About 800 to 1,000 Southern Baptist congregations cease to exist annually, largely due to a stagnant vision among the leadership and lack of impact within their communities, says a church planting director. However, church leaders say the closures are often the symptom of a greater problem.
"Churches are closing in large part because they have either become disconnected from culture and, or disconnected from Scripture. When this happens, life leaves the church," Joshua Hedger, director of Center for Church Planting at Midwestern Seminary, told The Christian Post.
Although the Baptist convention opened 1,300 new churches last year, Hedger says they are not gaining enough new ground and will rely on church planters to create a movement that will hopefully put an end to dying congregations. The church revitalization process usually involves new leadership taking over a declining church, who then implements a strategy on how to grow the congregation again. more >>
NEW YORK — Pastor Carl Lentz, who has been leading Hillsong NYC for more than three years, recently said that serving New York City will always be central to the vision and mission of the megachurch.
"The vision of Hillsong Church hasn't changed for 30 years," Lentz told The Christian Post, speaking of the ministry founded in 1983 by Brian and Bobbie Houston in Sydney, Australia.
"If anything, we're trying to continue to encourage people," he added. "The vision of our church is to serve New York City, so that's never gonna change." more >>
Popular youth pastor and founder of The Basement in Alabama, Matt Pitt, 30, emerged from the Shelby County jail elated and healthy-looking Sunday morning to cheering family and supporters after serving eight months behind bars.
In a heavily disputed ruling last October, Shelby County District attorney Robby Owens revoked Pitt's probation for impersonation a police officer in 2012 citing that he had violated the terms of his probation by getting arrested again last year for a similar offense.
"It was about 5:45 yesterday morning when he walked out the door [of the Shelby County jail]," said Blake Bolden, a personal friend of Pitt and staffer at The Basement, in an interview with The Christian Post Monday. more >>
William Best, 47, who formerly lead Living Waters Worship Center in Valley Grande, Ala., has been arrested and charged with allegedly committing second degree rape, second degree sodomy and incest against an underage family member.
Best was arrested Tuesday after the victim reported the activity to her mother Saturday and brought the charges to police Monday. He is being held at the Dallas County Jail on a $2 million bond, the higest ever set in the county for similar charges, said District Attorney Michael Jackson during Best's Thursday court appearance.
The victim has accused Best of sexually assaulting her at the church, where he served for three years, and his home. According to the 17-year-old victim's report to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr., Best had sex with her "dozens of times." more >>
David Silverman, president of American Atheists who graduated from Brandeis in 1988, announced that he is withdrawing his support from Brandeis University and its alumni association because the academic institution rescinded its plans to give an honorary degree to controversial social commentator Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
In an open letter on Facebook explaining his actions and reasoning, Silverman said that although he had fond memories of the activism and classes at Brandeis, he felt this history went contrary to the university's decision against Hirsi Ali.
"Today, that pride is gone as Brandeis has caved to religious intolerance masquerading as political correctness and uninvited a valuable voice in the discussion of religion in public life," wrote Silverman. more >>
NEW YORK — The Rev. Elaine Flake, who leads along with husband, the Rev. Floyd Flake, the 23,000-member Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, has expressed shock over abortion statistics recently revealed about black women in New York City.
"I saw that article about a month ago, someone forwarded it to me via email and I was devastated," Flake told The Christian Post. "I thought those statistics were just outrageous, and wondered if they were true. But if they are, it's something that I think we have to deal with as a church. As the African American community we have to educate our people a little bit better. I think we just have to be determined that we're going to deal with some of these issues."
As CP has reported, citing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: "Black women in New York City aborted more than half of their pregnancies in 2012, topping the number of abortions recorded by women of every other racial or ethnic group in the city." The report revealed that more than any other ethnic group in NYC, black women were the leading abortion patients and also had the highest pregnancy and miscarriage rates. more >>