*How do preachers, particularly megachurch pastors, prepare for sermons every week? Where do they get their ideas? Do they ever get nervous? And how do they deal with both criticism and praise?
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According to The Christian Post, those are some of the questions that a group of well-known pastors responded to during a webcast Thursday that was designed to help pastors across the country preach better sermons.
According to Casey Graham, founder of PreachingRocket.com, which led the event, 90 percent of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching. And 92 percent of people return to a church because of a sermon.
With that, the preachbettersermons.com event was launched to provide insights into the way some of the country’s most influential pastors do what they do and to provide a community in the lonely world of preparing and preaching sermons.
Read the full story at The Christian Post.
*Atlanta based mega-church pastor Creflo Dollar is planning to build another mega-church in New York City.
According to the NY Post, Dollar made a presentation to purchase Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx and hopes to turn the facility into an arena sized worship center.
Once source said, “He’s got a huge following and needs an arena… You’d be handing over a public property to a religious institution. That would require a lot of discussion.”
But another source contends the possibility, saying there is no way he’d take over the city-owned facility, even though his ministries rake in over $65 million a year.
The preacher already preaches to a full 8,500-seat auditorium in Atlanta.
About the Kingsbridge 5-acre site, city officials have been trying to figure out what to do with the facility since the ’90s.
So maybe there’s hope for the private jet-flying preacher.
Read/learn more at NY Post.
*Bishop Eddie Long is launching satellite branches of his Lithonia, GA-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and announced Sunday that the first one is in Birmingham, Ala.
The church is called New Birth Birmingham, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And New Birth Denver is currently in the works.
Long also said the Lithonia megachurch recently received its certified audit back from 2010 and 2009. He didn’t explain why the audit was conducted. “All your money’s being done right and being calculated right,” he said from the pulpit, then asked parishioners with deep pockets to make larger donations ($500 to $1,000) as a seed for the ministry, the newspaper reports.
Four lawsuits against Long and the Lithonia megachurch were recently dismissed in DeKalb County State Court. Four young men allege Long coerced them into sexual relations using trips, gifts and jobs. Settlement terms are confidential.
*Being a pastor of a church pays, especially a megachurch. While hundreds of churches across the U.S. have experienced some hardship, along with their congregations, others have apparently prospered.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports
“In metro Atlanta and elsewhere, the number of megachurches, which have long been defined as having a weekly attendance of 2,000 or more, are still drawing huge numbers of worshippers and receiving millions of dollars in the collection plate.”
Amazingly, the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, has an annual budget of $40 million — only $10.3 million less than the city of Alpharetta.
While some megachurches have hit hard times (the Rev. Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral recently filed for bankruptcy), their leaders have, historically, lived quite well.
Creflo A. Dollar, pastor of Atlanta’s World Changers Church, preaches the “prosperity gospel,” which may or may not bring prosperity to his flock. But it definitely brings prosperity to him.
Read the full story here
*CNN is reporting that two Georgia men have filed a lawsuit claiming that Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long coerced them into sex.
The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex.
Long took one plaintiff, Anthony Flagg, 21, to overnight trips to a half dozen American cities, Flagg’s suit alleges.
“Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact,” the suit says.
Long spokesman Art Franklin said Tuesday that “we categorically deny the allegations.”
“It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action,” he said. “Our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit.”
The suits are seeking unspecified amounts of punitive damages from Long on various counts, ranging from negligence to breach of fiduciary duty.
*For the first time ever, two of the most dynamic mega church preachers came together in a joint effort in Texas at Lakewood Church, and the result were tremendous.
Pastor Joel Osteen asked Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas to preach. So why is that such a big deal and how did it happen? KTRK-TV talked to both mega-ministers about how they got together in an exclusive interview.
A funny thing happened on the way to the service. Jakes called Osteen, hoping to get Lakewood to host a men’s conference. A quick tour turned into an all-day session.
“We talked about how he got started and how he prepares messages and things like that,” said Osteen. “But other than that, we just had fun.”
They’d known each other for years, but not well.
“I have always loved him from afar and prayed for him, as he rose to the office of assuming his father’s mantle,” said Jakes. “I watched from a distance and prayed for him and imagined that it was my son. I was praying for him like he was a little kid, you know.”
Read the full story here.