According to Asia Harvest, there are approximately 84 million Protestant Christians and 21 million Catholics in China. That sounds like a lot of people, but it represents only 7.7 percent of China’s population. Compared to only four million in 1949, the number of Christians has rapidly increased, especially since the government eased religious restrictions in the 1970s. That said, Communist China keeps a watchful eye on churchgoers, forcing them to document their activity. The government also tears down church buildings or the distinguishing mark of their cross in the name of beauty.
Online Seminaries and schools are quickly becoming a preferred way to earn a degree or certificate. Certainly there are stereotypes that hinder students from pursuing the options more actively. One reason students shy away from online seminaries is the perception the courses lacking accountability, given the flexibility. However, we’ve found that the biggest advantage for online seminaries is the possibility of pursuing a Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Science, or even in some cases, a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies while maintaining a full-time job! And, if you can stick to a schedule and organize your week, the flexibility might become a shared advantage to online classes.
As the summer begins, it might be fruitful and challenging to ask about vacations. Is it biblical to take a summer vacation? Is vacation such a modern invention of time that the Bible doesn’t answer the question? Like other cultural assumptions, are we simply accepting a practice as normative without investigating it through the lens of God’s Word? How can we as church leaders begin to unpack this question for our parishioners?
South Sudan is a landlocked country that claimed its independence in 2011, making it the world’s newest nation. Sudan is in the north, Ethiopia is to its east, and there are four other countries that border it. According to Samaritan’s Purse, there’s a level 4 famine occurring in the country, which means, “Widespread social breakdown; markets close; survival strategies widespread; affected population identifies food scarcity as the major societal problem.”
One of the greatest joys of a father is serving his family. The more we aim to treat our family like our Father treats us, the better impact we’ll have on them becoming followers of Jesus. As fathers, let’s set the tone early and prepare to enter this Sunday with a grateful heart—even if we add another necktie to our already-full collection.
Are you looking to serve as a worship leader or worship pastor? Do you know someone who might be interested in starting their search? Our Top 20 list of Universities & Schools for Worship Ministry is a healthy place to start. We based our selections on five criteria: (1) reputation; (2) facilities; (3) faculty; (4) location; (5) offerings. Both large and small schools made our list.
What is it like being an artist in the local church today? If you are musical, you surely have an honored place in the worship team, but if you are a visual artist, a dancer, an actor, or write for TV or movies, how does the local church view your work? What if your work as an artist is not inside the local church. Creative professionals at times are lost in our church community. I have friends who produce music for video games, write books, and design illustrations for a living. We all readily appreciate the engineer, the dentist, or business man at church. They are the majority in a way. We can identify their work and quantify its relevance to our daily lives, but if our young people want to be creative professionals, often parents feel they didn’t raise their child properly. Try having a boy tell his dad he wants to be in a band and tour and you might hear the “get a real job first” and “something you can fall back on” speech.
Syria. If you drive to the northern most point in Israel, you can look at its southern border. That’s how close it is to Jerusalem; even closer to the Sea of Galilee. Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus, a city in the south of Syria, when he’s blinded. According to today’s statistics, Christians in Syria have dwindled from 30% in the 1920s to about 11% or less today (BBC). The Voice of Martyrs puts the current number of Christians as 5.9%. When we look at the population as a whole, according to the Catholic News Agency, “Over 280,000 people have died since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011. Another 12.8 million people have been forced from their homes.” It’s a place rife with challenges no matter what, and especially if you’re a Christian.
On May 21, 2017, after 147 years, the Ringling Brothers Circus and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended. No more clowns, no more tigers, no more daredevils shot from cannons. And no more elephant tricks, which ended earlier. Founded through the merging of several circus companies in the 1860s and 70s, the circus brought elements of carnival, freak show, museum attraction, and zoo animals together in one. There was nothing like it in the world. It was the greatest show on Earth!