After stepping down from 33 years as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., John Piper, 67, will begin the transition of the church's leadership in May by moving his family to Tennessee.
In an open letter to his congregation on Wednesday, Piper explained that he wants Bethlehem's new pastor, Jason Meyer, an assistant professor of New Testament at Bethlehem College & Seminary who was voted as Piper's successor last May, to develop a strategic vision for the church without distractions.
"The aim is to give Jason and his team unencumbered freedom to discern God's leading and move forward," wrote Piper. "I am thrilled with our new leadership and have total confidence in their spiritual discernment for the future. Love them as you have loved me," Piper wrote. more >>
Megachurch pastor Matt Chandler told ministry leaders at a conference in North Carolina on Wednesday that churches seeking to be both fruitful and faithful must first and foremost be built upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.
"Ministry begins at the laying of the foundation of Christ Jesus," Chandler told those in attendance and watching live via the Internet during the Advance13 conference in Raleigh. "So all ministry that is faithful and eventually will be fruitful finds its roots in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and where there is ministry built on something other than that, you are not dealing with Christian ministry."
Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas and president of the Acts 29 Network for church planting, based much of his sermon on 1 Corinthians 3, in which the Apostle Paul describes members of the church in Corinth as spiritual "infants" because of their squabble over which man – Paul or Apollos – they followed. more >>
Evangelist Greg Laurie and his congregation plan to celebrate a milestone observance this coming weekend (March 16,17) in honor of four decades of ministry led by the Harvest church and crusades leader.
"Looking back," says Laurie, whose church is based in Riverside, Calif., "I can see God's hand at work from the very beginning. It has always been a part of God's plan for us to know Him and make Him known."
As the church observes its 40th anniversary with "ReEnvision Weekend," it plans to look ahead at what the future may hold. more >>
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina will be the new pope with the name Pope Francis. One hundred and fifteen cardinals locked away in the Sistine Chapel announced to the world Wednesday that a new pope had been selected when thick white smoke could be seen billowing out from the chapel's chimney. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was selected and took the name Francis.
He is the first pope elected from Argentina and was the runner up to Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is revered for being a man of the people and for his continued commitment to social justice. He chose to live in a small apartment, rather than in the luxurious bishop's residence, and is still seen using public transportation.
As the cardinals entered the second night of the conclave, many were not expecting a decision so soon, given that there was no clear front runner going into the papal elections. more >>
David Platt spoke on the issue of discipleship at this year's Verge Conference, asking what it means to know Christ biblically and to be an actual disciple of Jesus Christ. "How we answer the question will affect in every way how we make disciples," Platt told thousands of attendees Friday at the The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.
"We're living in a day when it means almost nothing to be a Christian," said Platt, sharing recent statistics that show many self-professed believers in the U.S. are "marginally committed to Jesus," which he said shows that many are "deceived" about their relationship with Christ.
"There are a whole lot of people in our country who think that they are Christians but they are not," he added, noting that there are many Americans who "culturally identify themselves as Christians and biblically are not followers of Christ." He cited Jesus as saying in Matthew 7:21 of the Bible that "not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." more >>
Eric "Doc" Benson is hoping America won't let him go without food for 40 days, but he is willing to do it if necessary to raise funds to complete a movie highlighting the struggle many small and mid-sized churches are having with change in America today.
The former pastor, now working as a filmmaker, has pledged to fast for 40 days or less, whichever comes first, until he raises $12,200 through a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.com to finish the movie project about a church's struggle to deal with change in its congregation. The $12,200 will be used to cover post-production expenses that Benson is unable to meet alone. Once finished, the movie will be shown at some festivals and movie theaters.
"I poured every hour, every dollar I could spare into making this movie happen," Benson explained in a release on Monday. "My wife, Annette, my boys, and I have emptied out our savings and invested our time and talents, because we feel God wants this film to be a blessing to people. Now, the only thing I have left to give is...myself," he said. more >>