The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York plans to merge more than 112 parishes into 55 new parishes this year, leading to the closure of as many as 33 churches.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made the announcement of the mergers on All Saints Sunday.
"This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge," stated Dolan. "There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them." more >>
Authors of the recently released Next: Pastoral Succession That Works say the book was written after discovering that Christian leaders and churches are often looking for resources to help them with the process of finding a successor for the lead pastor, and that most pastors do not have a plan in place.
"The culture has recently shifted. Pastors are both willing to think about their own succession and also are looking for resources to help them, their families, and their boards to wisely handle their preparation," Warren Bird, research director for the Leadership Network, told The Christian Post.
"We tried to balance the book with a brief biblical foundation that affirms ways good leaders plan ahead, with numerous real-life specific stories, and with solid research." more >>
Thirteen regional congregations, primarily in the western region of the U.S., met for the first time at their churches on Sunday after learning on Friday that by the end of the year, they would no longer be under the umbrella of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, once led by founder Mark Driscoll. For one local lead pastor at the Portland campus, who has been with the megachurch since 1999, the process and decision to dissolve made by its elders has been a difficult but exhilarating time.
"As we have made the decision to spread out in local churches I am sad to see Mars Hill go," Tim Smith, lead pastor at Mars Hill Portland and who sits on the board of elders, told The Christian Post on Monday. "God has used both Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in incredible ways, in thousands of people's lives and for sure in my own life in significant ways. And so it's hard to see that go, but it's also exciting and hopeful in that it results in planting more churches which has always been something that's important to us."
While Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean confided to CP that it's too early to know each church's plans, he said, "The majority of our churches are choosing to continue as autonomous independent churches, rather than completely close down, which is exciting for us as it's our desire to see as many of these churches continue as possible." more >>
The Seattle-based megachurch Mars Hill, once led by pastor Mark Driscoll, has begun the process of dissolving, and its 13 regional congregations have been asked to either go independent, merge with another church, or disband entirely, announced Dave Bruskas, the church's teaching pastor while in transition, at noon on Friday.
Although Driscoll was not mentioned in the "Local Mission, Local Churches" blogpost on the church's website released as a letter to Mars Hill by Bruskas, the normally outspoken pastor resigned on Oct. 14 from the multi-city megachurch he and his wife helped found 18 years ago after a series of calls were made for him to step down from ministry due to his admitted "divisive" leadership style.
In the letter, Bruskas writes that the elders recognize that the "reorganization plan is a significant and complex undertaking on many fronts; however, our goal is to have the process completed by January 1, 2015." more >>
An Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, centuries ago on the last day of October.
As the 500th anniversary of the historic occasion is still a few years away, various groups are already overseeing ways and providing resources to celebrate the milestone.
Tom Macy, senior pastor at Faith Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that he viewed Reformation Day as a better alternative to Halloween. more >>
Kerry and Chris Shook, New York Times bestselling authors and pastors at Woodlands Church in Houston, Texas, are challenging church leaders across the United States to schedule a national "Be the Message Sunday," during which they will shorten their services and sermons to pack meals for people in Ebola-stricken countries.
"As we watched the death toll continue to rise in West Africa, we asked ourselves, 'What can we do to make a difference in the Ebola-affected areas?'" said Kerry Shook. "Ebola not only affects one's health, but their entire life. Thousands affected by the virus are unable to work or provide food for themselves or their families. That is why Be the Message Sunday is so important. One of the most immediate ways individuals can help is by supplying much-needed food to those living in West Africa."
A number of churches from all over the U.S. have already signed up to join the Shooks and Woodlands Church, and pastors are encouraged to announce their participation in national Be the Message Sunday on Nov. 16, organizers said. Over the coming months, the Shooks anticipate thousands of churches accepting the challenge and cutting their services short on a weekend that works for their congregation. more >>