Thirteen regional congregations, primarily in the western region of the U.S., met for the first time at their churches on Sunday after learning on Friday that by the end of the year, they would no longer be under the umbrella of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, once led by founder Mark Driscoll. For one local lead pastor at the Portland campus, who has been with the megachurch since 1999, the process and decision to dissolve made by its elders has been a difficult but exhilarating time.
"As we have made the decision to spread out in local churches I am sad to see Mars Hill go," Tim Smith, lead pastor at Mars Hill Portland and who sits on the board of elders, told The Christian Post on Monday. "God has used both Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in incredible ways, in thousands of people's lives and for sure in my own life in significant ways. And so it's hard to see that go, but it's also exciting and hopeful in that it results in planting more churches which has always been something that's important to us."
While Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean confided to CP that it's too early to know each church's plans, he said, "The majority of our churches are choosing to continue as autonomous independent churches, rather than completely close down, which is exciting for us as it's our desire to see as many of these churches continue as possible." more >>
The Seattle-based megachurch Mars Hill, once led by pastor Mark Driscoll, has begun the process of dissolving, and its 13 regional congregations have been asked to either go independent, merge with another church, or disband entirely, announced Dave Bruskas, the church's teaching pastor while in transition, at noon on Friday.
Although Driscoll was not mentioned in the "Local Mission, Local Churches" blogpost on the church's website released as a letter to Mars Hill by Bruskas, the normally outspoken pastor resigned on Oct. 14 from the multi-city megachurch he and his wife helped found 18 years ago after a series of calls were made for him to step down from ministry due to his admitted "divisive" leadership style.
In the letter, Bruskas writes that the elders recognize that the "reorganization plan is a significant and complex undertaking on many fronts; however, our goal is to have the process completed by January 1, 2015." more >>
NEW YORK – Pastors and Christian leaders should be unashamed to call out a city for its sin while at the same time working towards peace, said Tim Keller, the lead pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, at the Christian leadership conference called Movement Day.
"We're supposed to be concerned about the peace of the city," said Keller to the crowd. He pointed out that every dimension of a city's existence, including economic and social peace, can only truly be brought by a leader who knows the Word of God.
"Jesus is looking at a city about to kill him and he's calling out their sin," said Keller. In the same way, he encouraged local pastors and leaders attendending the annual event in New York City held at the Marriot Marquis hotel on Thursday to call out the city's sin without gloating or boasting. more >>
A new study from Christian Research company Barna Group reveals that unchurched Americans are the most resistant to outreach efforts by the church and friends than they've been in 20 years.
Data collected from 42,855 interviews show that 47 percent of U.S. adults who do not attend church said they were open to being invited to church by a friend – down from 65 percent in 1993.
However study results indicate that personal invitations from friends are the most effective way to draw church visitors compared to other outreaches. more >>
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the alarming numbers of a decreasing membership in mainline Protestant denominations in the United States in recent years.
Denominations like The Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) have annually reported losses in membership and attendance figures for their churches.
However, the denominations are not losing members at as high of rates as in 2013, according to their spokespeople. more >>
Last week, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Pastor Brian Houston, founder of the Hillsong movement (which now has congregations in California and New York), "Can your pastors preside at same-sex marriages?"
Pastor Houston replied (in part), "It can be challenging for churches to stay relevant. Because many mainstream churches upheld what they would believe is the long established view of what the Bible says about homosexuality. But the world has changed around and about them. . . ."
He continued, "So the world's changing and we want to stay relevant as a church. So that's a vexing thing. You think, 'How do we not become a pariah?'" more >>