Hillsong Church has just signed a deal with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor, in what The Hollywood Reporter describes as “the first known instance of a major agency working on behalf of a church itself.” The magazine said that WME will be used to “expand [the church's] TV viewership of more than 10 million globally.” Though Hillsong, which brings in more than 100,000 attendees every Sunday morning in its campuses around the globe, is the first actual house of worship to work with WME, the group is no stranger to Christian audiences. The agency already represents Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and LightWorkers Media, the faith-focused production company of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey ... Discuss

This Sunday, Saddleback Church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren was invited to deliver the final sermon at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church. You can watch the message, which was delivered via video, below. Mars Hill recently announced that after 18 years of ministry, all of its satellite churches would either operate separately or dissolve completely. The move comes after a team of elders confronted lead pastor Mark Driscoll over a series of allegations involving the mistreatment of members of the congregation, plagiarism, the use of church funds to prop up book sales and other accusations of improper behavior. Driscoll resigned in October.

On their website, the church posted a message that read, “As we close the doors on Mars Hill Church, and consider the evidence of God’s grace shown to us over the years, words cannot express the depth of our gratitude for the people of Mars Hill and our Global Family who have served tirelessly, prayed continually, and given sacrificially to support Jesus’ mission through Mars Hill Church ... making disciples and planting churches" ... Discuss

New research out of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture has found a strong correlation between religion and personal happiness. Though their survey looked at several factors to gauge individual’s religiousness, the biggest indicator of happiness was regularly going to religious services. From Brietbart:

The study found that people who attend religious services on a weekly basis are nearly twice as likely to describe themselves as “very happy” (45%) than people who never attend (28%). Conversely, those who never worship are twice as likely to say they are “very unhappy” (4%) as those who attend services weekly (2%).

The study may offer some clue to understanding why those who regularly go to church are much more likely than non-religious people to still have Pharrell’s “Happy” as their ringtone ... Discuss

Dr. George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God denomination, has released a statement asking that all AG churches participate in “Black Lives Matter Sunday” on Dec. 14. The Assemblies of God Pentecostal denomination is a hugely influential organization with nearly 65 million adherents and members around the world. In a statement, Wood asked that members follow the example of Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. of the Church of God in Christ [COGIC] by joining the nationwide movement:

First and foremost, black lives matter. The lives of all people are precious to God, of course, but at the present moment, many of our black brothers and sisters in COGIC and the AG feel that their lives are not highly valued by many in white America. As examples, they point to the recent controversial decisions of grand juries in St. Louis County, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, not to return bills of indictment against white police officers in the deaths of two black males, Michael Brown and Eric Garner ... Whatever your opinion of those controversial decisions, can we stand with our brothers and sisters and affirm the value of black lives generally and of their lives specifically? ... We can take steps together in that direction by affirming the value of black lives and by praying for unity in our churches and our society this Sunday, December 14.

You can read his entire statement here and go here to learn more about Black Lives Matter Sunday ... Discuss

The pastor of Riverchase United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, has figured out a way to hopefully get more locals into his Sunday morning services: He’s moving them to a local Buffalo Wild Wing restaurant and bar. The 45-minute service to be known as “The Stream” will actually take place before the establishment opens for business, so there will be no beer or wings served during the message, though Rev. Wesley Savage told a local paper, “We're going to encourage people to stay for lunch, stay for sports. This is part of the partnership.”

He told AL.com that the idea is to reach a new audience who feel more comfortable hanging out at a wing joint than a traditional church: “We believe there's a population that would attend a service there that wouldn't go to a church. We hope it's going to be a more inviting atmosphere … We want it to be a dialogue, questions and discussion about a topic: Why God? Why the church? Why the Bible? Why should I care about these things?” The wall separating church and wing is finally beginning to crumble ... Discuss

Pope Francis’ chief alms-giver has announced new plans to install free showers in the public restrooms in Vatican City as a service to the homeless. Monsignor Konrad Krajewski explained that the new facilities in St. Peter’s Square were inspired by an encounter with a homeless man. The homeless gentleman declined Krajewski’s invitation to a fancy dinner on his 50th birthday because he said that he smelled bad, and there was no place for homeless individuals like him to wash. According to some reports, the facility will also provide members of the homeless community with fresh towels and clean undergarments ... Discuss