Willow Creek Investigation: Bill Hybels Allegations Were Credible

Independent Advisory Group releases report backing claims of “sexually inappropriate words and actions” from the former pastor. An independent investigation has concluded that the sexual harassment allegations that led to Bill Hybels’s resignation last year are credible, based on a six-month investigation into the claims against the senior pastor and into Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) and the Willow Creek Association (WCA). The newly released 17-page report also places the... Read More

Should ISIS Brides Be Treated Like the Prodigal Son?

N. T. Wright suggests Jesus would disagree with the British government. Other Christians in UK, US, and Middle East weigh in. N. T. Wright, the esteemed theologian and former Anglican bishop, recently offered brief reflections on the case of Shamima Begum—the British teen now seeking to return home after joining ISIS in 2015—in a letter to the editor of The Timesof London. He wrote that “as a tax payer” he couldn’t fault a previous writer who warned against... Read More

I Inherited a Failed Sunday School. Here’s How It Flourished

Four counterintuitive keys to successful discipleship. When I married a priest, I cut a deal with him. “No children’s ministry,” I made him swear. “Not now, not ever.” At the time we got married, my husband was serving at a large, wealthy, urban parish where the staff was stacked with priests and lay employees. While I’m sure my presence as a children’s ministry volunteer would have been welcomed, there was no need or expectation of my... Read More

Dear Jesus, I Am a Sinner

Every time I lead a person to repeat those words, I am saying them to God on my own behalf. I’ve led thousands of people in the sweet “repeat after me” sinner’s prayer: “Dear Jesus, I am a sinner.” What the person praying with me doesn’t know is that every timeI lead a person to repeat those words, I am saying them to God on my own behalf. I am a sinner. No kidding, I really am—a really real sinner in utter, desperate need of God’s love... Read More

Hashtag Missions: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conferences

Gen Z’s digital natives bring followers along for the experience. “I think what I learned can be summed up like this: I can either live missionally, or live for nothing,” read an Instagram caption posted by Max Park, one of 7,000 young adults who attended the Cross Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, at the start of the year. That week, another 40,000 showed up for Passion in Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, DC, and more than 10,000 for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s... Read More

One-on-One with Russell Jeung on Emerging Adults in the Church

“This generation is less likely to affiliate with established religious groupings than previous ones, even if they do have a sense of spirituality.” Ed: How would you describe the state of Christianity and the church among emerging adults—18 to 29-year-olds—today? What are their biggest questions, concerns, or motivations? Russell: According to the Pew Research Center, over 50 percent of emerging adults identify as not religious. Three out of ten emerging adults are neither... Read More

United Methodists Vote To Keep Traditional Marriage Stance

Increasingly global delegation outweighs American push to shift LGBT stance, leading some progressive congregations to leave the denomination. After days of passionate debate, deliberation, and prayer—and years of tension within the denomination—the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa. The plan passed—with 438 votes in... Read More

The Church Made Vagina Sculptures Long Before Nadia Bolz-Weber

But early Christian yonic art symbolized baptism, not free sex. In case you haven’t heard, Nadia Bolz-Weber recently commissioned a statue of a vagina. She gifted the statue to Gloria Steinem, who I hope put it on her mantle (though in a pinch, it could also double as a paperweight or spoon rest). The sculpture exists in part to promote Bolz-Weber’s new book, Shameless, and in part as a kind of performance art protest against the damage done by “purity culture.” She... Read More

One-on-One with Rich Nathan on Immigration and Diversity at Columbus Vineyard

“If you can bring people together in safe spaces where they get to know each other as people and not as issues, you can see a lot of change.” Ed: Give me an example of when Christians in your community have done good things that were surprising or that undermined the perceptions unbelievers had about who Christians are and what they do. Rich: One of the places that we've really stepped into is immigration. We set up immigration counseling services. We're one of two immigration... Read More

Seven Benefits to the Coming Opposition

The church of Jesus Christ has always resembled her King best when she was in a place, not of dominance, but of yielded weakness. Will the church in North America face an increasing spirit of hostility to its accustomed status of cultural privilege? Absolutely. The question is not, ‘if,’ but, ‘when?’ And my suspicion is that it’s coming much sooner than most would expect. The coming cultural backlash to our unrestrained ties to political power will become a... Read More