As a new, growing church plant with a four and a half year history, I am often asked about planting churches, pastoring, and choosing leaders. Among these questions, choosing the lead pastor often arises. This will be the focus of the article. In general, those considering the pastorate must…
…have a working knowledge of the truth: "He should be sure of what he means to say…and be ready to stake body and soul, goods and reputation, on its truth" (Martin Luther). In addition to studying and exegetical disciplines, one should read the Bible through once a year. I cannot emphasize this enough. The "primary" calling of a pastor is preaching and teaching. We must have a working knowledge of the Scriptures.
…have a desire to read. Many entering the ministry fail to cultivate a consistent devotional life. Lead pastors should be well versed in church history and all aspects of theology. Motivation to read should come from a desire to learn, not to impress. more >>
Beyoncé Knowles and Mariah Carey are two of the many powerhouse singers who've named gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard as a vocal influence. But the the veteran gospel songstress says she hopes to be remembered for more than what she has done on stage.
Clark Sheard, 54, has been in the gospel music industry for over 40 years and is showing no signs of slowing down with her sixth album, Destined to Win.
While she says she's on a mission with her latest musical offering, Clark Sheard also values her role as a wife, mother and first lady of the Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, Michigan. more >>
A wave of concern is now rippling through the Christian science community after it was revealed that Jim Stump, a respected evangelical philosophy of science professor at the Christian Bethel College in Indiana, chose to resign last month because he doesn't agree with the school's new corporate position that "the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution."
The Board of Trustees of Bethel College, which is affiliated with the Missionary Church, recently approved a new policy on human origins after years of discussion between the college and the denomination which insists that the church's view on Adam "should be advocated as the official, meritorious, and theologically responsible position of the College, without disparagement."
"Though a very small part of a college's curriculum, the topic of origins has become a prominent theological conversation and an important pedagogical point of clarification for evangelical Christian institutions of higher education, including Bethel College," said the college in their statement on origins. more >>
The "Outcry" tour, a 12-city Christian worship and teaching event that kicks off in Chicago next Friday, will feature several big names in Christian music including Kari Jobe, Trip Lee, Hillsong United and Crowder.
Described as a movement that was "born from an evening Bible study discussion and driven by a desire to champion local churches," "Outcry" will also feature Cristian artists DJ Promote, Jesus Culture, Passion, DJ Biz, Lauren Daigle and Bethel Music.
"This tour is nothing more than a picture of what God is doing through the local church, worldwide," said Shane Quick, owner of Premier Productions, which is sponsoring the event. "It's the new sound of a 2,000-year-old movement. Some of the most gifted worship leaders and musicians in the world will be on one stage with one purpose. more >>
Self-identified "Christian agnostic" Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist pastor defrocked for officiating a same-sex wedding and reinstated on a technicality, remains in defiance of the UMC Book of Discipline. He blogged about his participation in Santa Barbara's "first ever Pride inter-faith service." He was part of the planning committee and drafted this "litany of confession" as an apology to the LGBTQ community:
"As a gathering of people of various faiths we acknowledge the wrongdoings of the past toward persons of the LGBTQ community. We, as communities of Faith, have not always been welcoming and affirming of you. We, as clergy have failed to listen and support you, we failed to acknowledge your human dignity and worth, have often treated you as second-class believers and have harmed you with words of exclusion and hatred defining you as 'inherently disordered,' as 'contrary to God's will,' as 'sinners,' as 'perverts,' and as 'abominations.' We, as religious leaders, have denied you the rights of self-definition, integrity and humanity; we have not given you a voice. We have subjected you to abusive 'religious counseling' and harmful 'conversion therapy.' We, as religious institutions, have defrocked, excommunicated, and shunned you. We have turned your loved ones against you; we have forced you into the closet and made you internalize our lies. We, as religious lobbyists, have supported measures that denied you the rights granted under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution to equal protection under the law. We have supported measures to deny you entry into the institutions of your choice and prevent you from gaining your rightful place in our society. This should have never happened, we were wrong in our beliefs, words and actions. We sincerely apologize to you and your loved ones. We are committed to remember your struggles and sufferings at the hand of hetero-sexism and homophobia and our part in it. We, as people of faith, will strive to welcome and embrace all people, promise to do all in our power to oppose those who to discriminate against anyone because of who they are or who they love, and together we hope that one day all people may find the courage and saftey to break free from the closets of the world."
He also wrote a "litany of thanksgiving for the advancement of LGBTQ rights: more >>
While the recent nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers has stoked debate in the U.S. over the Obama administration's negotiating tactics, Iranian Christians are reportedly "thanking Christ" and view the agreement as an "answer to prayers," one Iranian priest has said.
"I can certainly say that all Christians, along with all the Iranian people are rejoicing because their prayers were answered," Chaldean Iranian priest Hormoz Aslani Babroudi, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Society of Iran, told Fides News Agency.
"From now on it will be easier for the world to have a positive outlook toward Iran, the desire for harmony will prevail and it will be easier to show everyone that Iran is not what some media networks report. We can work and use science for the good of the country, we can develop technologies to live better." more >>