Hillsong New York pastor Carl Lentz will appear in an upcoming episode of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritually focused talk show Super Soul Sunday. The series—which runs on the OWN channel—features extended, sit-down interviews by Winfrey with a variety of spiritual leaders from different backgrounds and outlooks. Former guests include Deepak Chopra, T.D. Jakes, Brené Brown, Maya Angelou, Anne Lamott, Rob Bell, Richard Rohr, Eckhart Tolle, Joel Osteen, Malala Yousafzai and dozens of other well-known activists, writers and leaders.

Lentz posted an image of himself with Oprah to Instagram, announcing that he was filming the special. He wrote about the experience, saying,

What struck me most about her, was her ease and kindness. She told me her key was "waking up each day and thanking Jesus for loving me and thanking Him for all he has done." That practice, in that order, is one to be copied.


I'm grateful that she opened up her platform to talk about Jesus unapologetically and without borders. It's literally impossible to "say all the right things" in interviews like this. I don't even remotely try to. My goal is to always say the one thing that matters eternally, and by Gods grace, we are able to at least do that!

It’s not the first time that the pastor of New York’s Hillsong Church has received high-profile mainstream exposure. He’s been profiled in publications including GQ and The New York Times, posts photos of himself hanging out with pop stars and athletes and has been a guest on talk shows including Katie Couric and The Nightly Show.

In a recent Instagram photo of himself with Justin Bieber and Lil’ Wayne, Lentz explained his philosophy of reaching everyone—including influencers—with the gospel:

We desperately want to classify people in our minds. The picture above, demonstrates this well. Because these individuals are "well known", immediately it will elicit reactions..mostly harsh, because it's easier/lazy to classify that which you can't fully understand, than to pursue depth and reasoning. Projecting insecurity and bad motives is a full time job for too many people..If they were not "well known"? Much more palatable for people! Why? Because we classify that as well and are not threatened by things that fit neatly into our ready made classification prism. My point? We can't dispense grace or love how WE WANT. We must as GOD SAYS!

I for one, am grateful for that. Don't deserve an ounce of the ocean of grace God has given me...Somebody once told me "humility is the great mediator. It will always be the shortest distance between you and another human being." Should make it really easy for all of us who claim to follow Jesus, to show grace and love exactly how we were given it: freely and quickly, regardless of our SHARED, INHERENT "class". Sinners... grace?? It changes the story

What should happen if a pastor has an extramarital affair? That’s the question the group LifeWayResearch asked 1,000 Protestant pastors across denominations as part of a new study.

Overall, just 24 percent “support a permanent withdrawal from public ministry” if a pastor has an affair, though 31 percent said they should step down for a period of 90 days to a year. The vast majority—86 percent—believed that congregations should be informed if one of their pastors receive church discipline for misconduct, though very few (13 percent) said that initial allegations should be told to the congregants.

In the study, LifeWay Research executive director Ed Stetzer said,

The Scripture says pastors must be above reproach. So it’s not surprising that some want to see fallen pastors banned from ministry. Still, pastors are also people who talk about forgiveness regularly and, by and large, they want to see those who fall have a chance at restoration.

Activist and U2 frontman Bono recently recorded a video message for the congregation of Willow Creek Church, encouraging them in their projects caring and advocating for refugees. He used the Gospel to show why it is so important. Quoting the book of Matthew, Bono said,

Exile was close to heart of who Jesus was … ‘Foxes have holes, birds have nests, the son of man has no where to lay his head.’ Not just no room at the inn; Jesus was a displaced person. His family, fleeing to Egypt for fear of the life of their first-born child. Yup, Jesus was a refugee.

The church recently took part in a “Celebration of Hope”, a church- and community-wide initiative focused on human rights campaigns and projects around the world. About 4,000 runners recently took part in the church’s "Run For Refugees” 5K, which raised money for refugee families throughout the globe. Discuss

America is now less religious than it’s ever been. A recent study published in the journal Sage Open led by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge found that in 2014, belief in God was at an “all-time low” in America. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the amount of people who say that they pray has plummeted: It’s five times less than the number of individuals who prayed 35 years ago. The biggest drop in both categories was in the 18-29 demographic.

These types of findings are becoming increasingly common, so the numbers aren’t really overly surprising; but, there was one revelation in the data that seems to reveal something critical about millennials. Despite belief in God and prayer hitting statistical lows, the amount of individuals who believe in some sort of afterlife actually increased.

It’s hard to quantify exactly why more people now believe in life after death despite not believing in God, but the study’s author has a theory. "It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality—thinking you can get something for nothing,” she wrote.

Maybe she’s right, and Americans—particularly millennials—are developing stronger senses of entitlement, but the idea that “you can get something for nothing” becoming more prevalent, isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to faith. Obviously, for Christians, salvation requires a commitment to Christ, but the idea of grace is that salvation can’t be earned—it can only be received. Maybe that’s part of the message we should be more focused on. Discuss

It’s official: Mark Driscoll will soon be pastoring a new church. This week, the official site of The Trinity Church announced:

[The church] will host its first ever gathering at 5pm on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016, at the Glass and Garden Drive-In Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. In time, we look forward to launching The Trinity Church. In time, we look forward to launching The Trinity Church. In the meantime, we did not want to pass up this historic opportunity to gather for the first time on the 50-year anniversary of the landmark building, which opened on Easter 1966. Even though it’s last minute, as the ink on our rental contract is still wet, we look forward to meeting you at our modest open house and prayer meeting. Pastor Mark will be sharing our church vision as we begin gathering our launch team.

Driscoll is a controversial figure in evangelicalism. After founding Mars Hill Church in Seattle back in 1996, Driscoll became a prominent pastor and author. But, after growing the church to 15 locations and attracting more than 12,000 weekly members at its peak, several high-profile controversies eventually led to the ministry being dissolved in January of last year. Driscoll is currently being sued for racketeering, being accused by several former Mar Hills members for misusing ministry funds and misleading congregants about how their donations were actually being used.

Driscoll told RNS that the allegations were “false and malicious,” adding, “I’m certain that the most recent examples are without any merit.” Discuss

A new statement from a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis himself says that bishops must report any incidents of sexual abuse they are aware of to law enforcement. The new statement, which calls the reporting of abuse a “moral and ethical responsibility” of the church, actually counters a previous recommendation by French Monsignor Tony Anatrella last fall that said it was the families’ role to report abuse to police, not church officials’. However, the commission—which was created as part of an effort by Pope Francis to fight sexual abuse within the Catholic Church—said in a statement,

As Pope Francis has so clearly stated, ‘The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must not be kept secret for any longer. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.’ We, the president and the members of the commission, wish to affirm that our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed, but even beyond these civil requirements, we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.