The Episcopal Church continues to experience losses in both church attendance and membership, according to recently released numbers from the denomination's Office of the General Convention.
From 2013 to 2014, active baptized members in domestic dioceses went from 1.866 million to 1.817 million, representing a loss of nearly 50,000 members.
The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa has voted to recognize same-sex marriages and will start ordaining gay ministers without a celibacy clause. The DRC has been criticized by other Christian denominations, including by the Roman Catholic Church, for going against biblical doctrine.
South Africa's 24-hour news service eNCA reported that the vote took place last week, and a 64 percent majority of the church's synod voted in favor of supporting gay marriage.
DRC moderator Nelis Janse van Rensburg explained the decision, arguing that: "It is historical because with this decision we actually are at a point where there can be no doubt that the Dutch Reformed Church is serious about human dignity." more >>
In the broadest sense, a chaplain refers to those who are assigned to care and provide ministry for a specific group of people. Military and hospital chaplains, for example, have clearly defined groups who come under their care and ministry.
In local church ministry, we don't typically use the term "chaplain," though there are many pastoral roles that are congruent with chaplaincy. In fact, most of the pastoral care and concern for church members are chaplain-like functions.
Without a doubt, pastors should minister to church members. The danger is when pastors do little other than minister to the needs of church members, and the leadership of the church is neither equipping others nor leading the congregation to reach those who do not have a church home. In essence, the pastor is becoming a chaplain. more >>
I've written posts for ThomRainer.com and my own blog that describe some of the negatives our church consulting teams and "spies" have found in churches. The goal of this post is to show some of the positives we've seen in different churches. The topics vary, but perhaps something will help you in your church.
1. Greeters at every door.
It doesn't happen often, but occasionally every one of our team members is greeted when each of us intentionally enters a different door. Those churches are ready for guests. more >>
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has suggested that the Church should not seek to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality.
During a news conference held by the seminary and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Mohler said he was opposed to reparative therapy, which involves changing a person's sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality, dubbing it a "superficial" approach.
"The Christian Church has sinned against the LGBT community by responding to this challenge in a superficial way," said Mohler. "It's not something that is so simple as converting from homosexual to heterosexual, and from our Gospel-centered theological understanding that would not be sufficient." more >>
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has likened the influx of Syrian migrants into the U.S. to a coup, claiming that migrants "could be ISIS." However, in a recent open letter to Trump — who considers himself a Presbyterian — Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of the General Assembly, declared the church's compassion and support for displaced migrants.
"Presbyterians through decades of policy have demanded humane treatment of people of all nationalities and faiths who find themselves within our borders," wrote Parsons.
"We have challenged our government when it neglects to acknowledge the refugee status of those fleeing persecution. We have pushed for due process at the border and we continue to petition for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented persons." more >>