While many public assemblies of Christians in China are now being allowed as the result of a more Westernized country, there is a need for pastors and Christian leaders to have strong mentors now more than ever, says persecution watchdog Open Doors.
"Not so long ago, Christians were forced to meet in secret, sing softly and whisper their prayers to avoid unwanted attention from the local authorities," Open Doors stated recently. "Now, in many places, believers are free to gather and to be a church. The growing freedoms and the rapid urbanization have left the Chinese Church puzzled. The Church is in need of a mentor who shows her how to effectively function in a more free society."
Open Doors describes one of the first pastors they mentored as fitting the profile of many other Chinese pastors, including being in his early 30s, and having grown up in a rural area. He now serves as the leading pastor of one of many Chinese urban churches. When Open Doors came into contact with him, the pastor was struggling in many areas of his ministry, including his family life. more >>
A new Saginaw, Mich., church targeting the under 40 demographic will be hosting a massive drop of 50,000 plastic Easter Eggs filled with candy and miniature toys on Saturday.
Founding Pastor of Life Church Michigan Jonathan Herron told The Christian Post the drop will be hosted on the campus of the Saginaw Valley State University where his new church has been meeting for services since March 17.
"Things are going fantastic. The whole idea was we are a new church and we love children, we love families, so we are throwing a free party because Jesus loved to connect with people at parties," said Herron. more >>
Author and Pastor David Platt encouraged those attending the Advance13 Christian leadership conference on Thursday to fully saturate their weekly sermons with the word of God, rather than their personal stories, so that the Good News may be proclaimed "in the church, and through the church."
Platt, who leads The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., began Thursday's talk at the Advance13 leadership conference in Raleigh, N.C., by recalling a pastor who once showed up to deliver a sermon and told the crowd that he couldn't think of anything to say, and therefore failed to deliver God's Word.
"Effective preaching is not dependent on an innovative personality, effective preaching is dependent on a faithful preacher," Platt said, noting that the most effective way to saturate one's congregation with God's Word is to pull directly from the Gospel. more >>
While speaking at the Advance13 conference in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday, California megachurch pastor Larry Osborne spoke on the dangers of disciples of Christ becoming "accidental Pharisees" through a prideful, "holier than thou" attitude toward those struggling with their faith.
"Becoming a Pharisee is like having dinner at Denny's. No one ever plans to go there; you just end up there," Osborne told the crowd of Christian leaders attending the Advance13 conference which ended Thursday.
"I'm afraid that a lot of us today who are passionate about God's glory and God's work are going to end up at a spiritual Denny's." more >>
The North American Church is finding itself in an odd position, where it is now receiving missionaries from the countries it once sent missionaries to. With this shifting of the "Christian center of gravity" away from the West, what role should the North American Church – with the U.S. still ranked as the top missionary-sending country in world history – now play in global mission?
Paul Borthwick, who teaches missions at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and is a senior consultant for Development Associates International, explores this difficult question in his latest book, Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church?
Far from giving readers an easy answer, Borthwick takes them through nearly 100 pages of context, including statistics on the astounding growth of Christianity in Africa (11.7 million Christians in Africa in 1910 compared to 495 million Christians in 2010), a nine-point "State of the World" report, and an assessment of the North American Church. more >>
Having your own hunger for God is an essential foundation for ministry work, well-known pastor and theologian John Piper told those attending and watching the Internet livestream of a Christian leadership conference held in Raleigh, N.C. on Tuesday.
"The foundation of your ministry is a hunger for God," said Piper at the Advance 13 conference. "Above that, the foundation for your ministry is being satisfied in all that God is for you in Jesus. The goal of that ministry is to help people go there. All your life, give yourself to that – to bring those people from loving the world, being satisfied in the world, until they put all that to death and to praise Jesus as their all satisfying treasure. That's the goal in ministry, to help them get there."
Piper, whose last sermon as the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis will be on Easter Sunday, said he believes that ministry leaders should have the joy of Christ inside them in order to lead well. more >>