About 800 to 1,000 Southern Baptist congregations cease to exist annually, largely due to a stagnant vision among the leadership and lack of impact within their communities, says a church planting director. However, church leaders say the closures are often the symptom of a greater problem.
"Churches are closing in large part because they have either become disconnected from culture and, or disconnected from Scripture. When this happens, life leaves the church," Joshua Hedger, director of Center for Church Planting at Midwestern Seminary, told The Christian Post.
Although the Baptist convention opened 1,300 new churches last year, Hedger says they are not gaining enough new ground and will rely on church planters to create a movement that will hopefully put an end to dying congregations. The church revitalization process usually involves new leadership taking over a declining church, who then implements a strategy on how to grow the congregation again. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Saddleback Church founder Pastor Rick Warren plans to preach at two Easter Sunday worship services at Hollywood High School as part of launching a church campus in Los Angeles.
"We have been planning this for years and praying for it and I'm so excited to have a Saddleback campus in the heart of the great city of Los Angeles," says Warren in a promotional radio announcement.
The 1,800-seat Hollywood High auditorium along with the school's parking area will be used by Saddleback for the Easter services on April 20. No specific plans regarding where the Los Angeles campus will be located or when services will begin after Easter have been released by the church. However, more than 1,000 people have already expressed an interest in the regional and international campus by way of joining an email list and more than 300 volunteers have signed up to help host the Easter services at Hollywood High. more >>
Thousands of Christians in China formed a human wall Friday evening to protect the newly built Sanjiang Christian Church in Zhejiang province from government plans to demolish it. Believers in the region say the Christian faith is having a very positive effect on their lives.
"We are not seeking a violent confrontation," said one Christian protester, South China Morning Post reported. "We are holding a peaceful sit-in, praying to God for help."
The Protestant church cost an estimated $4.6 million to build over a six-year period in the city of Wenzhou, which has one of China's largest Christian populations. The Chinese government is claiming, however, that it used illegal structures and violated its building codes. more >>
Hispanic evangelical leaders are speaking out after a federal appeals court ruled that New York City has a constitutional right to bar religious groups from using public schools for worship services after hours.
The National Latino Evangelical Coalition, a group of over 3,000 Hispanic evangelical churches, immediately expressed its disagreement with the ruling Thursday.
"This decision is absolutely unnecessary and whimsical. How is allowing for certain worship practices but not worship services consistent with the First Amendment?," Gabriel Salguero, president of NaLEC, said in a statement. "Worship in empty school buildings in no way undermines the non-establishment clause." more >>
WOODBRIDGE, Va.— Thousands of youth from churches in the Washington, DC metro area gathered this weekend to learn about 'making disciples who make disciples.'
Known as "Reverse" and sponsored by Dare 2 Share Ministries, the event reaches out to teenagers to equip them to evangelize.
Held at the Hylton Memorial Chapel from Friday evening to Saturday evening, Dare 2 Share partnered with Compassion International and Colorado Christian University among others to bring the event to an estimated 3,000 attendees. more >>
NEW YORK — The pastor of a new church plant that is officially opening its doors this weekend in New York City's Co-op City is praying that those who are farthest from God will be the ones to walk through their doors.
"We're certainly not going to water down Jesus' message ever. We believe that He's God's Son and we believe that He changes lives today and we believe that He's the only way of salvation," Pastor Mike Tolone told The Christian Post.