A South Sudan Bishop has warned that the devil is behind the apathy present in some Christian churches and communities that allows them to relax and enjoy comforts while ignoring the plight of suffering people in third world countries.
"The Christian churches need to become more involved in advocacy," Bishop Elias Taban of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Uganda said in a phone interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday.
"God has made us stewards of the entire world, (we need to) get involved in building the third world countries, in terms of prayer and physical support," he continued. "When we relax behind our comfortable zones, the problems will continue and come closer." more >>
A Christian publication geared towards churches and ministries has recently published its annual lists of the 100 largest and fastest growing churches in the United States.
Outreach Magazine, a California-based publication that includes ideas, features, and interviews with evangelicals, published the two lists earlier this month. With approximately 43,500 worship attendees, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church of Houston, Texas, was number one in the largest church category. Triumph Church of Detroit, Mich., was the fastest growing, having experienced an increase of about 3,800 worship attendees or 49 percent.
High ranking congregations on both lists included NewSpring Church of Anderson, S.C., which was number 2 on the fastest-growing list and number 4 on the largest. NewSpring Central Communications Director Suzanne Swift told The Christian Post that they were "honored" by the blessings God had given their congregation. more >>
Carl Lentz, presented in the mainstream press of late as an evangelical anomaly, was featured in Detail magazine's October 2013 issue in a story titled "Jesus Christ's Superstar" with a question posed asking whom the Hillsong NYC pastor was seeking to glorify.
Lentz, 34, founded and co-pastors HIllsong NYC with Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founders Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. Lentz and Houston have managed in three years to turn the vibrant congregation "into a Pentecostal powerhouse and a destination for the in crowd," according to Details.
Previously noted by The Associated Press for his fashion sense, ministry style and a je ne sais quoi that happens to attract Millennials, superstars, and everyday New Yorkers, Lentz appears to have the potential to become this generation's Billy Graham. But instead of packing stadiums, Lentz has been packing NYC's Irving Plaza concert venue several times over with thousands of people for Sunday services. With lines snaked around the block long before the start of every service, many worshippers are willing to stand, or sit on the floor, if they miss out on seats once inside. more >>
Outspoken pastor Mark Driscoll says Christians need to be of stronger resolve because of "darker" days, and argues that "the church is dying," in a promotional letter for an upcoming leadership conference in Seattle.
"Four years ago, Newsweek magazine proclaimed 'The Decline and Fall of Christian America,'" Driscoll writes in the letter addressed to "Christian" on the 2013 Resurgence Conference website. "Their words, written on the cover in the shape of a cross, ring disturbingly true today."
Driscoll, who is the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church based in Seattle, Wash., is also a ministry leader among several pastors for the Resurgence movement, a resource for Christian leaders in discipleship and leadership training. more >>
Despite assurances from Ben Houston that the Hillsong LA church he feels called to plant in Southern California will not "build on anyone else's foundation," some observers are concerned that the popular Australian megachurch's expansion to the Golden State could mean a substantial loss of members for already-established churches in the area.
Hillsong Church founder and Senior Pastor Brian Houston shared in a blog post earlier this month, after making the announcement during weekend services, that his son, Ben, would be moving with his wife and three daughters at some point to begin tilling the ground for a new church plant. The ministry's only U.S. congregation is in NYC, led by Pastors Carl Lentz and Joel Houston, the the founding pastor's other son.
"I know there are a lot of questions out there after the announcement, but the truth is we don't really have the answers yet!" wrote Ben Houston in an update on the church startup. "We are still in the very early stages of planning. There is a stack of paperwork and immigration issues to sort through; and a lot to wrap up here in Sydney before we embark on this incredible journey." more >>
An estimated 3 million people attended a National Back to Church Sunday event this past weekend, which organizers believe is the highest number the movement has ever recorded.
"The campaign reinvigorated and encouraged our members to invite people to church," First Baptist Penn Hills, Pa., shared in a post-event survey.
"It was a great success," added Auburn Baptist Church, Christiansburg, Va. "Our church was full, our classes were full of children and our parking lot was overflowing." more >>