Pastors in the U.S. reacted quickly and joined the viral social media discussion on Monday about the Supreme Court decision that two Christian-owned businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, do not have to comply with parts of the "Obamacare" birth control mandate that violate the owners' sincere religious beliefs.
"The Supreme Court made the right decision today and to me it is a hopeful sign that our country may be moving in the right direction," evangelist Greg Laurie told The Christian Post and also tweeted shortly after the announcement. "I applaud Steve Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, for making this bold stand in bringing this case to the highest court in our land, which clearly, the Lord has honored."
Most Christian leaders applauded Hobby Lobby for its owners' undaunted legal and public stand. Billy Graham's son, Franklin, who is also an evangelist, posted twice on Twitter. First, he tweeted, "Congratulations to the Green family, owners of @HobbyLobby, and a big thank you for their strong moral stand. #hobbylobby," and later, "The Green family is an inspiration to Christians all around the world. We thank God for answered prayer! #hobbylobby." more >>
An Apostolic church in Brazil has atrracted controversy online after a photo was posted on their Facebook account in which the pastor is seen praying and kneeling on the floor over 110 lbs. of anointed salt.
Apostolic Church Full of God's Throne based in Sao Paulo held a service last week where the practice took place. The criticism was triggered by the image of the church's lead pastor Agenor Duke, as he is shown surrounded by other kneeling church members who then marched over the salt barefoot as they fervently prayed.
"This is a witchcraft practice, very different from what the Scripture reflects on the use of salt," commented Jonathan Martinez, a Facebook user on the church's account. "That method is only used for witchcraft and for calling upon negative things." more >>
Embattled Pastor Kong Hee of the Singapore megachurch City Harvest, who is facing court charges of misusing millions in church funds, ministered at the Oasis Church in Los Angeles, calling it one of the "greatest" and "most responsive" churches in the city.
"What a privilege to minster at OCC's newly renovated 100-year-old Cathedral that it has recently purchased," Hee wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday, sharing numerous photos of the church, which is led by pastors Philip and Holly Wagner.
"As the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1964) passes on, megachurches are also dying off." I see statements like that often in the public media, but all the evidence says they're just plain wrong, based on a major research project I did with Scott Thumma.
Instead, the larger the church the greater the percentage of young adults go there on average. We found and wrote in Not Who You Think They Are (free download) that the average age of megachurch respondents is 40 years old, similar to the U.S. Census average. Yet the average age of an attender in a typical "non-megachurch" congregation is nearly 53 years old. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of megachurch attenders are under 45 years old, while only a third are that young in other size churches (35%).
Likewise, many more single adults are part of megachurches. Nearly a third of megachurch attenders are single, unmarried people. In a typical church (all sizes) singles account for just 10% of the congregation. It is more likely in a typical congregation that the vast majority (80%) of attenders will be married or widowed. Yet in our megachurch attender sample these groups account for only 55% of the congregation. The vast majority of the megachurch singles fall into the 18-44 age range, a group that is essentially missing in many churches . more >>
Lucifer and young musicians share a similar problem when it comes to worshipping God through music, said Jentezen Franklin at The Vous Conference in Miami this past weekend.
"Lucifer had the same problem that a lot of people in this generation, especially musicians have. The problem is he wanted music to become the main thing in heaven," said Franklin, who leads megachurch Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, and Irvine, California. "Music, as great as it is, it's not the main thing if they (musicians) aren't pointing you to the one on the throne."
Franklin's message was the closing sermon for the three-day event on Saturday evening. The conference is hosted annually by Trinity Church pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., who is famously known for officiating Kanye West's and Kim Kardashian's wedding. more >>
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 >>