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John, Good article. The church has always been messy. Having church members with personal problems is nothing new, so I have to say that having been on all sides of this discussion—a church member, a pastor and an employee of a denomination in her corporate offices, I have to say that greatest problem is "modern Americans have increasingly treated the church like a corporation and the pastor like a CEO." and the abuse of power by the leadership. A goal of any corporation is to become as big and successful as she can. So, once we started to look at the church as a corporation, growth in numbers became the sign of success and every pastor was forced to increase his/her church attendance (to show that God was with them) at the cost of evangelism and I believe that's why the church is in decline. Usually, speaking at a church, I ask the following from the members, "how many of you were saved at this church and how many of you are transferred members?" I'm willing to bit that in any American church at any given Sunday 80-90% of the members are transferred Christians (I've been to churches where 100% were transferred). If we don't evangelize, sooner of later we'll run out church members. I have nothing against mega churches. However,most, if not all, mega churches don't become mega because of evangelism. They are mega at the expense of smaller churches. If they continue to devour members of other churches, pretty soon, there will be nothing to devour.
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Jan 31, 2012