SEATTLE, Wash. – On the eve of renowned evangelist Billy Graham's 95th birthday and his ambitious outreach event, "My Hope America," a 30-minute taped Gospel message by Graham to be broadcast nationally Thursday, several Christian leaders, including Pastors Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, and James MacDonald, and "The Bible" TV series producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, gave their thoughts on the legendary preacher to The Christian Post.
"Every time I read an article or hear a report when somebody says, 'So-and-so is the next Billy Graham,' I just chuckle. There is no next Billy Graham," Driscoll, who is the lead pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, told CP Tuesday during a break while hosting the Resurgence conference for Christian leaders.
When Graham was a younger man he took a lot of criticism about what he was trying to do evangelistically, said Driscoll, who is no stranger to controversy. However, Graham persevered and became a preacher with lasting, perhaps unparalleled influence. more >>
SEATTLE – Pastor Mark Driscoll set the tone early during a meeting of Christian leaders strategizing for a faith-driven resurgence on the first day of a two-day conference at Mars Hill Downtown Church by walking out on the stage and screaming, "I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed."
The host of the annual Resurgence conference then shouted, "I am not ashamed of what?" To which the more than 800 people in attendance replied back, "Of the Gospel." Driscoll continued, "Of the Gospel of the Good News of the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is a day for courage, not for cowards."
Driscoll was followed by other megachurch pastors later on Tuesday, there to discuss how leaders can continue to pastor and evangelize in a culture that appears to be embracing biblical values less and less. The conference theme, Call to Resurgence, is based on Driscoll's newly released book of the same name. more >>
The foundations for Christena Cleveland's new book, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart, began when she was eight-years-old. As a child, growing up in her father's "a quarter black, Hispanic, Asian and white" church plant in the culturally heterogeneous San Francisco Bay Area, this was Cleveland's reality.
"It was normal for you to interact with people who were different. It was normal for cultural conflicts to come up and for you to work through them, rather than run away from them. It was normal for me to sing worship songs outside of cultural comfort zone," Cleveland told The Christian Post. "Church was an adventure."
But as Cleveland, who attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for undergrad and subsequently entered a doctorate program at University of California, Santa Barbara, left her childhood behind and began to move around the country, she quickly saw that many American churches had nowhere near the diversity she had taken for granted as a child. more >>
Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in North Carolina remains in the media this week as the local television news station that previously disclosed the Christian minister's 16,000-square-foot home has obtained an internal report from his multi-campus ministry that shows the Charlotte megachurch has plans for further expansion.
WCNC-TV in Charlotte did not reveal how it obtained a copy of one of Elevation Church's internal reports, which reads on one page: "Prepared for the private and confidential use of Pastor Steven Furtick...Chunks Corbett [and] selected members of the staff." The information in the report includes data collected between Jan. 1, 2013 and Sept. 1, 2013. The report appears unrelated to the 2012 annual report Elevation Church made available (.pdf) on its website last week,
Below is some of the information revealed by WCNC-TV from Elevation Church's internal report: more >>
Author and former pastor Rob Bell's interview with Oprah Winfrey on her "Super Soul Sunday" program this past weekend featured aspects of the Michigan native's rise to ministry and his founding of a megachurch, to suddenly finding himself the subject of controversy and criticism over his 2011 book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, and the adversity and pressure that eventually led him to depart from the faith community he had been leading for years.
"Love Wins held on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 24 weeks and helped usher in what some might call a new brand of Christianity...which didn't sit well with everybody, of course," states Winfrey in the narrated introduction to the interview. "Prominent conservative Christians called him a 'false prophet' and even...'a heretic.'
"The onslaught took its toll and Rob was shaken. He had never intended to become a polarizing figure. He says he just wanted to shine a light on the questions that many Christians struggled with in private." more >>
A half-dozen megachurch pastors, arguably at the top of the most recognizable names list within and outside the Christian community, are scheduled to discuss how believers can live out their faith in a culture that appears to be embracing biblical values less and less. Evangelical leaders including Rick Warren, Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, James MacDonald, and Crawford Loritts will be joining host Mark Driscoll at the Resurgence Conference 2013 at Mars Hill Downtown Church in Seattle, Wash., Tuesday and Wednesday.
Driscoll recently told The Christian Post that he will open the conference by speaking about the changes in culture that he outlines in his book, A Call To Resurgence, as well as the obstacles and opportunities that are ahead of the church for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"I am asking the Holy Spirit to use the instructional and relational aspects of the conference to help leaders from various tribes waste less time fighting and more time learning so we can all invest our energy in evangelizing," Driscoll said. "I will close out the conference with the findings from a massive research project we have undertaken about the most common objections to Christian faith by the unchurched and de-churched ages 18-44 that is the basis for my next book due out next fall that I am currently writing as the follow up to A Call To Resurgence. The tentative working title is My Problem With Christianity. This is the biggest research and writing project I've ever been a part of and the findings are surprising and enlightening while also discouraging." more >>