A Christian publication geared towards churches and ministries has recently published its annual lists of the 100 largest and fastest growing churches in the United States.
Outreach Magazine, a California-based publication that includes ideas, features, and interviews with evangelicals, published the two lists earlier this month. With approximately 43,500 worship attendees, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church of Houston, Texas, was number one in the largest church category. Triumph Church of Detroit, Mich., was the fastest growing, having experienced an increase of about 3,800 worship attendees or 49 percent.
High ranking congregations on both lists included NewSpring Church of Anderson, S.C., which was number 2 on the fastest-growing list and number 4 on the largest. NewSpring Central Communications Director Suzanne Swift told The Christian Post that they were "honored" by the blessings God had given their congregation. more >>
Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), an organization defending the rights of former homosexuals, will honor litigator Mat Staver and former "Satanic Drag Queen" Trace McNutt at its First Ex-Gay Awareness dinner next week. Another former homosexual, the Christian singer/songwriter Dennis Jernigan, will perform his music, and Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. will give the keynote address.
Christopher Doyle, VoV co-founder and president, told The Christian Post on Monday that "Bishop Jackson has always been a very big supporter of marriage between a man and a woman and takes a supportive approach for individuals who want to come out of homosexuality."
Doyle praised Jackson, the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., who serves as chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, for his stance "in support of people making the decision to not engage in homosexual behavior and lifestyle, but to pursue their own self-determination." He also noted that Jackson is leading a group of Maryland churches to welcome ex-gays. more >>
Carl Lentz, presented in the mainstream press of late as an evangelical anomaly, was featured in Detail magazine's October 2013 issue in a story titled "Jesus Christ's Superstar" with a question posed asking whom the Hillsong NYC pastor was seeking to glorify.
Lentz, 34, founded and co-pastors HIllsong NYC with Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founders Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. Lentz and Houston have managed in three years to turn the vibrant congregation "into a Pentecostal powerhouse and a destination for the in crowd," according to Details.
Previously noted by The Associated Press for his fashion sense, ministry style and a je ne sais quoi that happens to attract Millennials, superstars, and everyday New Yorkers, Lentz appears to have the potential to become this generation's Billy Graham. But instead of packing stadiums, Lentz has been packing NYC's Irving Plaza concert venue several times over with thousands of people for Sunday services. With lines snaked around the block long before the start of every service, many worshippers are willing to stand, or sit on the floor, if they miss out on seats once inside. more >>
Outspoken pastor Mark Driscoll says Christians need to be of stronger resolve because of "darker" days, and argues that "the church is dying," in a promotional letter for an upcoming leadership conference in Seattle.
"Four years ago, Newsweek magazine proclaimed 'The Decline and Fall of Christian America,'" Driscoll writes in the letter addressed to "Christian" on the 2013 Resurgence Conference website. "Their words, written on the cover in the shape of a cross, ring disturbingly true today."
Driscoll, who is the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church based in Seattle, Wash., is also a ministry leader among several pastors for the Resurgence movement, a resource for Christian leaders in discipleship and leadership training. more >>
A new church in Russia believes that a sunken meteorite contains sacred scriptures and is responsible for the worsening situation in Syria. The Chelyabinsk meteorite has several followers who believe the meteorite contains sacred scriptures that are meant to be handled with care.
"The meteorite that hit Russia's Ural Mountains in mid-February contained 'scriptures' that can usher in a new age on Earth," followers of the new religion told local media. "Mishandling the meteorite could cause harm throughout the world and may already be fueling the bloody civil strife in Syria," Andrei Breivichko told 10BL.RU news.
The meteorite sunk into a nearby lake and members of the Church of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite believe that removing it from the water could cause irreparable harm. "Psychic priests" of the cult are apparently the only ones equipped to handle the meteorite; if the meteorite is to be removed, the priests believe they should be allowed to handle it, and then place it in a temple. more >>
Atheist intellectual and author Richard Dawkins has stated in a recent interview that he considers himself a "Cultural Anglican" and has a "certain love" for some church traditions.
The bestselling author of the book The God Delusion recently told the Spectator that he sees himself as a "Cultural Anglican," saying he enjoys certain elements of the tradition in question.