As aid workers frantically rescue survivors of Haiti’s massive quake, several hundred miles north in the United States many churches and ministries are anxiously awaiting word about missing workers and missionaries.
In Florida, the state Baptist convention is praying for word that 18 of their workers in Haiti are safe, according to Baptist Press, the news wire service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Florida Baptist Convention says it has not heard from 18 of its 21 Haitian staff after the 7.0-magnitude quake hit Haiti Tuesday and decimated the capital Port-au-Prince. The other three Haitian employees were found unharmed. more >>
The liberal tide in The United Methodist Church has been receding and the evangelical and orthodox influence is steadily increasing, observes one retired pastor.
If that continues, Bill Bouknight sees God renewing United Methodism toward faithfulness to Scripture.
"At this time, the theological and spiritual pendulum is swinging in the evangelical and orthodox direction," Bouknight, who currently serves on the Executive of the United Methodist Congress on Evangelism, wrote in Good News Magazine. more >>
Mainline Protestant churches seem to have weathered the past decade better than many people have assumed, but the future is raising serious challenges to continued stability, said a Christian pollster.
George Barna analyzed data for The Barna Group's latest report examining mainline denominations. Weekend attendance at mainline churches has remained relatively stable, ranging from 89 to 100, over the past decade but the report suggests that they may be "on the precipice of a period of decline."
Mainline bodies – which the research group identifies as American Baptist Churches in the USA; The Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church – once dominated the Protestant landscape of America but today make up just one-fifth of all Protestant congregations today, the report notes. more >>
Nearly 200 high school seniors and young adults signed commitment cards indicating they are ready to serve as ordained elders and deacons in the United Methodist Church.
They answered the call to ministry at a gathering over the weekend as church leaders told them their leadership was needed urgently.
"God is calling us to bring some freshness, some newness, to be innovative. God is calling you to lead us to that," the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, said at Exploration 2009, as reported by the United Methodist News Service. "It doesn’t matter how old you are. And when you hear God’s voice speaking to you, you don’t have to be afraid because God’s not going to leave you alone." more >>
The United Methodist Church's highest court recently reversed a resolution, passed by a regional group, that declares the denomination is divided on the issue of homosexuality.
The Judicial Council said the legislation negates the body's "clearly stated position" that homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching.
Delegates of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, a regional UMC body, adopted the resolution earlier this year. It states, in part, that "all are God's children of sacred worth, yet we have been, and remain divided regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality." more >>
United Methodists are reevaluating the so-called "guaranteed appointment" of clergy system, calling into question the effectiveness of the long-established practice amid membership decline.
For decades ordained elders have been assigned to local churches regardless of their effectiveness. While pastors could be removed from their leadership position for immorality, violation of church law or criminal activity, ineffectiveness has not been dealt with in the same manner.
The guarantee that ordained leaders have stems from The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline, which states, "All elders in full connection who are in good standing in an annual conference shall be continued under appointment by the bishop." more >>