— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) November 10, 2017
Category : Evangelism and Church Growth
Within 20 years, Hope was the largest church in Memphis, regularly drawing 7,000 worshipers each weekend. But in a city that was nearly 60 percent black, less than 1 percent of them were African American.
At first, Hope reflected its neighborhood. The city to Hope’s south—Germantown—was 93 percent white in 2000, and 90 percent white in 2010. But its county—Shelby—fell from 47 percent white in 2000 to 41 percent white in 2010. And Cordova, the small suburb where Hope sits, dropped from nearly all white in 1988 to 68 percent white in 2010.
So Strickland and Morris set out to do what had never successfully been done before—to convert a white megachurch into a multiracial congregation.
They’re doing it.
Today, one out of five people who attends Hope is black. Of the 106 staff, 18 are nonwhite—including the senior pastor. The congregation sings hymns, contemporary Christian, and black gospel. Members work in predominantly black, underresourced neighborhoods in north Memphis together through Hope’s community development corporation. They attend biannual three-day urban plunges and regularly spend eight weeks eating dinner with someone of another ethnicity.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) November 3, 2017
More than a million people are being reached every month with the Christian message on social media, a year after the Church of England adopted a new digital approach, new figures show.
Videos, podcasts, blogs and images including prayers are reaching an online audience of 1.2 million a month through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, according to the statistics from the Church of England digital project.
During Christmas 1.5 million were reached through the Church’s award-winning #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films. A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project.
The report has been released as new Mission Statistics showed average Sunday attendance over October 2016 at Church of England services stood at 780,000 people, a lower figure than in 2015, in line with a long-term trend.
One significant cause of the decline in Episcopal attendance in recent years is, of course, the schism that began after the General Convention of 2003 consented to the election of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a relationship, as Bishop of New Hampshire.
In the following decade, five diocesan conventions voted to leave the Episcopal Church: Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, South Carolina, and San Joaquin. Some congregations in each diocese remained with the Episcopal Church, effectively splitting each diocese. The small remnant of the Diocese of Quincy was absorbed by the Diocese of Chicago; ASA in the other four dioceses all declined 70 to 80 percent in the past decade, by far the worst declines in the church. (These statistics, drawn from the parochial reports filed by every Episcopal church, are available from the Research and Statistics section of episcopalchurch.org.)
The departures had a dramatic effect in those dioceses, and individual parishes elsewhere in the country have also left the Episcopal Church. Most of the departing dioceses and congregations have joined the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), founded in 2009. But nationally, ACNA is dwarfed by the Episcopal Church. Based on reports from the two churches, ACNA had 111,853 members, while the Episcopal Church was 16 times larger, with 1,779,335 baptized members.
Still, ACNA membership is growing, while Episcopal numbers are declining. With declining attendance comes declining revenues. The church does not exist for the purpose of making money, of course — but eventually money has a kind of veto power. If a church fails to pay the electric bill for enough months in a row, the lights will be turned off.
Real estate poses a particular problem for cash-strapped congregations and dioceses.
— Christian History (@chrstianhistory) September 30, 2017
In 1739, Whitefield set out for a preaching tour of the American colonies. Whitefield selected Philadelphia—the most cosmopolitan city in the New World—as his first American stop. But even the largest churches could not hold the 8,000 who came to see him, so he took them outdoors. Every stop along Whitefield’s trip was marked by record audiences, often exceeding the population of the towns in which he preached. Whitefield was often surprised at how crowds “so scattered abroad, can be gathered at so short a warning.”
The crowds were also aggressive in spirit. As one account tells it, crowds “elbowed, shoved, and trampled over themselves to hear of ‘divine things’ from the famed Whitefield.”
Once Whitefield started speaking, however, the frenzied mobs were spellbound. “Even in London,” Whitefield remarked, “I never observed so profound a silence.”
From the ECF vital Practices vestry Papers check out Read it all.
The first time I saw Nabeel Qureshi, he sat at a table across from me, his one leg constantly moving almost subconsciously, warming up for a run. It was a habit of his restless disposition.
That was Nabeel in true expression; he hated sitting still. He was a man with a mission, ready to run. Sadly, for us, he finished his race all too soon and our hearts are broken at the loss of one who ran with spectacular passion to do what filled his soul.
He was a thorough-going evangelical. He held dear the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and carried the message of salvation. Jesus’ grace for a transformed heart was his message.
For years as a young man, he labored and struggled to gain “righteousness before God” only to find out that righteousness was already met in the cross through Jesus Christ. That was his message in his best-selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
Qureshi was not just an evangelical; he was passionately evangelistic….
Read it all.
— Ravi Zacharias (@RaviZacharias) September 20, 2017
(CT) Go Where The Humans Are: What One Movement’s Small Town Task Force Has Learned about Church Planting So Far
“Is Vineyard committed to planting churches in small town America?” Five years later, I still can’t believe I asked the question. It was directed to Michael Gatlin, national coordinator of Multiply Vineyard, Vineyard’s church planting arm. The occasion was the Q&A session at our first Small Town USA conference. We had only met once before this conference. I braced for his answer and he answered in classic Gatlin style: “I thought we were supposed to go where the humans are. If there are humans in small towns, then they need churches. And if there are humans in metro areas, then we need to plant there.”
Go where the humans are. That answer has propelled us these past five years. So what have we learned?
Planters are hungry for someone to talk about small town planting.
Over the past five years, the Small Town USA team has written scores of blog articles, produced 4-6 webinars annually, and led seminars in places as diverse as Mechanic Falls, Maine; Tomahawk, Wisconsin; and San Luis Obispo, California. We’ve hosted two national conferences. While attendance has been modest (75-100), we’ve been amazed that people flew from places like Colorado and drove from places like Minnesota and Missouri just to attend a conference in Ohio dedicated to planting in small towns. We’ve had at least 11 states represented at these events.
The conversation around small town planting took off enough in our movement that one concerned leader asked if Vineyard still cared about planting in large cities. Of course we do! Remember we “go where the humans are.” But so much of the church multiplication discussion has been from the large church and large city perspective (we’re talking to you, Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, and San Diego) that our small town planters have been left out.
A former star of the hit television show Gladiators-turned evangelist is joining a major evangelism event being led by the Archbishop of York in Merseyside.
Warren Furman, known as ‘Ace’ on the 1990s programme Gladiator, is sharing with primary and secondary school pupils his journey to faith as part of the Believe in Birkenhead initiative.
Speaking with Premier, Bishop of Birkenhead Rt Rev Keith Sinclair said his prayer for the four-day campaign was that “people who might have thought God wouldn’t give them a second thought realise God’s love for them and God’s work in their lives, and they start to begin a journey to come back and engage with that reality.”
Mr Furman’s being joined during the question and answer session on Thursday by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and several local Anglican bishops.
Almighty God, Whose Son Jesus Christ came to cast fire upon the earth: grant that by the prayers of Thy faithful people a fire of burning zeal may be kindled and pass from heart to heart, that the light of Thy Church may shine forth bright and clear to all mankind; through the same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)
(SA) Sydney Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities unveils a 3-year fundraising plan for the construction of ministry facilities in growing areas
The Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities (NCNC) has held a series of regional dinners, unveiling a three-year fundraising plan for the construction of ministry facilities in growing areas.
In partnership with the Mission Property Committee, which buys land, NCNC’s role is to raise funds to provide emerging congregations across the Diocese with dual-purpose facilities for community and church use.
“We are on a mission to preserve the future of Christianity in these growth areas and these facilities will enable emerging congregations to connect with the communities around them and grow together,” said the executive director of NCNC, the Rev Glenn Gardner.
There was an appeal at the dinners for parish councils to consider including NCNC in their mission allocations budget, and an appeal for ambassadors for this task. “Ours is the only Protestant denomination addressing this vital challenge,” Mr Gardner said.
As an apologist, I appreciate the value of the imagination in no small part because of the role it played in helping me come to Christian faith. I was once an atheist, and a hostile one, who agreed with the New Atheists that Christianity was not just false but irrational and harmful.
Although I was not interested in apologetic arguments at the time, I had, without knowing it, been experiencing the work of grace through my imagination. As a child, I fell in love with the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. At the time, of course, I didn’t know that I was encountering God’s grace through those books. Years later, as an atheist and graduate student, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on fantasy novels and had J. R. R. Tolkien’s great essay “On Fairy-stories”—with its powerful statement of the evangelium, the Good News—at the heart of it. When I became a college professor, I was deeply moved and intrigued by the writings of Christian poets. In time I realized that the faith of these writers was more complex and more interesting than I had thought, and I decided to learn more.
Like C. S. Lewis, I had a two-step conversion. I came to belief in God but then struggled with the idea of the Incarnation. All the evidence pointed toward the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as historical facts, but I found that I was unable to accept the idea of Jesus as God incarnate. At that point, I turned very deliberately to the Chronicles of Narnia: I went looking for Aslan, the lion who is the great Christ-figure of the Chronicles. Through my experience of those stories, my imagination was able to connect with what my reason already knew, and I was able to grasp as a whole person that God could become incarnate. That imaginative experience removed the last stumbling block for my acceptance of Christ.
[Jeremy] Bonner’s analysis shows how TEC has dramatically declined in recent years. There is a sense that the wider Anglican Communion has not awakened to how far and fast that decline has happened. In significant parts of the United States, TEC has ceased or will soon cease to have a meaningful presence. That said, those who write TEC off are overstating their case. Despite severe decline, it remains a substantial presence in parts of the nation, especially in some major cities.
Estimating the size of TEC’s decline and understanding its causes is complex. Suggesting remedies is beyond the scope of this short article. But a few things can be said.
First, churches need to face demographic realities. If, for example, a city’s or town’s ethnic make-up shifts, wise dioceses and congregations will adapt, not pretend everything is the same.
Second, denominations have to learn to value the local church theologically. If the local church is seen only as an adjunct to some higher good, often called the kingdom, it is not surprising that little effort is made to multiply such congregations or seek their growth. Seeing kingdom as different from, and better than, church is against the grain of the New Testament, in which local churches are integral to the kingdom. The things that we value are the things that tend to flourish. If we want to see growing local churches, we need a theology that values the local church more.