While many public assemblies of Christians in China are now being allowed as the result of a more Westernized country, there is a need for pastors and Christian leaders to have strong mentors now more than ever, says persecution watchdog Open Doors.
"Not so long ago, Christians were forced to meet in secret, sing softly and whisper their prayers to avoid unwanted attention from the local authorities," Open Doors stated recently. "Now, in many places, believers are free to gather and to be a church. The growing freedoms and the rapid urbanization have left the Chinese Church puzzled. The Church is in need of a mentor who shows her how to effectively function in a more free society."
Open Doors describes one of the first pastors they mentored as fitting the profile of many other Chinese pastors, including being in his early 30s, and having grown up in a rural area. He now serves as the leading pastor of one of many Chinese urban churches. When Open Doors came into contact with him, the pastor was struggling in many areas of his ministry, including his family life. more >>
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 >>
Rising conservative star, neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson refined comments he made regarding the definition of marriage and gay relationships on Friday after coming under fire from liberal groups who took offense to a statement that he made on the issue earlier this week.
"My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality – it doesn't matter what they are – they don't get to change the definition," Carson told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday.
Since then, however, the director of Johns Hopkins Hospital's division of Pediatric Neurosurgery has come under fire from various groups who interpreted his statement as anti-gay. The groups include students and faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who petitioned his planned appearance as the school's commencement speaker. 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 >>