Religion Today Summaries - June 16, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 16, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • In Cosmopolitan New York, Graham to Preach One Gospel to Many Ethnic
  • Wash. Pastor's Opposition to Special Rights Bill Earns Homosexuals' Enmity
  • ‘Evangelism Tickets’ Sponsors Provide Complimentary Admissions For The
  •  'Cowboy Churches' Round Up Riding Community for Fellowship

In Cosmopolitan New York, Graham to Preach One Gospel to Many Ethnic Groups
Jason Anthony, Religion News Service

In 1957, when Billy Graham's New York City crusade launched him into the national spotlight, he took the chance to cross racial lines in an age of segregation. On June 24-26, Graham, now a feeble 86, will hold possibly his final crusade in New York, this time with a goal of speaking to "the entire world, every ethnic group." It has his team scrambling to find volunteers who can deliver "the good news" in more than 20 languages. "It's massive. The publicity, the trainings, the arrangements," says Graham language coordinator John Sowers, whose cubicle is now dwarfed by piles of Graham's tracts in Urdu and Cantonese. "It's shocking how diverse this city is." Reaching out to the largest possible audience is typical of Graham, known for his lifelong habit of casting a wide net.

Wash. Pastor's Opposition to Special Rights Bill Earns Homosexuals' Enmity
Jim Brown, Agape Press

For six years, Antioch Bible Church in Redmond has been renting district facilities for worship services to the tune of more than $140,000 a year. But now, the Lake Washington Education Association wants the church booted off campus, as the group claims the church's pastor is bigoted and intolerant of others. The pastor of Antioch Bible Church is former NFL linebacker Ken Hutcherson, who recently threatened to launch a nationwide boycott of Microsoft if the company supported a bill in the state legislature that would have established sexual orientation as a civil right in Washington State. Hutcherson believes homosexual activists are upset that he successfully lobbied Microsoft to withdraw support for the homosexual rights legislation. "When they lost that bill," the athlete turned evangelist contends, homosexual activists in Washington realized that "they have to do something to discredit me or they're going to have problems in future bills and future things they do in this state." Hutcherson believes that is why Kevin Teeley, the openly homosexual head of the Lake Washington Education Association, has been leveling charges of bigotry and intolerance against him and trying to get Antioch Bible Church barred from renting district facilities. However, the pastor feels it is the teachers union president who is demonstrating intolerance and a lack of love for those who hold views that differ from his own.

‘Evangelism Tickets’ Sponsors Provide Complimentary Admissions For The
Religion News Service

In a continuing effort to impact the culture, announced that event-goers can now register on-line to request free tickets for unchurched friends and neighbors to attend Christian events and activities. "This is a significant new step to help sponsors of ETickets connect with users of ETickets", said Justin Smith, President and CEO of the company who launched the 'Evangelism Tickets' Strategy late in 2004. "The strategy is a simple one", he says.  "Buy a ticket for an unchurched friend to attend a Christian event for free. It is a form of outreach that works for any workshop, seminar, conference, retreat, golf tournament, concert, pageant, theatrical performance, mission trip, banquet, youth camp or outing -- any event requiring an admission to attend.” Smith believes that most successful evangelism is relationship-based and is best initiated and administered at the local level by churches and faith-based organizations. "Further", he states, "attending quality events is the most non-threatening introduction to a church family or local ministry." Faith-based groups who embrace the strategy and designate 10% of their admissions for outreach can sell them on-line for free at "Think of us as Ticketmaster with a cause", Smith says.

'Cowboy Churches' Round Up Riding Community for Fellowship
Allie Martin, AgapePress

A North Carolina minister is reaching out to a group he claims is often forgotten by mainstream churches. Thanks to his innovative ministry, members of the saddle and spur set now have somewhere to hang their hats and worship -- at any of several spiritual hitching posts that Pastor Jeff Smith calls "cowboy churches." As he interacted with modern cowboys, he says he realized the mainstream churches were just not reaching them. So, the riding reverend started a weekly "cowboy church," which met in a rodeo arena on a weeknight. He says the services attracted many people who tend to feel out of place at most other churches. According to the North Carolina clergyman, the cowboy churches do not resemble traditional churches much, and nor do its typical attendees much resemble those in mainstream congregations. "They come in their boots, blue jeans, belt buckles, cowboy hats, or maybe sneakers and a ball cap. We don't require them to dress in a suit and tie and all that," Smith notes. He points out that Sunday services would not work well for a typical cowboy church, since competitions are often scheduled across weekends and "because for these folks, some of them, this is their livelihood." Worship is held on a weeknight. Smith has planted 11 cowboy churches so far. He says his goal is to open at least 10 such churches a year.