A Christian publication geared towards churches and ministries has recently published its annual lists of the 100 largest and fastest growing churches in the United States.
Outreach Magazine, a California-based publication that includes ideas, features, and interviews with evangelicals, published the two lists earlier this month. With approximately 43,500 worship attendees, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church of Houston, Texas, was number one in the largest church category. Triumph Church of Detroit, Mich., was the fastest growing, having experienced an increase of about 3,800 worship attendees or 49 percent.
High ranking congregations on both lists included NewSpring Church of Anderson, S.C., which was number 2 on the fastest-growing list and number 4 on the largest. NewSpring Central Communications Director Suzanne Swift told The Christian Post that they were "honored" by the blessings God had given their congregation. more >>
Just in time for season four of A&E's highest-rated reality show that's about faith, family and ducks, Si Robertson, best known as Uncle Si, shares his anecdotal wisdom and philosophy on life in his new book, Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle.
In the second of two LifeWay videos promoting the book, Si speaks candidly about the resurrection, and the reactions he receives from nonbelievers who say that he's "a weirdo" for believing in Jesus Christ and life after death for those who believe in Him.
"I talk to people all the time who say, 'you believe in the resurrection of the dead?' Well sure I do. I see it all the time. And they say, 'you're a weirdo.' And I say, I may be, but let me tell you, I see resurrections every spring." more >>
HOUSTON – Instead of business as usual at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting held today and Wednesday, SBC President Fred Luter said he is hoping the meeting will spark a revival in the United States.
"We will have our first evening service in several years; but not just an ordinary service," Luter wrote in a letter to attendees prior to the conference. "Tuesday night will be an old-fashioned revival service! No business, other than doing business with God! No reports, no resolutions, no announcements, just dynamic music led by the gifted and talented Charles Billingsley, followed by the president's sermon."
Yes, the issues of SBC church's ties to the Boy Scouts of America, differences of opinion on Calvinism, and religious liberty are planned for discussion. However, the special session set for Tuesday evening at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, where the two-day meeting is held, is designed to set the tone for something more. more >>
Statistics compiled from churches belonging to Southern Baptist Convention for the association's Annual Church Profile for last year show declining numbers in several key areas, including membership, average attendance, baptisms and total monetary giving. Despite some positive news shown by an increase in the amount of membership churches, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page expressed his discouragement.
"When I first heard the report of our ACP, I said, 'God forgive us and God help us.' We are thankful for every person won to Christ and every person enrolled in Bible study and discipleship and involved in missions," said Page, as reported in a Baptist Press article by the communications director for LifeWay Christian Resources.
"We are thankful for the millions who are a part of worship in our Southern Baptist churches," he said. "However, my heart breaks when we realize the overall decline in our numbers." more >>
Pastor David Platt, founder of a Christian resource ministry named "Radical," announced that he will be doing a free live simulcast from the Middle East later this summer with a small group to help kick off churches and book study groups that will be following the curriculum from his book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
The broadcast from the Middle East coincides with a trip by Platt to the region already planned for unrelated ministry work, Radical's executive director, Jim Warren, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. The hosting missions team organizers in the region asked that no specifics to the trip be disclosed to the media.
"I'm excited to share with you that on Wednesday, August 14, I'm going to gather together with a small group of brothers and sisters in the Middle East to dialogue about what it means to follow Christ – to die to ourselves and to live in Him," Platt, the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., wrote in his blog published Tuesday. "This dialogue will be simulcast live (and free) from the Middle East as a kick-off for many churches and small groups who will be walking through Follow Me in the fall." more >>
A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than half (57 percent) of Americans become more interested in God when a natural disaster occurs.
About one-third (31 percent) said their interest in God doesn't increase after such catastrophes, the Nashville-based research organization found, and 12 percent were unsure. The study, which was conducted just days after a powerful EF5 tornado ravaged Moore, Okla., on May 20, also revealed that Americans were divided about how they feel toward God "when suffering occurs that appears unfair."
One-third (33 percent) of the 1,040 American adults surveyed said such suffering causes them to put more trust in God. One-quarter (25 percent) said it makes them confused about God and 16 percent said they don't think about God at all during such times. Suffering that appears unfair causes another 11 percent to wonder if God cares, seven percent doubt God's existence, five percent become angry toward God and three percent resent Him. more >>