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Author Ray Furr

In an age of sound bytes, DVDs and laser shows, churches are rediscovering the ancient art of drama as a new, exciting element of worship. “There is a strong movement towards drama among evangelical and Black churches. The use of Christian drama in churches is escalating unbelievably,” John Alexander, founder of DramaShare, the world’s largest […] Read More

Most U.S. churches require backgrounds checks on clergy, but few screen volunteers. Seventy-two percent of churches require written applications from prospective staffers, and 26 percent of churches screen volunteers, according to a trend-tracking survey conducted by Christian Ministry Resources, the largest provider of legal, tax and risk management resources to churches. “We have found clergy […] Read More

There’s no shortage of students entering seminaries, but denominational leaders are scratching their heads and asking why there’s a growing shortage of pastors. In 2000, the total enrollment in 225 seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools was 72,728, with full-time students totaling 47,872. That was an increase of 7,091 students from the fall […] Read More

Seminaries may be the first line of defense in protecting church members from sexual abuse by clergy, but in congregationally governed parishes the ultimate responsibility is with the local church, according to screening experts. The Roman Catholic Church has paid more than a billion dollars in settlement costs to victims of pedophile priests. Now, some […] Read More

With so many changes in the tax law last year, some ministers might want to employ the services of a CPA or other tax expert for filing their 2001 federal income tax returns. The passage of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act in 2001 featured a $1.35 trillion tax-cut package and makes more […] Read More

People driving around with bumper stickers that read, “Aim higher boys, them rag heads is ridin’ camels,” may be conveying more than a warped sense of humor. They may be carrying around toxic anger. “Anger is an emotion and as such it is time-limited. It comes and goes on a more or less frequent basis. […] Read More

Besides the new Russian and Baltic states, New Zealand and Australia have some of the highest suicide rates in the world, according to World Health Organization data. The highest male suicides rates were found in the war-torn countries of Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Hungary. The highest female suicide rates were in […] Read More

When 19-year-old Jenna Bush was arrested, she was accused of possessing a “substance resembling beer,” according to undercover police officers. These “substances” or “alcopops” are the alcoholic beverages of choice for underage drinkers, according to recent studies. Mix beer with lemonade, chocolate milk or other sweet drinks, put it in some flashy colored packages that […] Read More

At 4:45 a.m. the clock rings in Littleton, Colo., just south of Denver. Bob and Jan Burnside are up and ready to roll because their task is urgent. For 10 years, the Mission Hills Church, a Swedish Baptist Congregation, has been actively involved in suicide intervention. Last December, Jan and Bob became co-directors of a […] Read More

They’ll know we are Christians by our love and by our bulging waistlines. And the larger the middle, the more likely you are to be pastor of a church. Obesity is a growing epidemic claiming some 300,000 lives each year. Defined as being overweight by 20 percent or by 25 to 35 pounds, physicians agree […] Read More