The Presbyterian Church (USA) continued its years-long trend of losing congregations and members in 2013, according to statistics released by the mainline Protestant denomination last week.
According to the data compiled by the PCUSA's Office of the General Assembly, by the end of 2013 membership was approximately 1.76 million, compared to approximately 1.84 million by the end of 2012.
Additionally, the number of PCUSA congregations decreased during 2013. There were 10,038 churches in 2013, versus 10,262 in 2012. more >>
A 143-year-old historic Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia recently held its final service after leaving its worship site to make way for the new Atlanta Falcons NFL stadium, slated to open at the start of the 2017 professional football season.
Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta's first autonomous black Baptist congregation, is being demolished to make way for the city's new $1.3 billion stadium. The city of Atlanta and the NFL contributed funds for buying out the church property, ultimately settling on a payment of $19.5 million that the church agreed upon by vote last year.
At their final worship service this past Sunday, the Rev. William Guy spoke of the church's "transitioning" phase and about how change in life is inevitable. "This is not a pity party, and I'm not going to make it one," Guy reportedly told his congregation, according to CL Atlanta. more >>
Pastor Leonce Crump chose over three years ago to launch Renovation Church in Atlanta on the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Why? Because the dream of racial equality and brotherhood King spoke about 50 years prior had yet to be fully realized, even in a city that was a bedrock of the civil rights movement.
The civil rights movement in Atlanta started long before King linked arms with other locals to march through town demand justice. Organized acts of resistance by African Americans against segregation, economic inequity, and racial violence in Atlanta go back to the late 19th century.
But it is King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech that reminds Americans every year that there is still work to be done in society, and even in our churches, when it comes to celebrating diversity and living in true brotherhood. more >>
A report released by the Southern Baptist Commission this week suggests that the country's largest denomination outside of the Roman Catholic Church is struggling to bring in new members from the Millennials and younger age group demographic.
According to the Pastors' Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms, 25 percent of Southern Baptist churches baptized no new members in 2012, while 60 percent reported no baptisms for youth between the ages of 12 and 17. Also indicative of the denomination's struggle to attract Millennials were the 80 percent of churches which reported baptizing one or zero adults between 18 and 29.
Ed Stetzer, the President of the Southern Baptist-linked Lifeway Research, who worked on the team headed by Al Gilbert, the Vice President of Evangelism at the North American Mission Board which created the report, suggested the denomination had not focused enough on intentionally reaching non-Christians. more >>
Church planting has become the "coolest" trend in church work in recent decades, according to Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, who says that alone should not be a reason to plant a church.
"One terrible reason to plant a church is because it's the trendiest, hippest, coolest thing going on in church work today. I have seen a share of young, energized leaders who felt peer pressure to demonstrate their love for God by getting their board shorts, and surfing the church plating wave only to wash up three years later, bloodied and disillusioned by the whole experience," said Hybels.
Hybles, who spoke at the Exponential East Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, addressed the crowd of thousands pf people who are current church leaders and some who hope to become church planters. His message was upfront and frank as he delved into four reasons why individuals should and should not plant churches. more >>
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 >>