Monday, March 05, 2007

The Empty Halls of a Megachurch

Remember the Ted Haggard scandal? It has had its impact on his church:

The megachurch founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was fired over drug and sex allegations, has laid off 44 people amid falling income following the scandal.

The cuts announced during services Sunday amount to about 12 percent of the church's work force, associate pastor Rob Brendle said.

Brendle estimated that church income has fallen 10 percent since the scandal last fall, forcing layoffs including pastoral staff, support staff and nursery workers.

Am I right in thinking that many of these megachurches are quite dependent on the charisma of one pastor? I recall reading about the relatively short life of those churches which lose their star preachers.

I'm also wondering if these megachurches are one of those things which future history regards as a passing quirk in religion, or if they are here to stay and if the latter, if they are always going to be homes of wingnuttery.