Pastor Derwin L. Gray of Transformation Church in Indian Land, S.C., is one of a growing number of Christian leaders in America who want to see churches do a better job of teaching discipleship in order to develop multi-ethnic congregations. The former NFL linebacker said that a key to helping Christians mature within churches that are struggling is to model after the ethnically diverse churches of the first century.
"As a pastor of an intentional, Gospel-centered, multi-ethnic church, the biggest problem is getting our people to believe that the Gospel of Grace is really as wonderfull as it is," Gray told The Christian Post via email. "Because we are ethnically, socially, economically, and generationally diverse, we are constantly teaching our people that at the heart of the Gospel, is servanthood."
He believes Christians should ask, "How can we embrace one another and learn from one another just like ethnically diverse churches of the 1st Century?" Adding, "Unity in the midst of diversity is simply breath-taking and a powerful witness to the unbelieving world." more >>
Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, appeared at the Lake Forest, Calif., megachurch they founded more than 30 years ago for the first time since the death of their youngest son, Matthew Warren, nearly two months ago and thanked the Saddleback Church community for their love and prayers.
Appearing on stage arm in arm this past Saturday, May 25, the Warrens spoke for about 20 minutes, although a visibly emotional Kay Warren left the Saddleback stage in less than two minutes, a local news outlet reported.
"Honestly, it's been very hard coming back because I knew we would be overwhelmed. We said at Matthew's memorial service that we were devastated by the death of our son, but we're not destroyed by it," said Kay Warren, according to Lake Forest Patch editor Martin Henderson. "As much as I dreaded coming, because this is hard ... it's great to be here with the people who love us, and it is also great to stand and affirm, again, our faith." more >>
For the first time publicly, evangelist Greg Laurie addressed the issue of gay activists calling for him to not pray as the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer at events in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The Southern California pastor's discussion on the topic came during a recent mid-week Bible study message on the prophet Elijah that was videotaped and shown at his Harvest churches in Riverside and Orange counties during worship services Sunday.
"When I was back in Washington, D.C., for the National Day of Prayer I didn't go back there to get into a fight with anybody," Laurie told his congregation. "I went back there to pray because I was asked to pray there at the meetings at the Cannon House office building and the Pentagon. It wasn't my choice to get into these engagements with these activists, homosexual groups that were calling me homophobic and all that."
Laurie explained that as a Christian, his beliefs are not any different from what is found in the Bible, however, much of society finds the biblical views offensive. more >>
The Rev. Harry Reeder III, senior pastor of the 4,100-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala., said Thursday's decision by the Boy Scouts of America to lift the ban on gay members may bump the popularity of alternative youth organizations.
"When a church holds to a biblical social ethic of sex only between a man and a woman in monogamous marriage, it cannot support an organization that opposes that," Reeder said, according to al.com. "That would introduce sexual anarchy into the teaching of the church. There will be a significant response from evangelical churches."
Sixty-one percent of the 1,400 BSA delegates voted on Thursday to change the organization's 103-year-old policy, which prevented gay youths from joining. The ban on gay adults who want to serve as scout leaders, meanwhile, will remain in place. Many conservative groups have argued that this was a bad decision on BSA's account, with Alliance Defending Freedom calling it "a rejection of values." more >>
Popular theologian and Desiring God founder John Piper says it's a good practice for Christians to make sure their pastors and church leaders agree with the teachings of the Bible. Pastors are not infallible, and should not be taken as the ultimate authority, he cautioned.
"The Bible is the ultimate authority and infallible, not the pastor and not the elders. And it doesn't mean that you believe everything he says without examining it," said Piper in a recent discussion about whether or not online sermons undermined local churches.
He explained that while the Bible advises Christians to submit to the authority of their spiritual leaders and encourages respect for the office of the pastor, it doesn't mean Christians are supposed to accept everything church leaders tell them as the infallible word. On the contrary, he noted, the Bible represents Christians who track the leadership of their pastors with biblical study as desirous. more >>
The producers of "T.D. Jakes Presents: Mind, Body & Soul" has put out casting calls for the brand new talk show coming from The Potter's House megachurch pastor and the BET network.
The series of announcements, shared by a casting agency on its Facebook page, appear to target men and women with relationship issues, those struggling with their weight, and community activists.
The show page on BET.com for "T.D. Jakes Presents: Mind, Body & Soul" describes The Potter's House pastor as a spiritual leader, educator and humanitarian and explains that the new talk show will feature "a wide range of topics including health and wellness, finance and relationships." more >>