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An excellent essay; I have forwarded the link and shared printed copies with several relatives and a few Lutheran pastors.
The mainstream protestant churches have corrupted the term "evangelism" by defining it as a head counting exercise. Good people who have been taught that definition are afraid of evangelism, because if the numbers don't increase, they believe they have failed.
Still, it's hard to not notice numbers. I've experienced one church closing in my life - a small country church on my father's side of the family. Sunday attendance was at 17 when the vote was taken to close.
"We must adjust to changing times, and still hold to unchanging principles," is a quote attributed to Jimmy Carter, and it is a serious challenge.

Brilliant post. I agree completely. I think that Orthodox should not be counting how many they are losing or give out "data" (which in a certain jurisdiction recently labeled as the fastest growing Christian body in the U.S. amounts to nothing more than a number pulled out of a hat by a committee of ecclesial bureaucrats) concerning their growth. Americans lust after numbers because of that perverse impulse that desires to do what others are doing. We should not accommodate them. One way to get away from such counting is to stop the per member "dues" which certain jurisdictions use to raise income. But then again, I would rather pay my dues than go back to the manipulative Protestant forms of fundraising I knew in my youth.

I loved the Tony Campolo line. I grew up American Baptist and was once taught that Campolo and Ron Sider were as deep as Christianity got. Thanks be to God I went on a missions trip to Russia during the summer before my Senior year of high school and met some poor Orthodox Christians in an age of hunger. I came back very hungry.


A wonderful piece. I've put some of it up on my own blog with a link.

Amen! Amen! Amen!

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