Have you ever wondered what is happening to churches today? Many have lost their sense of purpose, floundering for identity, in a sea of hundreds of other churches competing for the same people. Approximately 80 percent of “church growth” numbers can be attributed to people transferring from one church to another rather than new converts. As many as 3,000-4,000 churches close their doors every year—unable to stay open due to financial burdens, infrastructural turmoil and apathy.
In this discouraging environment, day in and day out, pastors and church leaders toil for the kingdom of God. Often overworked, underpaid and unappreciated, they deny themselves the luxury of time for rest and spiritual renewal. Is it any wonder that more than 1,500 pastors leave their churches every month due to spiritual burn-out, moral failure or contention within their congregation?
A miracle lifestyle begins in God’s presence
For decades, maybe centuries, the church has gathered weekly around a sermon. Our reasons are noble: We value the Scriptures and know that our lives are to be anchored in truth. But the study of the Scriptures is meant to launch us into an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ.
In that moment of connection, we obtain life. Without encountering the One to whom Scriptures point, we are a people to be pitied. As Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
Nearly every leader wants revival in one way or another, and many want healings, deliverances and miracles. But it’s hard to have the same fruit as the early church when we value a book they didn’t have above the Holy Spirit they did have.
I’m sure most Ministry Today readers are very aware that year-end giving campaigns are perhaps the most important fund-raising time for non-profit organizations. With 41 percent of all donations occurring in the last few weeks of December, the year-end campaign is a make or break proposition for many churches and most non-profits.
While you are crafting your year-end campaign I wanted to make sure you didn’t neglect the fastest growing way to connect with new givers—your online presence.
First, lets examine the facts. According to Charity Navigator’s survey, 93 percent of those surveyed said they gave during the 2010 year-end giving season. Of those who donated in 2010, 91 percent said they planned to give during the same period in 2011.
Check out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free app Charisma News by clicking here.
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Note: This story was retrieved from Ministry Today's archives and was published in Ministry Today Magazine in 2004.
Meet three pastors who left their churches to hit the books.
They are among a growing number of Pentecostals and charismatics pursuing higher education ... and a higher calling.
At 53, Bob Proy hit the books ... again. A former pastor with more than 20 years of ministry experience, Proy has spent the last several years in classrooms, furthering his education.
He recently earned masters' degrees in communication, and marriage and family counseling from Oral Roberts University (ORU). Now, he is devoting his doctoral studies at ORU to establishing an after-care program for inmates and their families.
Proy envisions establishing rehabilitation centers outside urban areas where ex-convicts and their families can be discipled while adjusting to post-prison life. And he says higher education is the spark that lit his vision for the future.
Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Lead and Succeed by Sara. J. Moulton Reger
David was the second king in Israel, and he was a great warrior both before and during his reign asking. This story of his leadership in battle was recounted at the time of his death:
David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless, he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men. (2 Samuel 23:14-17)