Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lottery Winner

A Haslett, Michigan church is getting a winning lotto ticket from a member. WILX-TV reports on why she made the gift.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baptist Resignation

Southern Baptists are losing their Mission Board president. Geoff Hammond has resigned after only two years at the helm of the denomination's evangelism arm. Some members of the executive committee haven’t been happy with his leadership and they were set to meet about the issue the day after Hammond resigned. Three of his assistants have quit as well. The mission board has a $130 million budget and oversees 5,600 missionaries.

Focus in Trouble

Focus on the Family may wind up nearly a quarter short of its yearly budget. The organization founded by James Dobson is making a special plea, saying it may miss its $138 million budget by $6 million.

As part of its cutbacks, Focus is giving up control of its Love Won Out conferences about homosexuality to Exodus International. The events drew protests from gay rights groups.

More than 200 jobs were cut by Focus this past year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Teen Claims Death Threat

An Ohio teenager says her family threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. Rifqa Bary fled to Orlando where she’s staying with a the pastor of Global Revolution Church. Although her Muslim family wants to regain custody of her, a judge has ruled that she will remain under the care of Florida’s child services department while her claims are investigated. Her Sri Lankan father denies there is any threat to her life. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday.

D. James Kennedy's Daughter Banned From Church

Six members of a Florida megachurch have been thrown out. That includes the daughter of the man who founded Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, D. James Kennedy. After Kennedy passed away last fall, the Fort Lauderdale church got a new pastor: Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham. The people banned from church functions are trying to get him fired. Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy has been ordered to stay off church property and out of church programs. She and others have circulated a petition. Among other things, they object to his appointment of some of his own people on the church staff, of changing the church’s worship style and selling church land to make up for budget shortfalls. At a recent church meeting, Tchividjian denied any budget shortfall and told the congregation that only about a dozen of the 70 or so staffers come from his former church.

1st Women Elected

The Assemblies of God has elected its first woman to its Executive Presbytery. Beth Grant was elected the second ballot during the denomination’s biennial meetings in Orlando. A missionary to India and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, Grant is a former Southeastern University professor. She was given a standing ovation after the announcement of her election.

Looking Back: Top Religious Stories of 2003

1 - The Episcopal Church ordains its first openly gay bishop

2 - The war in Iraq splits religious communities

3 - The Massachusetts Supreme Court overturns a gay-marriage ban

4 - A Ten Commandments monument is removed from Alabama's Supreme Court building

5 - The Catholic Church draws praise and criticism for its efforts to combat priestly sex abuse

6 - Pope John Paul II celebrates 25 years in office

7 - The economy forces budget cutbacks for many denominations

8 - The Presbyterian Church, USA retains a policy saying only those who practice fidelity in marriage or chastity as single people can be ordained 9

- The Supreme Court agrees to hear whether "Under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance

10 - The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod overturns the suspension of a New York church leader who took part in an interfaith service after 9-11

11 - Southern Baptist missionaries are fired for refusing to sign pledges to honor the denomination's "Faith and Message" statement.

12 - Debate over President Bush's plan to ease restrictions on public funding of faith-based charities

13 - Concerns about the erosion of religious liberty are raised over the Patriot Act

14 - President Bush signs a bill outlawing what are generally termed partial-birth abortions

15 - The "road map" to Middle East peace

15 - (tie) New leadership at major evangelical groups including Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Family Research Council

Source: Religion Newswriters Association

Monday, August 10, 2009

Note to God

There's a new Apple iPhone app called A Note to God. The app allows users read the anonymous prayers of others and show support by clicking on a thumbs up icon. Southern Cal start up Medl Mobile is making A Note to God available but its the creation of high school student Allen Wright who attends New Life Community Church in Fair Oaks, California.

Looking Back.. Best Books of 2007

The 2007 Book of the Year was Ever After by Karen Kingsbury, according to the Evangelicalb Christian Publishers Association. The novel tells the story of a college student who falls in love with a young Army reservist who is deployed to Iraq.

Other 2007 winners:

• Bible of the Year Archaeological Study Bible NIV

• Bible Reference and Study The IVP Atlas of Bible History by Paul Lawrence

• Children and Youth Sexy Girls
by Hayley DiMarco

• Christian Life What Jesus Demands from the World
by John Piper

• Fiction When Crickets Cry
by Charles Martin

• Inspiration and Gift Pearls of Great Price
by Joni Eareckson Tada

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Megachurch Twitter Buzz

A Chicago megachurch made 3 of the top 10 Twitter trend topoics at one point during its leadership conference this weekend. Former British prime minister Tony Blair and U2's Bono are among the speakers at Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Church. More than 100,000 business and church leaders were expected to attend.

No to City Logo Change

The town of Kissimmee, Florida won't be adding In God We Trust to the city logo. City Commissioner Art Otero proposed the idea and says he'll keep fighting to make it happen. Mayor Jim Swan got the full commission to drop the idea last week because of negative publicity.

Megachurch Sanctuaries

Protestant churches with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more:

Faithful Central Bible Church (Kenneth C. Ulmer) 17,800
Lakewood Church, Houston (Joel Osteen) 16,000
Salem Baptist Church of Chicago (James Meeks) 10,000

Crenshaw Christian Center, LA ( Fred Price) 10,000

Southeast Christian, Louisville, KY (Dave Stone) 9,200

First Baptist Church Jacksonville, FL (Mac Brunson) 9,000
Without Walls Central Church, Lakeland, FL (Scott Thomas) 9,000

Potters House, Atlanta (Creflo Dollar) 8,000
Cathedral of the Cross, Birmingham (Mike Wright) 8,000

Cathedral of Chapel Hill, Atlanta (Donnie Earl Paulk) 7,700

First Baptist Church, Atlanta (Charles Stanley) 7,500
Prestonwood Baptist Church Plano (Jack Graham) 7,400

First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN (Jack Schaap) 7,500
Willow Creek, Chicago (Bill Hybels) 7,100

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Ga (Eddie Long) 7,000
Glory Church of Jesus Christ, LA (Richard Seunghoon Shin) 7,000
Ministerio International el Rey Jesus, Kendall, FL (Guillermo Maldonado) 7,000
Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis (Steve Gaines) 7,000
First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA (Johnny Hunt) 7,000

First Assembly of God, Phoenix (Tommy Barnett) 6,500

Second Baptist Church, Houston (Ed Young Sr.) 6,200
Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA (Jonathan Falwell) 6,000
Bethany World Prayer Center, Baker, CA (Larry Stockstill) 6,000

Christian Life Center Stockton CA (Nathaniel Haney) 5,800

First Baptist Church, Orlando (David Uth) 5,500
First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, OK 5,500
Victory Christian Center, Tulsa (Billy Joe and Sharon Daugherty) 5,500

Angelus Temple, LA (Matthew Barnett) 5,300
World Harvest Church, Columbus, Ohio (Rod Parsley)
Rock Church, Virginia Beach (Anne Gimenez) 5,200
Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz FL (Ken Whitten) 5,150
Overlake Christian Church, Redmond, WA (Mike Howerton) 5,100

Shoreline Christian Center, Austin (Robert Koke) 5,000
Cornerstone church, San Antonio (John Hagee) 5,000
Eagle's Nest Christian Fellowship, San Antonio (Rick Godwin) 5,000
Calvary Church, Charlotte (John Munro) 5,000
West Angeles COGIC, LA (Charles Blake) 5,000
Jericho City of Praise, Landham MD (Betty Peebles) 5,000
Calvery Church, Charlotte (John H. Munro) 5,000
Calvary Assembly of God, Winter Park, FL (George Cope) 5,000
Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, TN (Craig Strickland) 5,000

(Let us know if you know of any others to add to the list or corrections to make)