Lifeway Research Survey suggests U.S. church spending may be out of sync with member donations.
A September survey of 1,000 pastors, ministers, and priests revealed that two-thirds of U.S. Protestant churches are incurring expenditures meeting or exceeding their 2014 budgets. Of that number, 46 percent of church bodies reported that their spending matched their budgets while 22 percent stated that their receipts exceeded their budgets.
Only 29 percent of churches kept their spending below budget. more >>
The family of Don Smith, the pastor of Prospect Park Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, who was tragically found murdered Saturday, is now speaking out about his death.
Raymond Jones, identified as a family member of Smith on WREG News3, expressed his frustration over wondering why someone would do this to the pastor.
"All we know is right now he was murdered and we can't find the person who did it," Jones said. "We're still trying to put the pieces together of what actually happened that caused his death." more >>
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York plans to merge more than 112 parishes into 55 new parishes this year, leading to the closure of as many as 33 churches.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made the announcement of the mergers on All Saints Sunday.
"This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge," stated Dolan. "There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them." more >>
Authors of the recently released Next: Pastoral Succession That Works say the book was written after discovering that Christian leaders and churches are often looking for resources to help them with the process of finding a successor for the lead pastor, and that most pastors do not have a plan in place.
"The culture has recently shifted. Pastors are both willing to think about their own succession and also are looking for resources to help them, their families, and their boards to wisely handle their preparation," Warren Bird, research director for the Leadership Network, told The Christian Post.
"We tried to balance the book with a brief biblical foundation that affirms ways good leaders plan ahead, with numerous real-life specific stories, and with solid research." more >>
Thirteen regional congregations, primarily in the western region of the U.S., met for the first time at their churches on Sunday after learning on Friday that by the end of the year, they would no longer be under the umbrella of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, once led by founder Mark Driscoll. For one local lead pastor at the Portland campus, who has been with the megachurch since 1999, the process and decision to dissolve made by its elders has been a difficult but exhilarating time.
"As we have made the decision to spread out in local churches I am sad to see Mars Hill go," Tim Smith, lead pastor at Mars Hill Portland and who sits on the board of elders, told The Christian Post on Monday. "God has used both Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in incredible ways, in thousands of people's lives and for sure in my own life in significant ways. And so it's hard to see that go, but it's also exciting and hopeful in that it results in planting more churches which has always been something that's important to us."
While Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean confided to CP that it's too early to know each church's plans, he said, "The majority of our churches are choosing to continue as autonomous independent churches, rather than completely close down, which is exciting for us as it's our desire to see as many of these churches continue as possible." more >>
As sons and daughters of God, we are called to honor and respect authority and to be people of obedience rather than people of rebellion. But that means when the earthly authorities tell us to disobey God, we respectfully say, "We must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29).
This was a major theme at the "I Stand Sunday" rally in Houston, where thousands gathered together to pledge their obedience to God and His Word, regardless of cost or consequences.
In doing so, they were standing firmly on biblical principles, following in the footsteps of the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1, Daniel and his compatriots in Daniel 3 and 6, the wise men of Matthew 2, and the apostles in Acts 4 and 5. more >>