It'd be easy to fret about the dramatic drop off in new church construction—which NPR reports as being at its lowest point since 1967—but the news isn't actually as bleak as it might appear. NPR suggests one possible reason for the decline in new church buildings is the rise of the house church movement. "With more religiously unaffiliated Americans than ever before, many congregations say they've become more committed communities by losing the pews and stained-glass windows of a central building."
"I don't know that everyone needs to do house churches," says Gary Alloway, who pastors a house church in Bristol, Penn. "But every church should be doing the things that house churches are doing — that ability for people to come into something right away and be known" ... Discuss
In a recent interview with Oprah about his new book, former Mars Hill Church pastor Rob Bell expressed a firm belief that the Church is "moments away" from accepting gay marriage. "It's inevitable," he said.
One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It's central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.
He went on to say that church was risking irrelevance by holding off on an embrace of gay marriage. "I think culture is already there," he said. "And the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life" ... 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. They surveyed over 15,000 Americans and found that people attending a religious service on a weekly basis are nearly twice as likely to say they’re “very happy” than those who don’t attend at all. Read More
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