Many Christians view discipleship as a class for new believers to learn the foundational doctrines of the faith. True discipleship is not simply learning biblical truths, but becoming a student of Jesus, having the will to obey Him in all areas of our life, including in our family. Though many evangelical churches embrace the Great Commission, the condition of families within the body of Christ reflects the reality that few Christians have been adequately trained or discipled in marriage or parenting.
Today the divorce rate within the church is out of proportion to His Word, power and promises. Children from Christian homes are using drugs and abusing alcohol, having sex and committing crimes almost as much as their secular counterparts. It has become difficult to differentiate the non-church kids from those who profess to believe. Statistics tell us that over 65 percent of children being raised in Christian homes -- and that have spent over 10 years in some kind of church youth group -- are walking away from their faith after leaving their homes at the age of 18. Rebellion and disrespect toward parents and authority is now considered common adolescent behavior, even in the church. It's not an exaggeration to say that "the family" is in serious trouble.
We are quick to place blame for this condition on the television programs our children watch, the video games they play, the schools they attend, the influence of the kid next door, or other external influences. I believe that the real problem is not so much what is affecting our children from outside our homes, but from within. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Together L.A., a three day conference featuring close to 50 speakers primarily discussing how churches and ministries can effectively collaborate to show the love of Christ to the city, concluded with best-selling author and pastor Tim Keller speaking about individual identity before 2,000 people in attendance last Saturday.
"Christianity doesn't just give you a new identity it gives you a radical way of forming an identity," said Keller, pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. "It gives you a unique, liberating and infinitely better identity than the one the culture is imposing on you right now."
Throughout the conference, Keller and other speakers discussed practical steps and gave examples of how the Christian community is tackling hard social issues. However, Keller's closing message was more about how Christians walking in faith can overcome skewed expectations from society. more >>
Warryn Campbell is asking for volunteers to be a part of the ministry in his new church.
Warryn, the My Block Records CEO, who has produced music for his wife Erica and her sister Tina in their group Mary Mary for years, has inspired a direction for the church. The super producer recently took to social media to hint that the doors to his church may be opening in April.
Now, he is asking for people to volunteer their services to his new place of worship. more >>
Manny Pacquiao may be gearing up for an upcoming bout with longtime rival fighter Floyd Mayweather next May, but the Filipino boxer and politician has also officially named the church he is in the process of building.
Pacquiao, the 36-year-old Christian fighter and politician, is expected to finish building his church, school and community center on 5.7 acres in General Santos City, Philippines within the next 18 months. The two-story church building will be utilized as a worship area, while the building annex will serve as the Bible school, pastor's lounge and commercial offices.
At his most recent groundbreaking ceremony, Pacquiao spoke about his name for the church that will be called The Word for Everyone. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Upon meeting Pastor Rafer Owens, who is both the dynamic leader of Faith Inspirational Missionary Baptist Church and a deputy sheriff serving in Compton in Los Angeles County, it is easy to understand why he was chosen to speak at Together LA, the three-day conference about discovering how to "love on" the metropolis, beginning this Thursday.
Owens has ministered for 17 years to not only a primarily black congregation but to a much wider audience – Compton, a city once known as a war zone for gangs.
"Our mission is to take back the city of Compton and bring the love of God and the spirit of God and overall revival to the city," he said while describing the goals of his church. "What we've done as a church is become involved in everything that the city does and everything that would help lift up the community." more >>
Last Friday, the Institute on Religion and Democracy's (IRD) Chelsen Vicari met with Deamon Scapin, the pastor of a new Capitol Hill church plant called Triumph D.C. According to the new church plant's website, Triumph seeks to be "a network of life-giving churches and a movement of leaders to influence a city that influences the world." Deamon, his wife Kristine, and their three children moved from suburban Texas in 2013 to join the revitalized movement of church planting happening inside the Washington D.C. Beltway.
Chelsen Vicari: When did you first recognize the call to lead a church plant in Washington D.C.? And, by the way, uprooting your family from suburban Texas to this crazy, chaotic, awesome city is quite daunting. What were your thoughts and feelings during such a hectic, exciting time?
Pastor Deamon Scapin: That is a huge story, but I'll try to condense it. Just out of college and newly married, we moved from Pensacola, Florida to Texas through a relationship with a spiritual father of mine to be on staff there at a church. At the time, we knew that when we were joining the staff—this was sixteen years ago or so—that we weren't going to be there forever. We were going to Texas for ministry training, development, and experience. At some point we knew we would plant a network of churches that we would have the opportunity to lead. We ended up taking over the 30-year old founding campus over and we lead there for about six years. But my wife and I knew God was leading us to do the work that we had done in Texas in another place. more >>