A year of heartbreaking personal tragedies suffered by Christian leaders appeared all too often as the main news at The Christian Post and the Church & Ministry section in 2013. In early April, Southern California-based megachurch pastor Rick Warren, and his wife, Kay, lost their son, Matthew, to suicide. Warren grieved quite publicly by journaling through social media, and he and his wife helped bring the issue of mental health to the forefront of the Christian community.
Below are the Top 10 Most Read Church & Ministry stories of 2013.
10. Experiencing God Author Henry Blackaby Found Safe After Missing 29 Hours [Article Date: Sept. 20] more >>
Even though A&E announced the network's indefinite suspension of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, publisher Howard Books is refusing to turn its back on the Robertsons, and says they only know the senior duck commander as always being respectful to others, regardless of his political leanings, sexual orientation or religious views.
"While Phil Robertson has always been known for his opinions, we do not condone his recent remarks, nor do they reflect the views of Howard Books or Simon & Schuster," Jonathan Merkh, vice president and publisher of Howard Books told The Christian Post in a statement on Thursday.
"In our experience publishing the Duck Commander books he has always treated one and all with the utmost respect regardless of political leaning, sexual orientation or religious views, and we believe that the Phil Robertson we know is more properly represented by this statement from his GQ interview: 'I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other,'" Merkh added. more >>
Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, and renowned Drs. Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman are making their way around the TV talk show circuit this week. The trio is being interviewed about "The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life," the book they co-authored that was released Monday from Zondervan.
Warren and the two doctors are scheduled to appear on "Piers Morgan Live" Wednesday evening. Earlier on Wednesday, the Southern California megachurch pastor was interviewed on the "CBS This Morning" show.
The Daniel Plan details a healthy lifestyle program based on five essential principles of faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. The program was developed and originated at Saddleback Church in 2011 and within the first year more than 15,000 church members lost a collective of more than 250,000 pounds while experiencing decreases in health issues and stress and increases in spiritual growth and energy. more >>
Pastor Rick Warren and members of Saddleback Church have undergone life-changing weight-loss experiences after collectively realizing three years ago that many of them needed to shed their extra weight. About half of the megachurch loyally participated in the challenge, resulting in a collective weight loss of more than 250,000 pounds after the first year. Now, Warren aims to go beyond his own congregation and spread the word about living healthy with his new book, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.
Warren, who said he had an epiphany to lose weight while he lowered hundreds of people into the water during a baptism ceremony years ago, embarked on his journey to be fit along with his members who like him, were dealing with additional weight gain while others dealt with health complications. In his new book released this week, he explains how readers can become fit using the combination of faith, fitness, food, focus, and friends.
"There's a verse in the Bible that says Jesus went into every village preaching, teaching, and healing. I say that preaching is evangelism; teaching is education; and healing is health care," said Warren, during an interview with Parade Magazine. "Jesus didn't only care about getting people into heaven. He cared about spirit, mind, and body. To me, health care isn't simply helping the sick get well, but helping the well not get sick." more >>
Pastor Rick Warren urged church leaders to guide their members through their spiritual walk in order to produce strong-standing Christians, and for leaders to recognize the importance of discipleship, during a webcast that concluded "The Nines" conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Warren's message emphasized how God has a systematic order to everything while adding that in the same way that each human physically develops through the stages of life, a person grows similarly in a spiritual aspect as well.
"People always ask me 'what's working at Saddleback?' and I always say the same thing that has been working for 33 years now and that's an intentional growth process," said Warren. more >>
Pastor Rick Warren, whose best-selling books include The Purpose Driven Church, recently talked about what he called the "five renewals" necessary for a resurgence of faith to occur in the United States.
"If we are going to have a resurgence in our nation, a revival, a reformation, a renewal, a re-configuration of the church, when you study church history it always starts through certain stages and the first stage is personal renewal," Warren told The Christian Post backstage during the Resurgence 2013 conference in Seattle last week. "It has to happen in the heart. There has to be a revival in the heart."
Once there is personal renewal, then there is corporate renewal, a renewal within the church's congregation, he explained. more >>