A new documentary takes a critical look at the evolution of the historical Black Church in America and puts megachurch pastors under a harsh spotlight, especially those who are treated like superstars and amass wealth from preaching a Gospel they might not necessarily adhere to.
The institution of the church is at the heart and soul of black America, for whom the church has been, among many things, an escape, a means of upward mobility and a celebratory community where its leaders are respected and members' humanity affirmed.
"Black churches are different for a variety of reasons. One, is the need to address the social, political, the cultural and economic ramifications of anti-black racism in the United States," explains Dr. Anthony Pinn, professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, in Black Church Inc. more >>
IRVINE, Calif. – Recent social and political events in the U.S. and abroad should be alarming enough for Americans to awaken from their spiritual slumber, preached evangelist Greg Laurie during a midweek church service he called "Hope for America."
"Here on the home front, the family is disintegrating. It's under attack. People want to redefine it. They want to blow it apart," Laurie told his congregants at Harvest Orange County and an online audience Thursday evening. "It's almost like culture has declared war on the family and if you dare to stand up and make the controversial statement that a family is made up of a man and a woman you are accused of being bigoted and that's called hate speech."
He added, "Most of the social ills can be related directly to the breakdown of the family. You name the problem and it's almost always traced back to the breakdown of the family." more >>
Research has shown over the last few years an increase in the number of atheists as well as an increase in the number of religiously-unaffiliated Americans, a sign to some that Christianity is on the decline. However, others argue that the number of convictional Christians, compared to the number of cultural Christians, remains stable. But how long will that stability last? And how can Christians remain relevant and authentic witnesses in an ever-increasing post-Christian America?
Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative, recently took on this issue in an interview with The Christian Post.
His suggestions? more >>
An alleged Ponzi schemer who was once endorsed by Bishop Eddie Long has been arrested by federal authorities in Missouri.
Ephren Taylor, formerly a financial advisor to megachurch congregations like Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, surrendered to authorities in Kansas City on Tuesday.
Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by "bringing (their) tithes and offerings to the House."
"Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House," reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. "If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn't hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe."
The campaign, tied to a sermon series titled, "The Tipping Point," references Malachi 3:10 in the New Living Translation: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!'" more >>
The number of very large churches continues to increase, as our graphic dramatically illustrates. And within that group, the biggest churches continue to get bigger. In the past I've written about everything from sanctuary sizes (very few new ones over 5,000) to the first megachurch (start with Pentecost when "about 3,000" were converted, per Acts 2:41) to global megachurches (Korea and Nigeria are currently leading).
But what about the people who attend really big churches? Fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I surveyed some 25,000 of them, with some fascinating discoveries:Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less. Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven't been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch. New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches). What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church's reputation, in that order. These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach, and adult-oriented programs. Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met. Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer. In many ways, large churches today are making good progress in reaching people and moving them from spectators to active participants to growing disciples of Jesus Christ.
For more interesting facts about people who attend megachurches, download the free report Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America's Megachurches. more >>