The Sunday Assembly, the atheist "megachurch" started in the U.K., sold out its inaugural event in Los Angeles with more than 400 attendees, and launched a "40 Dates, 40 Nights" tour around the U.S. and Australia seeking to raise donations for its cause.
"There was so much about it that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's something I don't believe in," British comedian Sanderson Jones, one of the founders of the atheist church, said about attending Christian church, according to The Associated Press. "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people – and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?"
The atheist Sunday Assembly, with its roots in London, has spread to major cities like San Diego, Nashville and New York, proving popular among the 20 percent or so Americans who according to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life poll do not identify with a religious affiliation. more >>
1. Judah Smith
- Judah Smith, author of the best-selling Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human, is the lead pastor of The City Church in Seattle, the fourth largest-growing church in the nation.
Saddleback Church, which has 10 campuses across Southern California, is undertaking for the very first time in its 33-year history the launch of campuses outside of the United States in an effort to "finish the Great Commission," according to founding Pastor Rick Warren. Warren and his megachurch will see fruits of their years-long work with the "12 Cities PEACE Plan" come to bear this month with the launch of three global campuses, one each in Hong Kong, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
Saddleback Hong Kong is the first global congregation prepared for launch, and will officially open its doors this Sunday, Oct. 6. The following two Sundays will see Saddleback Berlin (Oct. 13) and Buenos Aires (Oct 20) follow suit. Eventually, over the next few years, these Saddleback church plants will be followed by sister congregations in Accra, Amman, Bangalore, Johannesburg, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, and Tokyo.
"The ultimate goal is to finish the Great Commission by planting a body of Jesus (church), a Bible (portion of God's word) and a believer in the last unengaged people groups on Earth," Warren explained in a press release shared with The Christian Post. "Jesus said one day in heaven there will be people from every tribe and nation worshipping around God's throne. I intend to use all my influence in rallying the Global Church to do what Jesus commanded us 2000 years ago!" more >>
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 >>
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 >>
HOUSTON, Texas — Joel Osteen, senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest and one of the most diverse churches in the U.S., is releasing his newest book, Break Out! 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life, next week. In his book, Osteen reveals biblical and personal examples of God's miraculous work, and shares how Christians can positively impact their lives by praying boldly, changing their attitudes, and trusting in God's plan and His timetable.
Osteen spoke to The Christian Post on Sunday about why people should pray for greatness, opposed to praying to just get by. He also explained why believers need to forgive themselves of past sins, and why Christians must stay faithful in God's plan, especially during times of great struggle, so they can live a purposeful life that reveals God's grace and power.
The following is an edited transcript from the interview: more >>