Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Pastors Shift Church Focus from Big to Reproductive
The Christian Post reports that more than 1,800 church planting beginners and veterans are gathered in Orlando, Fla., at a time when church growth is not just about being big. "It seems like there's a shift that's happening on how churches 'keep score,'" said Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. "It's not just about being big ... but it's also about how do we continue to reproduce (new sites, churches, networks)." The National New Church Conference had first drawn 250 people in Baltimore two years ago. Last year's conference grew to over 800 church planters and this year, the attendance has more than doubled.
Moderate Muslims Speak Out, but not on PBS
Islamists are working to build "parallel societies" with the aim of imposing strict Islamic law in parts of the West, according to a documentary the Public Broadcasting System has chosen not to air, CNSNews.com. "Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center" highlights the work of moderate Muslims who oppose the Islamist agenda and are willing to speak out. PBS officials decided against airing the film, which PBS's Robert MacNeil told the Diane Rehm Show earlier this month was "one-sided" and "alarmist." Some of the key Muslim figures featured in the documentary believe PBS is practicing censorship and doing a disservice to the American public. The film, which was supposed to be part of a PBS series, cost taxpayers more than $600,000.
BarlowGirl Sisters Boost Nat'l Day of Prayer
BarlowGirl, three sisters who are one of the top bands in contemporary Christian music, are on board with this year's National Day of Prayer, Baptist Press reports. "We want to be a part of encouraging people to press into God, pray and seek His face, then watch Him move in their lives," Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow said in a statement on the nationaldayofprayer.org website. "If there is one thing we've experienced in our lives, it is that prayer changes things." BarlowGirl, as this year's NDP youth ambassador, is encouraging students -– and people of all ages -– to participate in the May 3 National Day of Prayer. "BarlowGirl is reaching out to a generation of young people who are passionate about the things of God, calling them to action and challenging them to make an impact in their communities," said Michael Calhoun, director of marketing and communications for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. BarlowGirl and several other Christian artists released a special song for the National Day of Prayer, titled "We Pray" (to hear the single, visit www.ndptf.org and click on the Youth section).
Smoking Curtails Bible Production
There are at least two good reasons to stop smoking. Number one: It may damage your health. Number tw It raises the production costs for bibles, ASSIST News Service reports. The Chinese craving for cigarettes is responsible for rising paper costs in bible printing, according to the business manager of the German Bible Society, Felix Breidenstein. Because of the rising demand for cigarette paper in China the special thin paper used in bible printing is getting more expensive, as Breidenstein told the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The German Bible Society sells approximately 400,000 bibles per year.