Acts 29, an international organization of church planters, has expanded its resources to urban leaders who seek to start a church within their communities, said president and pastor Matt Chandler during the Exponential East conference Thursday.
Church planters generally become a part of the organization's residency program where they are prepared to plant a gospel-centered, church planting church. However, the program for urban leaders differs in that they receive theological and character development training as well as functional tools to begin their own churches.
"What we've really invested in is our Thriving Residencies for urban planters, specifically African American and Latinos. We just spotted this reality that these guys oftentimes come to Anglo suburban churches for their residencies but then they're completely out of the context in which they'll actually minister," Chandler said during the conference's live webcast. more >>
A gentleman's club in Ontario, Canada, opened its doors on Sunday to allow a church to gather. The couple leading the church says it is an attempt to attract those who would feel uncomfortable in a traditional church setting.
Jack and Sharon Ninaber, who are part of the Elora Road Christian Fellowship, held their first church service at The Manor gentlemen's club in Guelph over Easter weekend. Sharon, Jack's wife, told the local CTV television station that when she originally suggested the couple begin holding church services at the strip club, she was joking.
After discussing the idea further, however, the couple decided the unorthodox services would be a creative way to reach those who would shy away from a traditional church setting. They are specifically hoping to attract residents from Sue's Inn, a nearby transitional house for the homeless and the addicted. more >>
Right now there are over 300,000 Protestant churches in America. Just do the division (300,000 divided by 50 states) and that equals 6,000 churches per state. Wow! That's a lot of churches!
Think about it this way: there are just over 10,000 Starbucks and well over 300,000 churches! So Starbucks can saturate the United States with caffeinated drinks but almost 30x's more churches can't saturate the United States with the Living Water. Seriously???
According to church growth and discipleship multiplication expert Bill Hull, "It still takes 100 church attendees, a pastor and 100,000.00 a year to win a convert. Among evangelicals it is a bit better, 1.7, this is an ugly fact that should grieve us all." more >>
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 >>