Churches across the United States, many now more technologically equipped than ever before, are set to make their Easter services and celebrations this weekend collectively perhaps the most watched Christian event in history.
As churches of all sizes ramp up their webcast and livestream capabilities, no longer is television and radio the top component to spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and reaching those beyond the church walls.
"To pull this off we had to install satellite and Internet equipment at each of our churches, as well as broadcasting equipment at downtown Seattle," Mars Hill Church Communications Director Justin Dean told The Christian Post. The church, led by the media savvy Pastor Mark Driscoll, will be broadcasting online all six of the Easter services led by Driscoll from their downtown Seattle church. more >>
Prison Fellowship, the world's largest Christian outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, is partnering with the producers of "Unconditional," and plans to show screenings of the inspirational movie inside two Florida correctional facilities during Easter weekend.
The events also feature Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske and "Papa Joe" Bradford, a former maximum security inmate now working to improve the lives of Nashville's at-risk kids. His life is the inspiration behind the film.
"To help 'Papa Joe' share his message of God's life-changing, unconditional love is an honor," Liske said. "And this Easter weekend screening is just the beginning, as Prison Fellowship programs have the potential to connect or reconnect inmates in 1,200 prisons across the country to God's love and their purpose in life through this inspiring film." more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Pastor Rick Warren highlighted parts of his sermon on how the resurrection of Jesus Christ "changed everything" with scenes from the popular docudrama series "The Bible" during a lunchtime worship service at Saddleback Church on Good Friday. The message will be given again several more times before the weekend ends.
"How did 12 peasant fishermen, tax collectors, farmers – how in the world did they multiply – 12 followers of Jesus to one out of every three people on the planet [identifying as Christian]? The answer is the Resurrection," said Warren to about 2,000 people in attendance and an online viewing audience. "The resurrection of Jesus changed everything. It split our calendar to the A.D. and the B.C.
"No other event has impacted the world so much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ," he said. more >>
As Christians gather this Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many churches are pulling out elaborate props and Easter presentations in an effort to grow membership and make converts out of those "Chreasters," their friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors who attend service only on Christmas and Easter. But, according to experts, some congregations are woefully unprepared when it comes to connecting and keeping contact with their biannual guests.
Easter 2012 saw Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, use a live lion and a lamb on stage during his open-air Sunday service, which drew a bit of criticism from local animal rights activists. This year, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., plans to hold a record 42 services across his 14 campuses in four states and expects a huge number of converts to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
As an electrified Driscoll explains in a recent video announcement about Easter 2013, "Easter's coming. It's our biggest Sunday of the year! We get so excited for Easter Sunday. It's where we see the most people meet Jesus, the most people attend the church, the most people get baptized. So it is the day we are the most excited." more >>
Robert A. Schuller, who took over for his father for two years as the leader of the Crystal Cathedral, said during a leadership conference about pastoral succession this week that had his father simply let go of his responsibilities seven years ago, the church would still be in the hands of its own ministry.
"The Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the assets and the buildings, would still be in the hands of the ministries if my father would have simply walked away," said Schuller during the webcast hosted by Leadership Network on Tuesday. "When I accepted the role as the next senior pastor he had agreed to be an ambassador-at-large and raise funds for the endowment fund. He didn't do that. He became a sounding board for my sisters and other people that didn't particularly care for the new direction for whatever reason.
"There's no question in my mind whatsoever," he added, talking about the founding pastor of the church, his 86-year-old father, Robert H. Schuller, "had I been given the proper authority and all of the responsibility I had, and had my father simply turned to those that came to them and said, 'I don't have anything to do with that anymore' that it would have been a very, very successful transition because we did lots of things very right." more >>
Will Graham, the grandson of well-known evangelist Billy Graham, says that his grandfather is preparing hard for likely his last sermon in November and has started filming for "My Hope America with Billy Graham."
"This is so exciting for me as a grandson to see my granddaddy end well. He can't see well; he can't hear well. So it's hard for him to study the Bible," Will Graham told The Christian Post last week. "So he's trying to memorize and get things just right for the few minutes he will be before the camera."
"My Hope America with Billy Graham" is a massive nationwide evangelistic effort to take place throughout November (Billy Graham turns 95 on Nov. 7) in which Christians will invite their neighbors and friends who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to their home for a meal and invite them to watch the TV broadcast of "My Hope America with Billy Graham," or the DVD version where Billy Graham will share his new message. more >>