest of the stuff is out of your control. So pastors need to be emboldened and be committed.
to Christ, not to religion. And I think some pastors are afraid that if they talk about abortion, that some of the women who may have had abortion in the church would walk away. But that's not the way God has called us to be. The young women who are thinking about abortion may not have had one, may be challenged with it in the future, or may have already had one. They need to hear direction from their pastor.
not from a political person on television who have an agenda, but their pastor should address these issues. The pastor should be behind the pulpit speaking to the people, to the flock, as Jesus would have. Jesus didn't shy away from political stuff. I mean, that's why he got killed. If Jesus was a pacifist and he was afraid to take a stance and was lukewarm, he wouldn't have been murdered on the cross and they wouldn't have falsely accused him. They could not handle.
how much truth he was telling and how much it bucked against their system and their theology and pastors should acknowledge that today. Yeah. Fear can be so crippling. We run into that as we're working with pastors talking about addressing pornography in the church. Can you say a word to the pastors, the church leaders who are listening to be willing to, I mean, in a way you have to step into the water, right? It's like Peter in the boat and Jesus
and Peter saying, Lord, if it's you, come to me. Like, if this is the truth, we need to step out into the water and not worry about what's gonna happen. A thousand percent. I mean, address these issues that you know are a plague in the body of Christ. And I think pastors should focus on the church first. A lot of them go look out, look at the world and look at what they're doing. But the people in your church are struggling. People in your church are having abortions this weekend, scheduled. Right. What are you doing? And abortion is not the only issue. People are struggling with pornography.
As a pastor, and I would argue that most men have an experience with this, and a pastor should be honest enough, and he don't have to divulge all of his secrets, but you know that men are dealing with it. Offer them services, offer them opportunity, pray for them. And I know that, you know, I'm a man, you know? I've looked at pornography. I've had issues with pornography. And pastors should talk about these issues because... And I will always acknowledge...
that God saves certain people with a testimony for other people's benefit as well. And so these pastors are just go off of the things that you've experienced. Exactly. Some pastors have had divorces, some pastors have fornicated. And I'll say this because it's hard as a pastor because people really view you as an honorable man and they see pastors as way up here. And if a pastor devolves that I'm struggling just as hard that you're struggling, people may lose hope in that pastor.
I think that there's ways to address these issues and you don't have to tell on yourself all the time. And in small groups, and that's why I love small groups, because you can then be honest with people and straightforward and say, I can trust you telling you that I have struggled with this. And I know that in a small group setting, we can hold each other accountable.
And I think pastors should look at it like that. I'm not a pastor and I'm not in the mind of all pastors. I'm looking from the outside in, but I really wish that pastors would address the issue of pornography, because it does play young men, especially Christians, because it's easier to do that than to fornicate. You are right. And some people believe that's an excuse, so that's a backup plan. And you know, Jesus, I've already made mention that if you commit these sins in your mind and your heart, you've already committed them almost as if you did them.
So, but I think that's something definitely that pastors should address. I mean, the bottom line is that we all are hurting to some capacity and we expect the man of God to speak to us and to pray for us. I know churches today, they don't even pray. I mean, you know, like at the end of the church, they don't even lay hands on people and pray for them because I used to go to a church where every Sunday they do the altar call, but they also invite people to get prayed for. And that was a healing moment for me because sometimes I'm struggling.
I was in the choir, I was the usher, and I was struggling. I was, and it wasn't just the sins that people are aware of, but it was things like I struggled with hatred for certain people, and I was struggling with my faith, and you know, I felt lost, and...
But when they offered it up and somebody who was anointed and called put their hand on you and bless you and pray for you and you connect with somebody, it can do a lot for you. And some pastors, it's almost a business model where they want to get you in and get you out. They got a time period. Start the next service. We got 45 services. So we got to hit this and we got to. But if the spirit is moving and God is moving, you can't cut that off to then. I know it's hard.
But I hope pastors will be aware of that, because there's so many people that are just, if they get two more minutes of you calling, they'll come. You can't cut it off short, because so many people are just...
I used to be that person where I'm like, I ain't going, I ain't going. I ain't going to start breaking. Okay, I'm going God. Okay. I think I'm about to go. Oh, he in the service. I'm not going to Sunday. I'm going next Sunday. Thank God I missed it. I don't have to go up there. So, but I think that mindfulness and I mean people aren't perfect, but be mindful of those things. Yeah. So good. That's great advice. You know, one of the issues that we hear from pastors a lot is that, you know, you brought this up just a moment ago is that they're really afraid to bring up their own personal struggles with these things.
You know, I think it takes I think the church body itself has to learn grace right for our leaders because they are humans, right? I mean we have to be able to offer Yeah, and empathy because people make mistakes even pastors, right? But that doesn't exclude them from speaking the truth, right? Right, right I think you know that now this is out of the context of biblical stuff, but it's a Steve Harvey. Oh, yeah
gives relationship advice. And he's had three divorces, right? Somebody said that, they said, we ain't listen to this man, he had three divorces. And I said, maybe he know what not to do. Or maybe he, you know, or the fact that I look at it say, is it true? What he's saying, I don't care how many divorces he's had, is it true or is it not true? And I think people should be of the understanding.
that sometimes pastors may have made mistakes in the past, but it's what they're saying true according to the scripture. And that should supersede maybe things that the pastor have done. Now, let me say this. Pastors should be at a point where they are not struggling with medial sins, meaning that a pastor, I think, should have overcome pornography.
If you're a pastor and you haven't overcome that, you may need to take a step back and try to get that right because you are speaking over people. Right. And the anointing on your life, I would think the spirit that you carry is contagious. And if your struggles, maybe in the spirit realm, your struggles are projecting on other people. And if you fall from that height,
You hurt a lot of people. A lot of people. That's really important. And we actually know Pastor Gary Kell, who he was active in ministry. And he actually did have to step back from some of his roles so that he could work on him. Because you can't give what you don't have, right? That's a really important thing. It happens very frequently, too. Like a lot of pastors actually, they'll hide this. And then you see the repercussions. You hear about it in the news. Their whole life implodes, right? If you're struggling, just take a step back. I know it's hard. But like.
Don't be selfish. Right. If you know that you're having problems in your marriage and you need to step back and say, let me work on my marriage. Because if you get a divorce in front of the church and there's pastors that have openly gotten divorced and their wives were a huge component of the church, where the church split. People go with the wife, one go with the husband. It's like...
It's better for you to step back, use your own advice, heal, get prayed for, have your bishop or somebody who's overseeing you to pray for you and step back. I will respect my pastor if my pastor stepped down and dealt with his issues. Then a pastor that's sitting there, and then we hear that you had a kid with a woman in the choir. And then what happens is that everything that you said for the last nine months, you were...
You were, you lied to me. You weren't living it, yeah. You weren't living what you, you preached to us. You hurt my feelings the other day at church and you weren't even living it. So I know that it's difficult, but there are people who are called to this. It's not because you can go get a diploma and go to seminary school and have a business model and you're charismatic, that that means that you should start a church. It's people are called to do this and God has set them in a position where they can have great influence.
I mean, just imagine if Jesus was sinning. I mean, of course, according to the Bible, he could not sin, or that wasn't a part of the prophetic Messiah. But just imagine the impact of Jesus Christ that he did not sin. Therefore, we have an expected person to look up to and say, we're supposed to be like him. He had faith. He had integrity. He was tempted.
The Bible say he was tempted in all the ways that we are, but yet he did not sin. So we're not perfect, but as a pastor, you should be Christ-like so that people that you're leading can follow you in the right direction. That's right. Amen to that. Something that is just really sitting with me that I want to bring up is the compassion. We've mentioned it a couple of different times as we've been talking, but I really see this as an important aspect of being a pastor, being a ministry leader.
And I think about it, like when you were a police officer and you were encountering people in their worst, you were basically saying, I see you, right? And so there's a difference between getting to the next service, running up numbers, growing the church, and actually saying, I see you, looking somebody in the eye and saying, I get it, I'm here for you. Can you talk about that? Yeah, I think that's incredibly important. You know, I like small churches.
Now they can be messy, right? You know, you get clickish and then you got the pastor and his family is against it. You know, then it get weird. But I like small groups and small churches because it wasn't valuable for me to connect with my pastor. You are my pastor. You are the shepherd. We're listening to you. We're following you. We should be able to connect with you and you should know my affirmities. I mean, I should be able to confess to you. I should be able to talk to you. You should be able to pray for me. And I love the small church intimacy because I think people get a lot more out of it.
if the church is functioning properly. There are big churches that do isolate pastors to do small group stuff, but I think that's important because the man of God who has the mantle and God is speaking to about the affairs of his flock, the Bible talks about how the one get away and he goes against the one. Leaves 99. And leaves 99, but the big churches don't know when the one left. Yeah, they would have no idea. There's 1500 left and they don't even know. They can't go get anybody. Yep.
So I think it's invaluable to have that connection as a pastor. And I think that in the culture that we live in, I get it, we're humans. It is contagious to have a big, prospering church. And you've got the praise and worship team, and you've got the best praise and worship leader because you've got to pay them some money. And you have this whole performance and your Easter shows are the best in the city. And you've got five or six services and you feel very compelled to feel as if God is moving in that environment.
But the true question is how many people are getting delivered? How many people are really coming in and receiving the truth of God and salvation versus getting cut off because you got two or three more services? And so I think that there should be a happy medium in there. You know, I feel like I'm a person that had the Spirit of God in me, but I'm not going to go start a church, you know, because I'm not.
in a position to do something like that and I acknowledge that. Now God has to come down in my living room and talk to me and my wife and say I'm calling you to go do this because I think it's an incredible responsibility and I want to do what's right and not what feels good to me. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a capitalist, I want to make as much money as I can and I don't want any of that to interfere with church.
And I know that as a pastor you have to eat, you know, you should be taken care of, or you're doing it full time. But in today's time, people are doing full-time ministry with 55 people in the church. I don't think that's full-time ministry. 55 people? You should be able to go out and work and then come to the church and do your...if you have 15,000 people showing up, of course you're in full-time. I think pastors need to figure that part out. I'm a proponent...
of not abusing finances in the church. I cringe when I see pastors wearing, and it's not all pastors, but they wear $1,000 shoes, and they have many. They wear these Armani suits that cost tens of thousands of dollars, because that's not their only suit. They go fly on private jets and...
They drive Rolls Royce. Prosperity gospel, right? Prosperity gospel. I see some people prominent. And I don't want to say names, but there's a prominent pastor out of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now I know fashion because my wife is into fashion stuff. He had Balenciaga shoes. Those shoes are thousand dollar shoes and he's wearing them in the pool. They're getting wet. I'm looking at his stuff. There's a website called pastors and sneakers or something like that. It's an Instagram.
And this guy goes through and he identifies all of these high-end garments that high-end pastors are wearing. Oh my God. It's called sneakers and pastors and he go through and he price out their whole outfit. There's pastors that have like $10,000 worth of clothes on. Wow.
I try to stay away from the conversation because I don't know what it's like to be a pastor, but I just really believe that humility is a part of what Christ has called us to be. Even if you do have $20 million in the bank, don't go to your congregation where the median income is like $40,000 a year and you got $40,000 worth of jewelry. I just don't think that that's good. I think it turns people away.
And I think it hurts the soul, you know, the Bible talks about the rich man getting into the kingdom. I don't think it's a dis on money, but I think once you get so much money, fame and success, you begin to idolize it and it begin to be a greater part of what your ministry is about. That's why Prosperity Gospel exists. Yeah. 501, 501, I know money, 501 C3 status and donations. Let me just say this real quick. I promise I'm going to be short. After.
Starting my own business for profit after working with nonprofits. I become a huge skeptic of most of a lot of churches Because I see the money Because I see how nonprofits can organize where they raise money and they use money for different things and in the in the CEO of the Nonprofit gets everything expense to the nonprofit Churches begin to do something very similar to that where a pastor like me
If I was a saint, because I'm very popular on social media, I have millions of people that follow me, I have 30 million page views a month, I could start a church today and I could raise money and people are paying 10% of their income, tithes and offerings, and I'm guilting them into giving money. That money I could then use tax free to build my platform.
and I invest that money into video production and all this, and I become a superstar on social media. I write a book. My books sell 100,000 copies because of the funding from the people of my church. Then I become a mega pastor. Then I'm a millionaire, but off the backs of people who I told to plant a seed. And it becomes very dicey in some church ministry on that. And that's what...
in my own opinion, I think we have to be cognizant of and be aware of and try to do things that are according to what God has purposed for us. It is a good point. So as we wrap up today, you were in law enforcement, but one of the things I also saw is that you were in SWAT. And I have a brother-in-law actually who's on the SWAT team, local SWAT team back home. And I bring it up because there's a lot of strategy involved in SWAT. It's a little bit of a different side to the policing.
when it comes to that. What would you offer to our ministry leaders as far as a strategy, kind of a different approach that they maybe haven't thought about before? Yeah, you know, the unique concept of SWAT is that SWAT call-outs and SWAT execution is actually safer than patrol. And the reason why is because patrol goes into the unknown. SWAT operators, we do an investigation. We have leads, we have, you know, people who are inside the house.
done drive-bys, we have a whole strategic plan. We don't willy-nilly. We go into it with a plan and we're well equipped and we're well trained. And I think that that's a correlation between that and also ministry. You need to have on the whole armor of God. You need to have a strategy. The strategy ain't go out and be emotional. It works for some people but it's not sustainable and it's dangerous. So I think that perceiving your mind that you have trained enough.
You have prepared enough and you are the elite. So you should operate in confidence that I've done the work, I'm well versed, I have the scripture, I've been praying, I've been fasting, I'm equipped for the devil.
And when you go and apply it, you should apply it with strategy. We're going to go through this way. You hit the door here. I'm going to go left. You take the hard angle. And we train for this before we go out and apply it in the world. So I think that prepare and be ready for conflict.
even spiritually and I think that that'll be I guess the best way to move forward. Well and I think we're in a spiritual battle in our culture right now so as Christians we need to be part of that we need to train we need to equip we need to be prepared. Well in closing today how can people connect with you and all of the work that you're doing what is the best way for people to get connected? Yeah, Officer Tatum. You know I say the Officer Tatum but then people think I say B as in Boy or D as in David so I'm just gonna say Officer Tatum. You put Officer Tatum in a Google search
Everything that I'm associated with, the podcast, the radio show, my website, my YouTube, wherever you like to indulge in the content that we work so hard to do, because mind you, I have a whole staff of people that do this. I have so much content that I have a team that work full time, multiple people that put out content and I appreciate them. I wish I could give them all a shout out on the show, but they do a tremendous job. But if you want anything of whatever people want to acknowledge or if they like to listen to radio, whatever.
Officer Tatum, find me, I'm there. Awesome. We'll put links in the show notes to some of those things, including the podcast, the website, different things like that. Karen, I love what he was saying about strategy, because that's really what we try to focus on at Covenant Eyes with the churches. Yeah, especially when you're tackling an issue like pornography, you have to have a plan. You can't just go at this with no plan.
Well, great. Well, for all of our listeners, we want to thank you for tuning in today. And again, we're live at NRB and we just want to thank you so much, Officer Tatum, for joining us today. We appreciate it. God bless you. Thank you, guys. Thank you. All right. Well, take care and we'll see you next time. Covenant Eyes listeners. God bless.