Helping Christian converts develop into spiritually mature disciples of Jesus takes more than a church program, said Jo Saxton Wednesday at the 2013 Exponential conference in Orlando, Fla. Making disciples who make disciples requires life-changing sacrifices and for those involved to "have a life worth imitating," said the discipleship expert.
Saxton, speaking before thousands on how Christians can transition from teaching about being a disciple of Jesus to modeling how a follower of Christ actually lives, is a director of 3DM, an organization that trains churches and Christian leaders "to do discipleship and mission in an increasingly post-Christian world," according to the movement's website.
"Are we like the (guardian) or will we be like the parent?" the U.K. native asked her audience, referencing Paul's first letter to the Corinthian faith community in which the apostle distinguishes between being a "paidagogos," a guardian or nanny, and being a parent. more >>
Jim Putman, founder and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, shared Tuesday at the 2013 Exponential Conference what he believes can help churches and their leaders to make genuine disciples of Christ, primary of which, he says, is being sensitive to Jesus' example in the Bible instead of being seeker-sensitive.
"They're not being disciplined," said Putman of spiritually immature Christians. "They're being converted and asked to come and watch."
Speaking before an audience of more than 25,000, participating in person and virtually via a live webcast, Putman focused much of his message on Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus tells his disciple Simon after he declares him the messiah: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." more >>
Francis Chan bared some of his struggles with doubt and being a model disciple of Jesus Christ Tuesday during the opening session of the 2013 Exponential Conference attended by thousands in Orlando, Fla.
Chan spoke before 5,300 in-person attendees at First Baptist Church of Orlando, the chosen conference venue, and another 20,000 viewing the event live via the Internet. Chan was the second minister to take the stage to address the need for Christian discipleship, or "discipleshift," the theme chosen for this year's Exponential gathering.
However, instead of delving into his prepared remarks on discipleship, a subject he has been on a mission to revive in churches and faith communities since leaving his California church, the evangelical Christian minister confessed that he felt convicted by the message of the previous speaker, Pastor Jim Putman, on the issue of ministers letting the opinion of others sway their messages and define their work. more >>
A North Carolina megachurch known for its fast-growing congregation has received approval for further expansion of its facilities to an old theater.
Elevation Church, one of the state's largest churches, got a zoning approval on Monday evening by the Cornelius Board of Commissioners to the old Palace Theater, located in an area called Lake Norman.
Tonia Bendickson, director of outreach and communications for Elevation, told The Christian Post that the congregation was "thrilled" at the approval. more >>
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decided to send $3.1 million to several projects connected to the Church in Latin America.
According to Catholic World News, the USCCB's Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has granted the money to 132 different projects based in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo, M.Sp.S, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee, said in a statement that the projects focused on helping the less fortunate. more >>
With more than 75 percent of American churches experiencing some kind of conflict and 25 percent reporting disputes as "serious," according to Faith Communities, conflict experts believe planning for its inevitability can help churches arrive at more peaceful resolutions and stay out of damaging court battles.
According to a report from Peacemaker Ministries, born-again Christians in America file between four and eight million lawsuits annually and they are often against each other. The cost of these cases is a reported $20 to $40 billion.
Some 1,500 pastors also leave their posts monthly in the U.S. due to conflict, burnout or moral failure. more >>