Megachurch pastor Billy Hybels' first five years of establishing a church in a Chicago suburb was one of the hardest experiences in his life, he told Christian leaders at the Exponential conference.
"I did a lot of scrambling. In the first five years it was like 25, 100-yard dashes a day," Hybels told those attending the second day of the three-day church planting conference at First Baptist Church Orlando.
Hybels, 60, founded Willow Creek Community Church 37 years ago. He led services at Palatine's Willow Creek Theater before the church moved six years later to its current location in South Barrington, Ill. more >>
Christian leaders with a heart for church planting are being encouraged at the Exponential conference to move past the difficulties they will encounter when they start their houses of worship.
Church planting is not for the faint of heart, say organizers of the three-day conference, which began Tuesday at First Baptist Church Orlando. More than 4,000 new churches start each year, which means upwards of 20,000 planters are "in the trenches in years 1-5, many of whom are discouraged and have considered quitting," according to information on the conference website.
The conference theme is "Sifted," emphasizing the church planter's spiritual, physical, and emotional health as the "very foundation for reproducing." more >>
In many towns across the U.S., you can locate a number of well-established churches simply by looking for their steeples. But many church plants, including the one I serve, will meet in a variety of different (and usually not ideal) locations before they establish themselves in a building of their own.
Chris Priestley is the senior pastor of Crossroads Church, a church plant that meets in Westover, W. Va., just outside the college town of Morgantown. The church began five years ago while he was still living in Charleston, and every weekend he would drive two-and-a-half hours to be part of it. When it first began, their meeting location didn't even have walls.
"We started with 20 guys in a picnic shelter along the river, so you're dodging goose poop and all that kind of stuff. It was just nuts," he said laughing. more >>
A look into the ancestral family history of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren produced for an episode of the PBS series "Finding Your Roots" revealed at least two big surprises for the renowned evangelical leader.
The program's host, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was able to show through genealogical research that Warren had several relatives rooted in church leadership positions dating back to the nation's founding.
However, perhaps more shocking was the discovery of a great grandfather dating back three generations with a profession viewed as less than admirable today – a slave owner. more >>
The church planting group Acts 29 Network will keep its mission focused in the same manner as before despite a recent change in leadership, said the group's new president, Matt Chandler.
"There's no vision shift here. It is a location shift and a restructuring," Chandler, also lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, told The Christian Post. "I want us to keep doing what we are doing. I want us to keep planting churches and being on mission and do that in a way that is edifying and encouraging to our network. I'd like to see us be able to do that more effectively and more efficiently.
"My hope is steadfastly to continue to plant churches that make much of Jesus, that lift up on high the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and see men and women saved by that message." more >>
Local South Sudanese government officials and tribal elders have gathered in Yei River County in Jonglei state Sunday for a three-day Peace Conference under the sponsorship of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), to discuss the role of the church in helping end tribal violence and prevent future conflict.
The unprecedented meeting, which lasts until Tuesday, united local officials, U.S. and African Evangelicals and members of four tribes, Murle, Dinka, Nuer and Anyuak, in the Eastern region of the country, which has suffered from tribal violence sparked by disputes over pastoral grounds for cattle, the main local source of income. Fighting between these tribes has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and thousands of injuries in the past six months, it has been estimated.
Among the conference's participants were the Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA's CEO and Secretary General; Dr. Brian C. Stiller, WEA Global Ambassador; Stephen Tollestrup, WEA Director of Peace and Reconciliation Initiative; and the Rev. Aiah Foday-Khabenje, General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). Also in attendance were local church leaders, including Bishop John Machar Thou of the Anglican Diocese of Duk and Bishop James Par Tap, Moderator at the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Khartoum, part of the Church of Sudan. more >>