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 >>
Fox News host and best-selling author Bill O'Reilly believes that children should learn Judeo-Christian principles in public schools.
O'Reilly explained his views during an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "TODAY" show Thursday, saying, "Kids need to know what Judeo-Christian tradition is, because that's what all of our laws are based on. That's what the country's philosophy is based on. ... And because that's what forged the Constitution."
"Kids, if they live in a secular home and go to public school, don't know anything about Jesus. … Our Constitution was forged on Judeo-Christian philosophy and tradition," he reiterated. more >>
The church needs to focus on creating a Gospel-centered evangelistic culture rather than just claiming to be evangelical, says Dave Bruskas, teaching pastor and executive elder at Mars Hill Church.
In a new blog post, Bruskas advises churches to steer away from focusing on baptism numbers and instead work to incorporate seven characteristics of a local church with a similar culture, as noted by the Apostle Paul in the Bible.
"While many churches would consider themselves to be evangelical, I have personally found very few of these same churches to have a strong evangelistic culture, Bruskas writes on theresurgence.com. "I wouldn't evaluate this through the number of conversions reported by churches. That is solely the work of the Holy Spirit." more >>
A former church once given landmark status located in upstate New York will soon lose its crosses as an organization seeks to convert the structure into a mosque.
The Historic Preservation Board of the city of Syracuse has given the North Side Learning Center, an organization largely comprised of Muslims, permission to remove the crosses.
In a vote taken Thursday morning, the board approved the request of the organization to make changes to the church property, including the removal of the crosses and the addition of a fence. more >>
The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ili., has expressed his support for a priest who has refused to give Holy Communion to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ili.).
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki stated in an email written to a pro-life activist that he supported Monsignor Kevin Vann, pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church.
"Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law," wrote Paprocki. more >>
An appeals court in New York City on Thursday ruled that the Board of Education was abiding by the law in prohibiting the Bronx Household of Faith from using public school facilities for worship services during off-hours.
The 2-1 vote, a reversal of a 2012 injunction against the city, comes amid a decades-long battle between church leaders and city officials. The plaintiff's attorneys say they are considering appealing, once more, to the Supreme Court.