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 >>
Reaction to the launch earlier this week of a group calling itself "Evangelicals for Marriage Equality" heralded by an op-ed in TIME by its spokesman, was met with harsh criticism from some Christians, including the assertion that no "real arguments" were made to support same-sex marriages.
"I eagerly await the young evangelical that finally convinces me that the Bible and human history are wrong on marriage and that justice requires that both Christianity and society bestow marriage on same-sex relationships," wrote Andrew T. Walker, director of Policy Studies for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Walker responded to EME spokesman Brandan Robertson's piece in which he explains why the initiative for evangelicals to support "civil marriage equality" was launched, with his own op-ed the next day in TIME, "An Evangelical Defense of Traditional Marriage." more >>
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was booed at a Washington, D.C., event spotlighting the need to help persecuted Christians abroad.
The outspoken Texas Republican heard jeers from some members of the audience for the inaugural Summit dinner for the group In Defense of Christians while speaking on Wednesday.
Addressing an audience that included several Middle Eastern Christian leaders, the negative response reportedly came after Cruz spoke positively of the modern state of Israel. more >>
Trail Life USA, a new "unapologetically Christian" alternative to Boy Scouts of America, has attracted more than 14,000 members since it launched in January, and about half are former Boy Scouts who left the organization after it lifted its ban on openly gay youth last year.
Mark Hancock, chief executive officer of Trail Life USA which is headquartered in Florida, told The Christian Post Tuesday that the organization has 14,492 active members in 47 states; this amounts to approximately 460 troops and their numbers are increasing by the hundreds every week.
"... [W]e are adding a couple hundred members a week," said Hancock. Along with the 460 troops in operation, Hancock noted that 300 additional troops are in the pre-charter stage. These are troops that have expressed interest in the organization, paid a fee and are now being evaluated by Trail Life USA. more >>
Pastor Rick Warren said that his nearly 40 years in ministry have helped him learn how to benefit from opportunities by first asking a few questions to determine whether to take advantage of them or not.
Warren notes that successful individuals see opportunities when others do not, a skill people can learn. He admits that he was poor at seizing opportunities and missed out on many early on in his life. But now he has learned to say "no" to good opportunities so that he can say "yes" to great ones.
"Opportunities are all around you but if you don't know how to see, sift, sense or seize them, then you're not going to know what to do with your life. You're going to miss on God's plan for you," Warren said during a sermon on Sunday. more >>