Christian health workers and pastors navigate stigma at Apostolic, evangelical, and Methodist congregations. Yvonne Binda stands in front of the congregation, all dressed in pristine white robes, and tells them not to believe what they’ve heard about COVID-19 vaccines. “The vaccine is not linked to Satanism,” she says. The worshipers, members of a Christian Apostolic church in Zimbabwe, are unmoved. But when Binda, a vaccine campaigner and member of an Apostolic church herself, promises them soap, buckets, and masks, there are enthusiastic shouts of “Amen!” Apostolic groups that infuse traditional beliefs into Pentecostal doctrine are among the most skeptical in…

More leaders and state conventions are putting pressure on the Executive Committee ahead of this week’s meeting. As controversy escalates surrounding an investigation into mishandlings of sexual abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC), pastors and state conventions are calling on the committee to finally vote to waive attorney-client privilege at its upcoming meeting. In official statements and social media threads, Southern Baptists condemned trustees’ failure to heed the directive of the messengers in the EC’s two previous meetings, and many threatened to withdraw giving or redirect monies. “Should the Executive Committee fail to comply, we will lead…

Top denominations and thousands of churches are reconsidering whether to keep hosting scout units. Amid the Boy Scouts of America’s complex bankruptcy case, there is worsening friction between the BSA and the major religious groups that help it run thousands of scout units. At issue: the churches’ fears that an eventual settlement—while protecting the BSA from future sex-abuse lawsuits—could leave many churches unprotected. The Boy Scouts sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020 in an effort to halt individual lawsuits and create a huge compensation fund for thousands of men who say they were molested as youngsters by scoutmasters or other…

Evangelicals join Anglicans, Catholics, and Presbyterians in restricting campaigning during worship services. Some churches in Kenya have barred politicians from addressing their congregations, saying campaigning during services disrespects the sanctity of worship. The national Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and evangelical churches have all issued bans, as many politicians have begun early stumping for next year’s general elections and as COVID-19 public health measures have restricted how and where campaigning can take place. The Methodists, however, are keeping the church doors open for all. Joseph Ntombura, presiding bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya, has said his church is not dissenting…

Respected leader with ACIERA, CONELA, and the Luis Palau Association is the latest of hundreds of pastors in Argentina to die from COVID-19. Death, even if we wait for it, always surprises us. The death of Rubén Proietti on the morning of September 9, at age 74, not only affected his family and friends but also touched the church across the Hispanic world. The organizer of Latin America’s greatest evangelistic events, the mobilizer of crowds, the creator of bridges, passionate about evangelization and a paladin of unity, he is now in the heavenly homeland. Rubén became the latest of more…

TPLF forces have taken control of one of Christianity’s oldest heritage sites. The fate of the ancient rock-hewn churches of northern Ethiopia has become a grave concern for Ethiopian Americans, as a civil war between the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Tigray rebels imperil the fate of many religious sites across the country. For months, Ethiopian troops have fought a rebellion by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which began after TPLF forces attacked an Ethiopian military installation in early November 2020. Tensions had risen after Ahmed’s government withheld funds for elections held in Tigray province in defiance…

(UPDATED) Death toll passes 2,200 as Samaritan’s Purse field hospital opens in Les Cayes. LES CAYES, Haiti — A gang leader is offering a truce as well as help for communities in southwestern Haiti that were shattered by an earthquake, raising a glimmer of hope for relief operations that have been disrupted by the looting of aid trucks and other disorder. It remained to be seen whether anything would come from Sunday’s offer by Jimmy Cherizier, alias “Barbecue.” While he is a powerful crime boss, Cherizier is far from the only gang leader in Haiti, and widely spread social media…

The current crisis has led faith groups in Atlanta and beyond to see the market as part of their ministry. When Rev. Herman “Skip” Mason was transferred in 2019 to pastor West Mitchell Street Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in downtown Atlanta from Augusta, Georgia, he never imagined that two years later he would still be looking for affordable housing in his hometown and forced to commute over 100 miles every week. This summer, with home prices continuing to climb during the pandemic, the Atlanta native learned that Bishop T. D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, was…

How “redemptive entrepreneurship” can multiply the impact of cash-strapped ministries. For good reason, we tend not to picture Jesus as a redemptive entrepreneur or a venture philanthropist. But perhaps we shouldn’t be so averse to thinking this way. He did, after all, multiply loaves and fishes in a way that would impress VC firms like Sequoia Capital. He one-upped Silicon Valley happiness theorists by turning water into wine at a wedding. More visionary than Steve Jobs in a black turtleneck, Jesus told the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30), challenging his followers to see resources as tools for good, not…

CRC congregations weigh land acknowledgements amid rising awareness of indigenous injustices on both sides of the border. Visitors to a suburban Toronto congregation are greeted in the foyer or from the stage with the following: “The Community Christian Reformed Church of Meadowvale is located on the Treaty lands and traditional Territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.” The statement names the indigenous community that once stewarded the land where the Canadian church stands. But a visitor to one of Meadowvale’s hundreds of fellow American congregations across the border will likely find the practice of such “land acknowledgements” to…

Worship music is important, but God cares more about the heart. My eldest sons, aged 8 and 6, stayed up to watch England beat Denmark 2–1 in the Euro 2020 semifinal last week. It was very exciting and, caught up in the soccer spirit, they invented their own football song: England, England, for you we sing You’re gonna win the Euros thing I’m not sure if they knew what the “Euros thing” actually was, or that England, which lays claim to the invention of soccer, hadn’t reached the final match of a major tournament in 55 years. But it turns…

Facing decline, Anglicans debate whether the suggestion represents a fresh missional strategy or a radical departure from their theological convictions. Petertide—the days around the feast of St. Peter on June 29—is traditionally one of the most joyful seasons for the Church of England, a time for ordination of new priests and deacons. But this year’s Petertide has been marred by what many have interpreted as an attack on the future of Anglican priesthood itself. As Britain’s national church prepared to gather for its General Synod, which began last Friday and runs through Tuesday, one of its most senior clerics submitted…

Amid a second wave of infections, Christian leaders wrestle with leadership vacuum and how openly to raise funds to aid neighbors under a suspicious government. Congregations in Nepal are reeling after a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases this spring threw the Himalayan nation into chaos, overflowing hospitals and crematoriums and leaving the national army to deal with 100 bodies a day in the Kathmandu Valley alone. The Nepali church has lost more than 130 pastors during a second wave of the pandemic that has pushed reported cases past 635,000 and confirmed deaths past 9,000. Half of those cases and two-thirds…

Christian cases for yes, no, and flying other nations’ flags as congregations balance love of God, neighbor, and country. The Fourth of July falls on a Sunday this year. As American churches consider how to recognize the United States’ independence day during their worship services, CT decided to revisit a question first posed to American church leaders in 2013. Here’s what their counterparts from 11 different countries have to say in 2021. Answers are arranged from Yes to No: Egypt: Sameh Maurice, senior pastor, Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo Yes, I agree with displaying the flag of my…

Nearby congregations offer snacks and spiritual care to those tasked with “bringing order to the chaos.” Miami Beach pastor J. P. Funk woke up Thursday morning to the news that a condo building only about a mile from his church had collapsed, leaving more than 150 people missing in the rubble. At least two people connected to Calvary Chapel Miami Beach lived in the building, including the mother of one of its members. Funk’s focus immediately turned to the disaster—but he worried that his congregation wouldn’t be able to help in the crucial early days of search and rescue. Half…

Why women of color are essential to today’s church-planting movements. The apostle Paul ranks as the greatest church-planting apostle and missionary the world has ever known. He determined to build the church wherever Christ was not named. At great risk to himself, he entered city after city to proclaim the gospel and organize converts into churches. Yet, the great apostle did not achieve these things alone. Paul always worked in teams. To the delight of some and the consternation of others, Paul’s church-planting teams included women. When he wrote the Christians in Philippi, he instructed them to help Euodia and…

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 George Floyd’s death, white and Black congregations partnered to serve the city. Buffalo Evangelical Free Church wanted to help. About an hour’s drive from downtown Minneapolis, the majority white church was deeply upset by the news of George Floyd’s death and shocked by the videos on social media. As protests swept the city, the Buffalo, Minnesota, congregation started to ask what it could do. Pastor Greg Braly was eager too, but cautious. “I think one of the mistakes that Anglo churches can make is to walk in with the white savior hat on and walk in thinking we know…

As coronavirus shutdowns go on, Christian groups are rallying support for asylum seekers, crowded border camps, and working-class churches. This week, evangelical leaders from nine major organizations wrote the Trump administration to urge officials to release detained immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those who are elderly or at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. They are calling on the church and community partners to “provide any assistance they can” including “safe accommodations in which to ‘shelter in place’ for as long as such practices are advised.” “Our concern is rooted in our Christian belief that each human life is made…

Churches have had to pivot hard and shift in a direction they weren’t going. We are now a number of weeks into the COVID-19 crisis here in the United States. For the most part, many churches and believers have entered into a new normal, at least for the time being, as we ride the turbulent wave of the virus and the damage it inflicts personally, socially, culturally, and spiritually. Here at the Billy Graham Center we work hard to be a hub for convening, training, and resourcing churches for greater gospel impact. Since the beginning of this crisis, we have…

Over 1500 church leaders responded to our Covid-19 Church Survey. The coronavirus COVID-19 creeped onto the world scene only a few months ago and has spread at breakneck speed, disrupting societies, social units, healthcare systems, and entire economies. Only a few months in, the cost in lives has been too high—those infected and who have lost their lives as a result of the virus, and those suffering as a result of changes in how we daily function (e.g., an increase in suicide rates, domestic abuse cases, depression, and more). Many are wondering how the church, historically a beacon of hope…