A baptism manual produced by Pastor Steven Furtick's popular Elevation Church in North Carolina, which teaches people how to produce "spontaneous" baptisms among the repentant, is being criticized as "emotional manipulation."
The manual, Spontaneous Baptism How-To Guide, was produced by Elevation Church in 2011 and received its first critique in November from James Duncan, a Christian blogger and associate professor of communication at Anderson University who lives in South Carolina.
"As a church we pray Sun Stand Still prayers all the time. We are constantly asking God to do something that seems impossible and then believing that He is going to pull through," explains the introduction to the guide. more >>
A Kentucky congregation is taking on an unconventional approach to community outreach by building a recreational facility, with hopes to attract gym members that eventually become churchgoers.
Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church in Midway, Ky. is currently building The CROSS Center, which stands for Christian Recreation Outreach Strengthening Souls, on their church grounds where pastor Todd Lester believes people will be able to strengthen their body, mind and soul.
For more than twelve years I have been helping others to see what has long been overlooked, otherwise missed, or outright ignored in the New Testament: namely, the biblical mandate of the multi-ethnic church as envisioned by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23), described by Luke (Acts 11:19-26; 13:1), and prescribed by the Apostle Paul throughout his writings, most specifically in Romans and Ephesians. Needless to say such teaching, though exegetically sound, is not readily embraced by an Evangelical establishment more enamored by size and growth than with diversity and holistic community engagement.
Nevertheless since the Mosaix Global Network's first national conference in 2010, attitudes have markedly changed. Receptivity to the multi-ethnic church is up across the board; throughout denominations, networks, and conferences, alike. Likewise, an increasing array of local and national influencers is speaking up encouraging biblical diversity in the local church for the sake of the Gospel. The number of practitioners is growing, too, due to intentional multi-ethnic church planting as well as through the transition of healthy but otherwise homogeneous churches. In fact today, according to the latest research, 13.7% of churches throughout the United States have at least 20% diversity in their attending membership (up from just 7.5% in 2000). Beyond this, 14.4% of Protestant Evangelical churches have now reached this marker.
That said, I am sometimes asked: "If this mandate is so clear in Scripture, how has it been so missed throughout history? In other words, who else in the past has shared a similar message or understanding?" more >>
This month a new study came out from Barna Research on Trends on Faith, Work and Calling. There were some surprising facts that came from the study that every church leader should take to heart.
"Among Christians, there is a question: 'What does God want me to do with my life?' According to Barna Group's study, only 40 percent of practicing Christians say they have a clear sense of God's calling on their lives."
Additionally, their research shows "nearly two-thirds of churched adults say it has been at least three years or more since they heard church teachings on work and career, and yet, the workplace is where most Americans spend a the biggest share of their waking hours. However, connecting faith and work is of significant importance to the Christian community," said the study. more >>
British-born ministry 3DM invited various Church leaders in the New England area to join them on a quest to re-imagine discipleship and church culture in America last week.
The group, whose headquarters are now based in Pawley's Island, South Carolina held a Discipleship and Mission Workshop at the Church of Emmanuel in Foxboro, Mass. from Feb. 4-6 that attracted church leaders from all over the northeast region of the U.S.
"We're not getting discipled, we're [learning how to use 3DM's tools]," said Vincent Gressi from Oasis Christian Center in New York City in regards to his experience with the material. "I've been discipled, now I should be discipling someone else. [3DM created tools], not a system [to make this possible]." more >>
You can't do that!
Ever heard those words? I am sure Josiah did when the whole topic of idols in the land came up. What made him think he could rid the land of idols when so many Kings, even good ones like Hezekiah and Asa, could not do it. But in the tradition and spirit of David, Josiah decides the Word comes first over the world and that his leaders will be the ones to heed the Words of God and honor the heart of God. He resolves that idolatry will end under his watch and that this spiritual disease infecting his lands, polluting their worship, and introducing sin will be no more.
His steps are noticeably familiar and worth noting because this a major move of God among his people to create spiritual health in the community of faith. Time to watch some game film and highlight what went right in order for God's leader to overcome all the odds. more >>