Dead Church Walking

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The Colorado Springs mega-church 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, amount to about 12% of the church’s workforce, associate pastor Rob Brendle said. He estimated that the income of the 14,000-member church had fallen 10%, forcing layoffs including pastoral staff, support staff and nursery workers.

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19 thoughts on “Dead Church Walking”

  1. Nor can I. I doubt any of those people were getting paid enough to build an unemployment reserve.As for the causes, evangelical churches tend to be pretty personality-focused. When Ted fell, a number of people probably bolted because they identified too strongly with him. Walking into church was probably like walking into a bad memory. Sad.

  2. What I don’t get about the whole Haggard thing, is why so many people have stayed on at New Life.Their senior pastor was publicly bashing gays while he was having a three-year meth-fuelled relationship with a male escort..and 9 out of 10 people at the church have subsequently said,’yup..this is the church for me.’

  3. As very much a “one-man band” I can’t easily get my head around a church having 44 people to lay off!(But I’m a Brit… adopts accent, <>“and we do things differently around here”<>)

  4. nice one zeke…I have a very good friend who was once part a much much smaller church here in SoCal, and they were (and unfortunatly still are) also a “dead church walking”. What’s crazy about them though, is they didn’t experience any wild kind of scandal or even pastoral vacancy’s. It’s a simple question of poor leadership.Obviously old Teddy was investing more of his time and money into meth and boy-toys, and less of his leadership and heart into that church fellowship. I think that his ‘fame’ had play in this as well, but I think it just shows that churches, for better or worse, are communities-like any other-that need strong, consistant, and genuine leadership. It is however also a testement to the ‘rest’ of his ‘team’, and what role they did or didn’t have at the core of that church. If you hand EVERYTHING over to your fearless leader, and leave no one around to provide counsel, streangth, balance, and perspective, sooner or later…you’re goin’ down.sad. not surprising, just sad.

  5. I feel bad for Ted and I feel bad for people who are still struggling in this church and I feel bad for those that have left. But it is times like these when churches learn who has been coming to Church and who has been coming to cult. While I guess I can understand the uneasiness of these newly vacated parishioners, I would also bet along with lowendaction that Pastor Ted’s “fame” had a role to play (I would say though that this “fame” is a byproduct of the kind of church culture that these types of churches grow). I would not however blame Ted solely for this. Some people simply endear themselves to personalities. Some people put the minister up on the pedestal whether that person wants to be their or not.

  6. It is also sad that this church was unable to welcome their pastor back into their midst. Here was an amazing opportunity lost to understand the pain of being gay and having to hide it. Even if people believe being gay is sinful – all that was demonstrated is that some “sins” are unforgivable.

  7. That was pretty funny…I’m definitely NOT a male prostitute, ha, ha.NO, since the report said nothing about losing members, my mind began to wonder about the impact that Ted Haggard’s own family (including relatives, if any) and close personal friends had on the overall income of the church. I can imagine it might have been substantial.Come to think of it, I know some people who probably contributed to his church that probably don’t now, just because of their connection with him personally. They are traveling “musicionaries” that met him somewhere due to his high profile.Maybe it’s not the members of his church who are giving less or who put him up on the pedestal, maybe it’s all the personal friends and contacts who don’t attend who have stopped giving to this church.The lesson for me always goes back to staying away from celebrity and stop advertising yourself just to make money. The church is paying for it now because they can no longer count on those outside contributions. Their celebrity has fallen. Worse, they now have stains. It’ll be tough for those 44. They need our prayers.

  8. Still, these are people losing their jobs. Here in MI, we see tons of factory workers that are losing their jobs and are pretty much screwed. I see these pastors in the same light. These are people dependant upon that money. As much as I’d love to gloat over “them getting theirs”, I can’t.

  9. Copying-and-pasting a comment I left about this at Edge of Faith…<>What’s worse, I think, is that other fundie-gelicals would probably consider this to be some form of God’s wrath coming down on that church because Ted Haggard’s “sin” went unpunished or whatnot for so long. Or some such nonsense.<>

  10. Ordinarily, I’d say, “Good riddance,” but Ted’s group the NATIONAL ASSN of EVANGELICALS is one of few groups responding to creation care as a moral issue.Why can’t Dobson get caught with his pants down, or how about Falwell?

  11. It sounds very business-like this church. I don’t get the concept all that much but I think resources should now be poured from the church to help the 44 who have to find other jobs (so they have some financial stability. The idea being they can help fund missions – let them help fund those who also need the help (in a real time of need).

  12. jimmybob…you wouldn’t happen to be a male prostitute, selling a little meth on the side, would you?i’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist!(nothing personal bro!)but seriously, do you really think that he was contributing 10% of the churches income (based on what i remember from saddleback, I would estimate that to be aprox $ 2,000,000 p/yr-which is probably a very conservative estimate)? I wonder what his balance book looked like:– car payment $ 475– morgage $ 2,500– male prostitute $ 150– diamond watch for wife $ 8,950– meth habbit $ 475– tithe $ 200,000now that takes some serious accounting know-how to keep all those numbers in the black…ok…i think i’m going to go and start praying for me now!

  13. amen jefe! you summed it up perfectly!!the second Christ is no longer the head of the church…we might as well be Highlanders without a sword handy…

  14. FYI – This is a little known fact.Most churches do not pay into the unemployment system since they are not required to by law. They can contribute, they just choose not to. So, when pastors or other staff are laid off due to financial reasons like this, they cannot even get a benefit that most Americans rely on in times like this.

  15. Another thought just occured to me. I wonder how much Ted and his family were giving to the church before he was fired? How much income did the church receive from Ted’s personal friends?The brief report posted here says nothing about losing members, just falling income.I don’t know.

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