Old-school evangelical leaders once knew the value of “care” over “cure.” “You know, Mike, I used to be gay,” I said. Mike stopped moving his paintbrush as the words fell clumsily from my mouth. He was painting the St. Louis apartment I called home in the summer of 1997 as I began working toward my PhD in historical theology. He’d asked me about my schooling, and we got to talking about faith. Mike had explained to me how he felt he could never go to church because he was gay. “I know they say that’s not supposed to happen,” I…

Losses have denominations focused on church planting and revitalization, but it’s been a challenge. US Protestant churches endured a difficult 2020, including starting the year with fewer congregations. In 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the US, but 4,500 Protestant churches closed, according to estimates from Nashville-based Lifeway Research. The evangelical research organization analyzed congregational information from 34 denominations and groups representing 60 percent of US Protestant churches to arrive at the church plant and closure numbers for 2019. The current closure gap indicates a shift from Lifeway Research’s previous analysis. For 2014, an estimated 4,000 Protestant churches…

After decades shut out of refugee camps, medical missionaries in Bangladesh offer expert care to those who fled Myanmar. It wasn’t that Memorial Christian Hospital in southeastern Bangladesh had no warning. Steve Kelley, a surgeon at the Baptist facility, got a call from Doctors Without Borders on a Friday afternoon last August. “He was stammering,” Kelley said of the German physician on the line. The facility for the medical aid group also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was about 30 miles south of Memorial Christian, in a Rohingya refugee camp near the border of Myanmar. “He described hundreds of…