A conservative Presbyterian breakaway network of churches founded as an alternative to the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) has passed the 100-membership mark.
Founded just two years ago, the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians passed the milestone late last year and continues to add more congregations this month.
It is a precious commodity in the leadership world. With it you can move your organization through changes and challenges much easier and with greater facility than those who lack it. Those leaders who lack connectivity among their people move slowly and painfully without a system of reliable relationships to mobilize the larger community. And while a lot of leaders claim to have a great team and structure in their organizations, they really don't know the strength of their "network" until it's tested and the depth of its traction produces real movement forward.
Key words? Traction and forward. more >>
The number of Catholic priests, lay leaders, and missionaries assassinated increased last year, according to a report by an Italian Catholic organization. Twenty-two Catholic church leaders and faithful were murdered in 2013, reported the Fides News Agency of Rome.
This number was comprised of 19 priests, 1 nun, and two lay leaders. It is an increase from 2012, which had a total of 12 murders.
"As it has been for some time, Fides' list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths," reads a Fides article. "We do not propose to use the term 'martyrs', if not in its etymological meaning of 'witnesses' since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the [scarcity] of available information in most cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death." more >>
Dr. Joe Hellerman has just released his new book Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. His doctoral research dealt with the social history of the early Christians, and he has authored five books. In addition to a full time schedule teaching at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, he's a team pastor at Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, California. I recently caught up with Joe to ask him about how the early church dealt with issues like power and status and what it can teach Church leaders today.
Q: Your new book is Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. As the title describes, it's about power and status in the early Church. Why is that important for church leaders today?
Joe Hellerman: It is "social given" among human beings that "wherever two or more are gathered," leaders will emerge who will exercise power and authority over others in the groups they lead. This is true in every culture, in just about any social setting, including the church. God created us this way, and he made provisions for this very phenomenon in the Bible, by establishing church offices, along with necessary qualifications and character qualities for church leaders. Since the use (and abuse) of power tends to manifest itself somewhat differently at different times and places, it is important regularly to return to the Bible's teaching on the proper use of power and authority in order to evaluate current tendencies and practices. more >>
Media consultant Phil Cooke recently listed five principles for leaders to effectively communicate the Gospel in today's high-tech social world, including the premise that expression of "Christian lingo" should be dropped.
"Forget Christian 'lingo,'" writes Cooke in his recent blog, Five Commandments for Becoming a Media Savvy Pastor. "Christian media is so filled with it's own 'lingo,' that most of the people we're trying to reach can't even understand us. But when I read the New Testament, Jesus spoke in a language and style people understood. Why have we lost that ability? Why have we created an entire vocabulary of words and phrases that only church members can understand?"
Cooke, who has produced and directed film and television programming in more than 50 countries and authored the book, Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media, says he has helped some of the largest churches and ministries in the country create effective, high quality media outreaches. more >>
Greg Locke, lead pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., rode his bicycle more than 400 miles in two days to visit members of his congregation for New Year's.
"As the church grows exponentially, I become a name and a face," Locke explained. He took the trip to maintain a closer relationship with his flock, he told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday. Locke biked approximately 240 miles on Dec. 31 and about 160 on Jan. 1 to visit 102 houses. He said he plans to finish the trip Thursday with a loop around his neighborhood, bringing the whole journey up to about 420 miles.
"We do some pretty outlandish stuff," the pastor acknowledged. In recent years, Locke has walked, biked, and sacrificed time for various humanitarian causes. In April, he walked from Murfreesboro, Tenn., to Paducah, Ky., – 240 miles – raising $10,000 for FaithUnity OutLoud, a publication which employs 155 homeless people. In October, he led five other church members on an 800-mile bicycle trip over six days to raise money for victims of sex trafficking in downtown Nashville. more >>