Does Scripture warn about Big Pharma? Endorse mask-wearing? Christians Googled for answers in 2021. As the pandemic first hit in 2020, Christians sought out Scripture about fear, comfort, and healing. A year later, their Bible searching habits reflect ongoing clashes around COVID-19 responses. The fastest-growing search term on Bible Gateway in the past year was “sorcery,” which drew 193 percent more queries than in 2020. The boost was inspired not by the recent rise in witchcraft but by arguments against the COVID-19 vaccine. “The increase in sorceries is related to heightened interest in the Greek word pharmakeia, which, according to…

As the US census charts a decade of dramatic changes, two congregations have lived it. Matt Friend is a proud native of Charleston, West Virginia. But the lead pastor of Bible Center Church will admit that the city has changed. “There’s definitely a lot less traffic now,” he said. His home city has the dubious distinction of being the fastest-shrinking city in the United States, according to the US Census. In 1960, Charleston had a population of 85,796. The city has gotten smaller every decade since and now has fewer than 50,000 people. Preliminary census data released in April suggests…

Cincinnati’s Crossroads uses entrepreneurial strategies for gospel ends. The fastest-growing congregation in America is one you may never have heard of with a name you hear everywhere: Crossroads Church. Crossroads are about as common as First Baptists among today’s non-denominational, contemporary churches. But this particular Crossroads, based in Cincinnati, could have a location near you in coming years if all goes according to plan. It has set out to take on nationwide influence, leveraging data from its app and streaming services to choose where to launch new campuses. Just over two decades old, the booming church still functions like a…