Unchurched Americans More Resistant To Evangelism Than Ever Before

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A new study from Barna Group says that unchurched Americans are more hostile toward evangelism than ever in the country’s history.

The survey says that since 1993, the number of unchurched Americans who would be open to attending church if invited by a friend was down from 65 percent to 47 percent.

The study showed that most people open to visiting church did so because of personal invitations from friends they knew well. Advertising and impersonal contacts such as cold phone calls were shown to have more negative than positive impact on those who do not attend church.

“The gap between the churched and the churchless is growing, and it appears that Christian communities of faith will struggle more than ever to engage church outsiders in their neighborhood, town or city,” Barna Group President David Kinnaman told the Christian Post.

He said that secular society has taken aggressive steps to make Christians seem “increasingly alien and difficult to understand.”

Rick Warren Calls For Pastors To Avoid Focusing On Numbers

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Rick Warren spoke to a group of church planters and told them that building a church is more important than drawing a crowd.

“You must be very careful how you build. Some build with gold, silver, precious stones even wood, hay and straw but the day will come when fire will reveal the quality of your work and if what you build survives, you will receive a reward,” Warren said on Thursday of the three-day conference.

“The success of your ministry isn’t about size or speed, regardless of those ‘large church lists.’ God isn’t going to judge you based on those things because those are human measurements.”

Warren said that church planters are too preoccupied with church trends or what is “currently in or hip.”

“I could show you how to get a crowd but a crowd isn’t a church,” Warren said. “Most church planters spend an entire year planning the first service and none planning the second.”

Warren said more than anything church planters need a pure heart and clear purpose.

Churches Forced To Pay For Abortion File Suit

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Seven California churches have filed suit against the state because they are being forced to pay for abortions.

The California Department of Managed Health Care sent letters to seven insurance companies that refused to offer abortion coverage.

“Abortion is a basic health care service,” director Michelle Rouillard wrote to the seven insurance companies that refused to offer coverage.“All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

The Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom are defending the churches, claiming the state’s mandate is a violation of the federal Weldon Amendment, which says a state can be forfeited of certain funds if they discriminate against a healthcare provider who does not pay for abortions.

“Forcing a church to be party to elective abortion is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms,” ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox also stated in a press release about the matter on Thursday. “California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans. No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money.”

Islamists Kill 46 In Nigeria

A woman walks past homes destroyed by Boko Haram militants in Bama

Survivors of an Islamist attack in Kaduna State, Nigeria say that at least 46 people have been killed including two pastors.

Church leaders say the Islamists stated their goal was to “cleanse” the area of any Christians.

The two pastors were killed along with 31 other Christian s in Karshin Daji. The attack left 15 injured and at least 15 homes of Christians burned to the ground. The slain pastors were Pastor Ezra Ibrahim of the Evangelical Church Winning All and Pastor Julius Jako of ECWA who was butchered beside his wife and daughter.

Danjuma Awe, 60, was one of the survivors of the assault.

“Suddenly we heard sounds of gunshots around our village,” Awe said. “The pastor was still in the pastorate when the Muslim Fulani gunmen forced their way onto the church premises. They cut him, his wife, and a daughter with a machete, and then tied the hands and feet of the three of them before setting the house on fire. The three of them were burned to ashes in the living room of the pastorate. We only found the charred remains of the three of them the following morning.”

Residents say the Nigerian authorities did nothing to stop the Islamists from their assault.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday Features Over A Thousand Pastors

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Over a thousand pastors took to their pulpits on Sunday to say that Christ controls what they say to their congregations, not the government.

The Pulpit Initiative, part of the Alliance Defending Freedom, organized the 7th Annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The goal is to have pastors “speak truth into every area of life from the pulpit.”

“Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who oversees the observance. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. There’s a growing chorus of pastors’ voices calling for a solution to this very real constitutional violation.”

The event had pastors participating from all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The move is to point out the “Johnson Amendment” of 1954 that says churches cannot “participate in or intervene in” political campaigns.

“The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Rather than risk confrontation, many pastors have self-censored their speech—afraid to apply the teachings of Scripture to specific candidates or elections. As in years past, the participants in Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2014 are taking a stand against being intimidated into sacrificing their First Amendment freedoms.”

Getting Ready for a Wedding!

A Hebrew wedding – this was a blessed event with an End Times message for the Church encapsulated in every detail of the festivities. There is no more poignant picture of love anywhere than a bridegroom standing at the altar, looking lovingly at his bride as she approaches. That’s the way Jesus looks and longs for His bride, the Church.

As we study the End Times, let’s be sure to remember that we are getting ready for a wedding – our wedding – as we become the Bride of Christ that He longs for, that He died for, that He now lives for.

It’s time for the Bride to get ready NOW. Continue reading

New “.CHURCH” Domain Names Available

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In a move that has critics split on whether it’s good marketing for churches or a way to segregate Christians online, the .church domain is now available for purchase.

The domain was first made available last week and many churches have been snapping up the domains.

“I saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of important geographic branding opportunities domains that immediately and easily identify my church with the Brookhaven and greater Atlanta area have long been taken,” said Pastor Wesley Sanders of Brookhaven United Methodist. “I had been planning on doing a redesign of our church’s website for a while, and the release of the new dot church domain names gave me a good opportunity to implement a new online presence.”

The domain is part of what is called “generic top-level domains” or gTLDs. As of Monday, Hover.com says .church is number 8 on the top 20 list of gTLDs.

Experts at Hover.com say it’s too early to tell if the new domain is a success. They say you will need to wait at least a year to see the number of .church domains in use before saying they were a success.

The domains are available from all domain registrars.

National “Get Back To Church” Sunday Sees Surge In Attendance

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Sunday marked the sixth straight year that churches participated in the “Get Back To Church” Sunday event where those who had walked away from the church were invited to “come home.”

Churches across the country reported significant upturns in attendance as a result of the event.

“We had a wonderful service in Yuba City, CA,” wrote Greg Mansur on the event’s Facebook page. “Very high attendance, several visitors, many returned we had not seen in a while, and there was a tremendous spirit of fellowship and unity … Just a tremendous day. Appreciate all the tools and support from the BTCS team!”

“Second Baptist Church in Barnwell, South Carolina had an amazing worship service today!! We had an overflow of attendance with several visiting friends and family … a jam packed weekend! Beautiful…awe inspiring,” another poster wrote.

Scott Evans, CEO of Outreach, Inc. which started the “Get Back To Church” initiative, says the event started with 600 churches in 2009 and now is the largest such event in the country.

“We believe in this day because we know it helps people invite others to church. Back to Church Sunday really got its start from research that showed 82% of people said they would attend church if someone they knew invited them, but only 2% of church members were inviting others to come with them,” said Evans in a statement.

Oklahoma Christians Make Final Push Against Satanic Mass

Even though over 200,000 residents of the Oklahoma City area have signed petitions asking the government to not allow a “Satanic Mass” aimed to mock the Catholic church and Christianity from taking place in the public Civic Center Music Hall, the city is not relenting in allowing the Satanists to mock Christians.

The Archbishop of Oklahoma City has released a scathing indictment of city leaders for allowing the event to continue, saying that they do not understand the spiritual forces at work when events like the black mass take place.

“Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do. As a Catholic priest and bishop I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil in both ordinary and extraordinary ways,” Archibishop Paul S. Coakley wrote.

“It is not merely a struggle rooted in human weakness and ignorance, though these are certainly the source of much suffering and mayhem in our lives and in our world. Demonic activity and the chaotic forces of evil are very real. The madness of war accompanied by increasingly brutal acts of terror, the violence in our schools and communities are all evidence that something is terribly wrong.”

The group is planning a series of events including a “satanic exorcism” where they have agreed to modify the procedure to use vinegar instead of urine to stay in compliance with health codes. The action is to “pull the Holy Spirit” from the body of the subject.

Church Gives $40,000 To Ferguson Neighborhood

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A Missouri church is stepping up to help residents of Ferguson, Missouri whose businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed by looters in the wake of the Michael Brown situation.

The Episcopal Church said it will provide $40,000 in grants to help those in need.

“This joint effort helps restock food pantry shelves to feed the hungry today, but it also provides nutritional counseling and food preparation education for a more healthy future,” said Bishop Stacy Sauls. “… it helps local businesses get back on their feet, but it also partners with public and private groups to encourage entrepreneurship and sustainability; it provides a mechanism to deliver food and other assistance to shut-ins, but it does so by offering skills training to young adults and older youth that will help improve their lives for years to come.”

The Reverend Michael Dunnington of All Saints Episcopal Church told the Christian posts that he sees the grants helping multiple parts of the community.

“I think that this grant will go a long way to show the residents of Ferguson that the Episcopal Church cares about the immediate effects of the August troubles, and that we are interested in addressing longer-term needs in their community,” he told the Christian Post.

Dunnington added while protests are continuing in the town, they have been peaceful and not lead to further destruction.