Pastors Mark Driscoll and Andy Stanley stressed the importance of preaching a sermon that carries a "sensitivity to the lost" while advising pastors on how to deliver better sermons during a web seminar hosted by The Rocket Company on Wednesday.
Mark Driscoll, founder and senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and author of the bestselling book Real Marriage, said that he thoroughly enjoys angling the "hard truth of the Bible" to those lost and struggling with their faith because he did not find a relationship with God until he was 19-years-old. "I remember what it's like to be lost," Driscoll told the "Preach Better Sermons" conference's host, Jeff Henderson, lead pastor of Gwinnett Church in Duluth, Ga.
"The whole point [of Christianity] is God is making room for more," Driscoll said, adding that we as Christians are "on a mission to see more people become God's people." more >>
Among various Christian groups in the United States, evangelicals were found to be the most "Christ-like," according to the findings of a recently released study on Christians.
Overseen by the Barna Group, the results, released Tuesday, showed that 23 percent of evangelical respondents exhibited both Christ-like actions and attitudes. The 23 percent number puts evangelicals above the other categories, which included "Practicing Protestant" (16 percent), "All Christians" (14 percent), "Practicing Catholic" (14 percent), "Non Evangelical Born Again Christians" (13 percent), and "Notional" (13 percent).
The findings were derived from 1,008 telephone interviews of which 718 respondents self-identified as Christian from Nov. 11 until Nov. 18, 2012. Respondents who identified themselves as Christian were asked 20 questions, ten of which compared their responses to Jesus' actions and attitudes and ten of which compared their responses to the Pharisees of the New Testament. more >>
An independent panel has made ten suggestions for Bible translating ministries Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International, after being asked to review their practices in light of various translation controversies, including interpretation for a Muslim context.
The panel, organized by the World Evangelical Alliance, wrote in one of its suggestions that it recognized "that there is significant potential for misunderstanding of the words for 'father' and 'son' when applied to God, and that in languages shaped by Islamic cultures, the potential is especially acute and the misunderstandings likely to prove especially harmful to the reader's comprehension of the gospel."
The panel recommended that translators consider the addition of qualifying words and/or phrases (explanatory adjectives, relative clauses, prepositional phrases, or similar modifiers) to the directly-translated words for "father" and "son," in order to avoid misunderstanding. more >>
The teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, has launched a "Missing Persons Project" campaign to encourage local faith communities to "recognize and receive [their] forgotten members," those who might be considered social outcasts or even marginalized by their churches.
"Today, the Body of Christ is missing many of its members. Too often we're guilty of assigning greater value to one part than the others," says Stanley in an introductory video on In Touch Ministries' website.
In Touch Ministries, founded in 1972 as "The Chapel Hour," has been releasing a series of special reports in an effort to encourage local churches to "welcome all people with open arms of love," according to Stanley, who referenced at the start of the video James 1:27. The Bible verse describes "pure and faultless" religion as looking after "orphans and widows in their distress" and keeping oneself "from being polluted by the world." more >>
The church is coming, says Bishop Harry Jackson, leader of a new community of faith being developed in Central Florida that will launch next year. The plant, Hope Connexion Orlando, will serve as a clarion call for the Christian Church to confront its prejudices and take on its prophetic role of speaking truth to power in its own communities and abroad. Or at least, that's the vision.
Despite the growing presence of diverse congregations across the U.S. that mirror the biblical image of Jesus Christ's followers being of every nation, tribe and language, there are still cases in which some churches and Christians seem to stumble over the explicit command for diversity Christ makes in the Great Commission and that the first century church modeled.
Last year, a Mississippi Baptist church made headlines because its predominantly white congregation denied a black couple's wish to be married at the church by their pastor allegedly due to their race. The year before, a Kentucky pastor reversed his congregation's vote to bar interracial couples from becoming members. There have also been questions about white churches having black leaders, predominantly black churches embracing white leaders and the apparent oddity of a Korean-American pastor leading a "predominantly African-American" congregation." more >>
The U.S. Military has blocked access to the Southern Baptist Convention's website on an unknown number of military bases because it contains "hostile content" -- just weeks after an Army briefing labeled Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as examples of religious extremism, Fox News has learned.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination known for its support of the pro-life movement and its strong belief in traditional marriage.
Southern Baptist chaplains reported that SBC.net had been blocked at military installations around the nation. The censorship was made public after an Army officer tried to log onto the denomination's website and instead -- received a warning message. more >>