PMT 2017-039 by Kate Shellnutt (Christianity Today)
Amid the decades-long decline in mainline Protestantism in North America, researchers in Canada recently found an “elusive sample” of congregations whose growth has bucked the trend.
The key characteristic these exceptional Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and United churches had in common? Evangelical theology.
With fewer evangelicals and more secular surroundings than their brethren in the United States, Canada’s mainline denominations collectively lost half of their members over the past 50 years. Continue reading
PMT 2016-090 by Jeremy Weber in Christianity Today
Gentry note: Christianity is experiencing growth in many unexpected parts of the world. Let’s pray for its continued growth and its growth into Reformed maturity.
The world’s most unexpected megachurch pastor might be an illiterate, barefoot father of five.
Bhagwana Lal grows maize and raises goats on a hilltop in Rajasthan, India’s largest state, famous for its supply of marble that graces the Taj Mahal. He belongs to the tribals: the cultural group below the Dalits, whose members are literally outcasts from India’s caste system (and often called “thumb signers” because of how they vote).
Yet every Sunday, his one-room church, with cheerful blue windows and ceiling fans barely six feet off the ground, pulls in 2,000 people. His indigenous congregation draws from local farmers, whose families’ members take turns attending so that someone is tending the family’s animals. The cracks in the church’s white outer walls are a source of pride: They mark the three times the building has been expanded. Continue reading
PMT 2016-048 by Brian Douglas
Fear for the church’s future is trending. It’s almost too easy nowadays to fall into despair: Christians’ interactions with culture and politics can often seem clumsy or foolish, and you don’t have to look far for biblical compromise, destructive power-plays, or “scandal du jour” moral failure. Compounding the problem is the fact that the modern church has been shattered into 30,000 to 42,000 denominations (depending on which study you read)-a degree of division that further damages its credibility. Continue reading