Posts Tagged ‘megachurches’


Phillip Sinitiere on the Osteens & Lakewood Church

Joel Osteen has risen to fame and popularity over the past decade and a half, and not without much criticism for his spiritual message and preaching style. Prof. Phillip Sinitiere examines the founding and growth of Lakewood Church, dating back to John Osteen, to put the Osteen phenomenon into a broader context. We examine the history of the Osteens, the institutional development and innovativeness of Lakewood Church, as well as the development of the prosperity gospel and what it all entails. The story that emerges is more nuanced than either supporters or detractors paint.

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Thom S. Rainer on Baptist Conventions & Church Health

Have you ever wondered what goes on at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting? Dr. Thom S. Rainer, prodigous author and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, gives us some background on the SBC’s convention and what issues were raised in during the June 2013 meeting, including mental health and chartering the Boy Scouts. We also discuss various trends affecting America’s religious landscape, including the growth in large churches at the possible expense of smaller congregations and the faith of the Millenials (individuals born between 1980 and 2000). Dr. Rainer also talks about what leads to church stagnation, what it takes to turn those churches around, and a few not-so-obvious pointers on how to guarantee a vibrant church.

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Barry Hankins on Jesus, Gin, and The Culture Wars

You constantly hear how our contemporary era is in the throes of a “culture war” pitting the forces of secularism against religious fundamentalists. Would you be surprised to learn that this is not particularly new in American history? Prof. Barry Hankins (Baylor), author of “Jesus & Gin,” notes that cultural wars are quite common in American history. We spend time discussing one of the more prominent moments when this was true, The Roaring ’20s. We focus on Prohibition, big-name evangelists such as Billy Sunday, and the fundamentalist-modernist divide that was growing within Christianity. This podcast is a great antidote to those who think that we are living in unique times and that the secular is now conquering the religious.

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David Wills on Religious Charity and Taxes

Just in time for every taxpayer’s favorite day — April 15 — David Wills, president of the National Christian Foundation, joins us to discuss religious charity and how government spending & taxes can affect where private donations flow. We discuss some potential changes to the tax code, including the definition of what might count as a “charitable organization.” Anyone who runs a charitable organization or who makes even the smallest of financial donations to religious groups will want to listen to this episode.

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Kevin den Dulk on Religion, Education, and Civic Engagement

With all the talk about declining levels of civic engagement in the United States, is there any evidence that religious education might play a role in promoting community involvement among youth and young adults? Prof. Kevin den Dulk discusses his research into this question and observes that some types of religious education — most notably Protestant private schooling — does tend to facilitate civic involvement in young adulthood. Kevin compares Protestants with Catholic private schools, secular parochial schools, public education and homeschoolers. Our discussion also engages the topic of whether or not civic participation is really declining in American life.

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Christopher Scheitle’s Religious Road Trip

What do you get when to take a seasoned sociologist and a senior research associate, put them in a rented Dodge Charger for six weeks, and them tell them to find academic enlightenment? A religious road trip, that’s what! Christopher Scheitle tells us tales of his trip with Roger Finke to far flung places such as Memphis, Houston, Colorado Springs, San Francisco, Detroit and Brooklyn in search of what the American religious experience is all about. They visit a wide variety of congregations and take away some important lessons about the diversity and similarities of religious folks in the United States. We also find out who is the better driver – Chris or Roger.

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Jeff Rose on Street Preaching

What would you do if you were a street preacher and someone poured beer on your head, blew smoke in your face, and threatened you with a knife? Jeff Rose of JeremiahCry Ministries has had that experience and he reveals his response in this fascinating interview that covers Jeff’s path to the street preaching profession and what it takes to be a street preacher.

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Dave Travis on Megachurch Myths

The rise of megachurches has been one of the most interesting phenomenon shaking up the American religous landscape in recent decades. Dave Travis of the Leadership Network joins us to discuss what thse megachuchs are and look like. Along the way he counters some of the more frequent myths associted with these large congregations, including that they are “too large,” and “too theologically shalow.” We also think about the future of megachuches.

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Larry Osborne on Church Finances and Growth

Should pastors know what individual congregants tithe? This question set off a debate on Christianity today and we pick it up with Pastor Larry Osborne (North Coast Church in Vista, CA), who admittedly changed his view on this question. He explains why and our conversation also covers other interesting facets of church financing. We also discuss some of the strategies that Pastor Osborne has used to help his church grow from a small Bible Study to a church that serves over 8,000 congregants each week across three campuses.

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David Wills on Religious Charity and Taxes

Just in time for every taxpayer’s favorite day — April 15 — David Wills, president of the National Christian Foundation, joins us to discuss religious charity and how government spending & taxes can affect where private donations flow. We discuss some potential changes to the tax code, including the definition of what might count as a “charitable organization.” Anyone who runs a charitable organization or who makes even the smallest of financial donations to religious groups will want to listen to this episode. If you know of others who may be interested, please spread the word.

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