NEW YORK — Contrary to a time when urban areas were abandoned in a rush of white flight to the more racially-homogenous suburbs, eager and excited church planters are now flocking to cities like L.A. and NYC, holding up the banner of God's call in Jeremiah 29:7 to "seek the good of the city." But, according to urban apologist and former church planter D.A. Horton, his peers mostly seem intent on seeking the welfare of the safe and gentrified urban areas.
Horton is also a former pastor and previously served as executive director of ReachLife Ministries. He currently works as the national coordinator of Urban Student Missions at the North American Mission Board, or NAMB.
NAMB is among numerous organizations and networks (like the Orchard Group and Acts 29) that are on mission to evangelize and revitalize cities by training, supporting and sending (usually male) Christians who say they feel called to start a church. With so many new churches being planted and launched (read about a few here, here and here), some observers have expressed concerns that the movement has become a fad. Others, like Horton, have noticed that amid the influx of Millennial-led churches to major cities, some leaders appear to be avoiding, or overlooking the inner city — frequently marked by poverty, high crime and afflicted education systems. more >>
WASHINGTON — Pastors Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and Christopher Brooks, head of Evangel Ministries in Detroit, say congregations must uphold their biblical responsibilities as members of the church by creating a "culture of accountability" for their pastors and church leaders.
Speaking at the Evangelical Leadership Summit hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the two pastors who oversee inner city churches talked about an array of issues concerning pastoral leadership.
"I think a lot of churches are dysfunctional because their pastors are terrible. And I would like to see more healthy pastors leading more healthy churches," Dever said. more >>
Tom Mannin, the pastor of Oklahoma City Community Church which uses the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall for its worship services, is breaking his silence on the city's decision to allow a satanic "black mass" and the Christian service to be held inside the same building later this month.
In a blog entry posted Tuesday on the church's website, Mannin said his congregation, as well as Christians in general, have to respond with "love and hope" toward the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu who will hold a black mass in a theatre space at the civic center.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association recently released a trailer for "Heaven," the next installment of evangelistic films offered by the My Hope with Billy Graham ministry. "Heaven" features a never-before-released message from Billy Graham, alongside compelling stories of hope and faith, much like "The Cross" and the other impactful programs previously produced.
"'Heaven' is going to be an incredible resource for the Church to use to present the Gospel," said Steve Rhoads, vice president for My Hope. "The trailer only gives a glimpse of the importance of this film in proclaiming the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ. As wonderful as this program is, it is only made truly effective when we pray and ask God to prepare the way."
The film releases on Nov. 7 in the United States and Canada, and churches and individuals involved in My Hope are encouraged to begin praying and planning now for events and gatherings in November, during which they can use this this newly produced video program to reach out to neighbors, family and friends, say BGEA officials. more >>
Iraqi born pastor Jalil Dawood of the Arabic Church of Dallas, who, along with other Christian leaders will be holding a rally on Sept. 14 in support of Iraqis who are being persecuted by the Islamic State, says there are five things Americans can do today to help their brothers and sisters in Christ.
"What Americans can do today is write to their representatives and tell them the U.S. government needs to take more aggressive action toward the Islamic State, because this group is not only a threat to Iraq, it's a threat to America, eventually. And we need to deal with them now, before it's too late," Dawood told The Christian Post.
"I heard the president say last week that he doesn't have a strategy. Well, ISIS' strategy is to kill us. Their strategy is to convert us and kill us," he asserted. more >>
Evangelist Greg Laurie, who knew World War II hero Louis Zamperini well through public interviews and time spent together privately before he died on July 2, said he was disappointed to hear that the film based on his life as adapted from the book Unbroken, will not include the story of his faith in Jesus Christ.
The Universal Pictures film, directed by Angelina Jolie, is scheduled for release on Christmas Day. However, word has already gotten out that Zamperini's spiritual journey is absent from the film adaption of Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.
"I'm disappointed that director Angelina Jolie has chosen to leave this vital and essential part of Louis Zamperini's life out of this much anticipated film," Laurie, who is perhaps best known for leading the Harvest crusades, told The Christian Post recently. "To me, the most amazing part of his story is not just surviving the incomprehensible beatings in the Japanese internment camp, or being adrift at sea for over 47 days. It was the fact that Louis was able, because of his conversion and newfound Christian faith, to go back to Japan to the very guards who mistreated him and forgive them, as well as tell them about Jesus Christ." more >>