The decline of church attendance within recent years may have been prompted by the growing frustration within the church body concerning leadership marred by growing numbers of scandals and churches more concerned with entertaining those in the pews than feeding them spiritually.
Emily Michaels is completing her graduate studies at New York Theological Seminary in New York City. When questioned about her opinion concerning the path of the Christian church, she gave a surprising answer. "I really would like to see the church operate in the days of my grandmother. The church has become such a show these days. It operates just as a play on Broadway. You have your production team, singers, musicians, dancers, skits and VP sections. Everything has to happen at a certain time. We give so much time to all of these things but only allow five minutes for the Holy Spirit to appear. What happened to just plain church?"
Cynthia Hartgrove, a Christian who attends a megachurch in New Jersey, shares her sentiment. "I have stopped attending church for that very reason. If I want to be entertained, I can go to a movie. I am not saying that singing and dancing are not permitted but when the choirs perform for the cameras, I have a problem. It takes a lot to get out of bed when your heart is heavy to attend church only to be disappointed because you received nothing in the process." more >>
NEW YORK – New York City stands as one of the richest and most glamorous metropolitans in the world, but it is also a city where people walk by tens of thousands of homeless people each night without offering or even knowing how to offer a helping hand. A joint campaign by some of the city's top charity organizations, stretching throughout the month of February, is seeking to address that problem, and offer new hope to the many hurting and needy people.
"'Don't Walk By' changed my life," said Katrina Monta, Executive Assistant to the President at New York City Relief, one of the participating groups, at the Feb. 2 outreach event in Downtown Manhattan, attended by The Christian Post. Monta was a volunteer at "Don't Walk By" back in 2010, and through that she ended up coordinating the event for The Bowery Mission in 2011, eventually leading to her involvement with New York City Relief.
"It was an eye opening experience because I got to do everything that Jesus was asking me to do as a Christian, which is kind of stoop down and learn how to love the outcast and live out my faith together as the Church. As a New Yorker, you are confronted with it every day – riding the trains, walking down the streets – and a lot of people don't know how to deal with that – it's an internal conflict," the executive assistant explained of the homeless problem in the city. more >>
Pastor Greg Laurie, perhaps best known for his large-scale evangelistic events called "Harvest Crusades" that originated in Southern California, recently announced that his Riverside-based church's second main campus in the Orange County city of Irvine will need to move to a new location because more space is needed.
Harvest Orange County, which started out as a weekly Bible study that moved to several locations within the county over the years before becoming a church plant in Irvine almost three years ago, now has a congregation of more than 2,000 people. Laurie regularly preaches Sunday services first at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside for the early morning services, and then commutes for a 30-minute or more drive to the Irvine location to then deliver his sermon for the 11:30 a.m. service.
Below is an interview with Laurie conducted by email with The Christian Post in which he discusses the Harvest Orange County church and a search for a new building. more >>
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asked students at Liberty University on Monday if they are willing to be scorned for taking a stand for what is morally right, saying that as Christians, they should be different than others in the world.
Huckabee charged the audience attending the weekly Liberty University Convocation to be bold Christians that take a stand for what is right and not just what is popular. "Sometimes we as believers have to say no. Are you willing to be hated, despised and take the type of stand that will not make you popular?" he asked the students.
Liberty University's convocation is North America's largest weekly gathering of Christian students that invites well-known Christian leaders as speakers, including Franklin Graham earlier in January, and will feature NFL quarterback Tim Tebow later this semester. more >>
National Community Church in Washington, D.C., led by Pastor Mark Batterson, continues moving closer to constructing a community center designed to help an impoverished area of the city with both tangible and spiritual needs. Batterson said he believes the DC Dream Center will be the most significant thing his church has ever done.
"One of our core convictions is this: God will bless us in proportion to how we care for the poor in our city. There is a third-world country in our nation's capital," he wrote in a recent blog post. "The Dream Center is our way of saying: not in our backyard and not on our watch!"
Already breaking relatively new ground in the D.C. area by using coffee shops and movie theaters as places of worship for Sunday church services in some of its six locations, Batterson hopes the Dream Center will be a collaboration with other churches and ministries. more >>
College campuses in the U.S. are not generally considered bastions for Bible literacy or interest, say officials from the Christian organization InterVarsity. However, in light of a recent Barna Group study released about the most and least Bible-minded cities in the nation, InterVarsity optimistically points to thousands of Bible studies "breaking out across the country," following commitments made at its student missions conference (Urbana 12) at the end of December in St. Louis.
"In a week when the Barna organization has highlighted the most Bible-Minded and least Bible-Minded cities in the U.S., and classes have resumed on college campuses across the country, it's exciting to know that thousands of college students are leading many of their friends into new relationships with God through Bible study," said InterVarsity Evangelism Director Terry Erickson.
In the Barna findings, Knoxville, Tenn., was named number one on the "Most Bible-Minded Cities" list, while Providence, R.I. and New Bedford, Mass. shared the number one spot for "Least Bible-Minded Cities" out of 96 cities. more >>