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 >>
A new Gallup poll released on Monday revealed that young Hispanics appear to be abandoning the traditional Catholic faith of their parents and turning more often to Protestant alternatives.
"A majority of Hispanics in America continue to identify as Catholic, although the Catholic percentage among Hispanics appears to be decreasing and the youngest Hispanics in America today are less likely to be Catholic than those who are older," Gallup stated about the implications of the results.
"Additionally, those Hispanics who are Catholic are much less religious than those who are Protestant." more >>
Indiana's largest megachurch, and America's 15th biggest congregation, the Family Christian Center, is now facing a new foreclosure case for a bank debt of more than $600,000.
Citing information from documents filed in Lake Superior Court last Tuesday, an nwitimes report said the First National Bank of Illinois filed the mortgage foreclosure case against the church, senior pastor Steve Munsey, the Internal Revenue Service and Sutton Place Condominiums. The church owed the bank $604,447.02, as of Jan. 4, according to the court records seen by nwitimes.
The Christian Post searched for the court documents on the county website, but the dockets were no longer available. more >>
Employees of megachurches located in the South are the highest paid group of megachurch workers in America, according to the recently released 2012 Large Church Salary Report by the Leadership Network.
The Leadership Network, which seeks to promote church innovation and growth, conducted a survey of 209 influential churches across America with at least 2,000 members, and identified a number of factors that determined the salaries of their employees.
Typical benchmarks used to determine their total compensation package included: church income, attendance, growth rate, geographical setting, education, prior experience, years of service at church and gender. The most influential of these factors is the church's size measured by its budget and worship service attendance. more >>