Fierce battles over whether classic hymns or contemporary tunes should be the linchpins of Christian worship may have subsided, but the arena is still messy, according to worship pastor and recording artist Lincoln Brewster. Some Christians are more excited about turning up for a concert than they are about getting to worship on time, he says from experience. Others have placed facilitating genuine God-connections on the back burner for the sake of being "cool."
Brewster, in his 40s, was such a maestro on the guitar as a youth that by the age of 19, he was considering a major recording contract. But he passed on the golden opportunity for what he believed was a more sure-fire deal — serving at his local church. He has since released seven albums in partnership with Integrity Music, and has produced for the label such worship anthems as "Everlasting God" and "God You Reign."
Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California, where Brewster has served as the worship arts pastor for the last 14 years, describes him on its website as "a multi-talented guitarist, singer and songwriter" who "speaks to the hearts of people who are hungry for non-traditional, passionate worship." His accolades surely attest to his skills, but Brewster, a married father, is reluctant to take on the "rock star" title. more >>
Mars Hill Church officials confirm that Pastor Mark Driscoll will have a special announcement this Sunday on the heels of the latest public accusation against him – improper leadership. However, no further details were released Friday.
"We take these allegations seriously and we are thankful that we have a process in place established in our Bylaws where allegations will be reviewed by our Board and our elders," Communications Director Justin Dean told The Christian Post. "As it is relatively new that these former elders submitted this, at this time we don't have any information on how long that process will take or what the outcome will be but we look forward to hearing from our pastor on Sunday."
Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor of a Chicago megachurch that oversees more than 130 ministries to the poor and disenfranchised, believes Christians in the U.S. have been playing it safe for far too long. He says many are unwilling to stick their necks out for the marginalized who are suffering in the cracks created by society's broken systems and abusive structures.
De Jesus, pastor New Live Covenant Church, the largest Assemblies of God congregation in the U.S., says it is fear of being ridiculed or ostracized that has paralyzed some leaders and kept them confined to their churches, limiting their engagement with a world in desperate need for people willing to help bridge those gaps.
"A gap is a place of weakness, vulnerability, and danger — a place of real threats," explains De Jesus in his new book, In the Gap. He explains in the book that while gaps can be as broad as illiteracy and human trafficking, they can be as personal as an unfaithful spouse or an abusive family member. more >>
Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church in Singapore has been accused of having "shortchanged the faith of the church members" by the church's former investment manager, regarding the millions spent on his wife's pop-star career, as the high-profile trial resumed on Monday.
Channel News Asia reported that investment manager Chew Eng Han, who is also facing trial, accused Kong of knowing all the time that the 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) taken from the church's funds was used on singer Sun Ho's pop star career. He also said that Ho's CD sales and her position in the music charts were boosted by the money, and that her supposed success in the secular music industry was not real.
Kong, along with Chew, CHC pastor Tan Ye Peng, member Lam Leng Hung, and accountants Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan ShaoYuen, could face 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of having misused the money. more >>
Australian megachurch Hillsong has influenced Christian worship far and wide, with its songs like "Mighty to Save" and "Awesome God" routinely belted out in churches around the world. The Pentecostal church's music ministry has proven so pivotal to modern Christian worship that its United brand is the subject of a new documentary and, along with Hillsong's other mainstays (UNITED and Young & Free), has racked up this year 10 GMA Dove Award nominations.
But what is behind 31-year-old Hillsong Church's singing success?
According to Autumn Hardman, whose role is Worship Oversight for Hillsong Church's Australian campuses, the secret of Hillsong's success is simple — keeping Jesus front and center. more >>
Mars Hill Church announced the cancellation of their annual Resurgence Conference late Thursday which was expected to feature a lineup of leading evangelical preachers, some who have reportedly cut ties with Pastor Mark Driscoll.
The announcement comes a week after Driscoll was dismissed from Acts 29, the church planting network he founded, because of questionable leadership, officials of the group of national church leaders said. In a statement on the Mars Hill website, organizers said the conference had to be called off because of additional challenges.
"The Resurgence Conference has always been born out of our love of Jesus and the church, and the desire to support efforts to grow leaders to grow churches. Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel this year's conference due to unforeseen changes to our speaker line-up and other challenges we believe would make it difficult to provide the quality of conference people have come to expect from Resurgence," reads the statement. more >>