The year 2005 was filled with massive movements worldwide, showing the growing latency of Christianity and ministries. Millions were involved abroad and hundreds of thousands sought God's grace here in the United States. While news of poverty, destruction, and war raged, millions of Christians prayed and praised, churches awoke and launched a movement against HIV/AIDS, and youths showed a hunger and a passion to follow His will.
1. Global Day of Prayer
More than 200 million people worldwide prayed on the world's first-ever Global Day of Prayer Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2005. Plans are underway to hold it each year for the next four years.
The Global Day of Prayer is a massive world replay of the birth of the church in Acts 2. First, there will be ten days of prayer, including the event named, "The Whole Night for the Whole World" on the eve of the Pentecost. Then, on Pentecost day, Christians across the world gather in stadiums for prayer. The final part of this massive project of faith is to begin 90 days of "blessing the city. The first year was success.
2. Billy Graham's Final Crusade
The 87-year-old evangelist, Billy Graham, suffering from prostate cancer and Parkinson's Disease, confirmed that the June 24-26 New York Crusade in Flushing Meadows Corona Park would be his last.
Graham has served God for more than 60 years and became the most famed evangelist in the world, having preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history over 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. His last crusade spells the end of a church culture that was rooted in numbers growth and conversion rather than discipleship and community.
3. HIV/AIDS and the Church
Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Conference on the Church and HIV/AIDS was the first large-scale, evangelical conference focusing on the role that churches must play in eradicating HIV/AIDS worldwide.
From Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, nearly 1,700 participants pastors, ministry workers, government staff, international organization heads, doctors, and scientists heard about why the church must turn its attention to caring for the sick.
4. Internet, Websites, Blogging, Podcasting
The growing use of websites, blogging, and podcasting makes the Internet another mission/ministry field. According to the Barna Group, the number of people looking for faith-based information online continues to surge, while those tuning into radio and television stagnate.
More than 57 percent of Protestant churches now have a website. Blogging is touted as a great virtual forum, and podcasts are the next sermon-to-go. Sites such as www.everystudent.com produced by Campus Crusade for Christ, continues to win young people to Christ via the Internet medium, and many say that there are new ways to engage the world in a rapid and cost-efficient way.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe follows in the wake of blockbuster Christian films marketed to the faith and family market, such as The Passion of the Christ, and may prove to be a deciding factor on whether Hollywood swings more family-friend films.
Walt Disney Studios marketed it to Christians and churches, prompting a little controversy. Several influential Christian organizations, such as Focus on the Family, have endorsed and promoted the film. The film debuted over the Dec. 9-11 weekend at $67.1 million exceeding all profit expectations and filmgoers rated it a rare A-plus on an out-going survey by Disney.
6. Million Hours of Praise
The global community is called to praise for one million hours. In October 2005, the goal was reached. Organizer Catherine Brown received a vision from God in 2003 that called her to begin a movement for praise which surprisingly took a format similar to the Global Day of Prayer, which saw over 200 million people pray on one day.
In June 2006, the "world's biggest praise" event will take place around the world in nations including Ghana, Liberia, Scotland, England, Ireland, Israel, Berlin, and the Philippines. The ultimate goal is to have one full year of continuous praise, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
7. The Passion of the Youth
Studies show that youths are evacuating the church. Called the "abandoned" generation, more than half of all Christian youths will leave their faith after four years of college. Ministers say this is due to a lack of knowing God's word, Christian apologetics, and basically a failure of the church leadership to disciple the youth.
At the same time, youths are hungry for spirituality and are getting more involved in witchcraft and pagan religions. Interest in spirituality is at an all-time high on campuses nationwide. Christian students exemplify this spirit. According to youth and campus ministry leaders, Christian students are eager to go into missions, and are passionate about social issues and making a difference in the world. Others are immersing themselves in different forms of the emerging church.
8. Friendship Fest 2005
A historic cultural and music festival took place between Muslims and Christians, marking an opening to better relationships with the Muslim world.
An estimated 85,000 Moroccans gathered over a three-day period, May 6-8 outside Marrakech, Morocco, to celebrate friendship and peace with American Evangelical Christians. The Christian leaders were invited by the Moroccan government. Plans are underway to repeat the event.
9. Leadership Summit
More than 53,000 leaders across North America attended the 10th annual Leadership Summit 2005 an annual gathering of church and business leaders on Aug. 11-13. Originating from Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Ill., the summit was broadcasted live via satellite to 110 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
On his visits to hundreds of churches around the world, Willow Creek megachurch pastor Bill Hybels said he found a huge gap between effective and ineffective churches. Leadership is the missing link.
Over 100,000 attended the second annual MegaFest, a conference that combines Bishop T.D. Jakes' popular men's conference, ManPower and women's conference, Woman, Thou Art Loosed, with a mega youth experience, MegaKidz, in Atlanta.
With finance seminars, a parade, extreme sports demonstrations, concerts, a career fair, leadership talks, a fashion show, a comedy show, and a golf tournament, MegaFest is the only Christian conference that meets the needs of the entire family.