I am going to have to be as ... (what is the word???) vague about the situation that i will explain so that no one will be able to pinpoint the church I am explaining.. (not good English). A decade ago I was told of a ministry that had been started and was slowly growing. It's a hearing church situation and the church had grown to a sizable amount of attendants. In two years time, the church had tripled in attendance and the revival that they had back then drew about 4 times the amount they usually have on Sunday morning. The church had purchased a large building, much larger than needed. Now, for revival, it was almost completely filled. The second night of revival was a complete disaster. The visiting speaker stood up and proceeded to make the most ridiculous remarks to the crowd, which was about 75% visitors who had no training in the area in which this man was speaking. To make a long story short, this singlehandedly KILLED the church in one night. The third night, which was the final night of revival, the church had lost ALL the visitors and only about half of the members showed up. This was a regular Wednesday night service, and there were only about half the people that usually showed up. The following Sunday, about the same number of people showed up. The narrow-minded message preached by this visiting preacher touched on everything from makeup for women to sex for married couples. He went through the usual ranting that a brainwashed person goes through and basically made everyone that did not do everything EXACTLY as his pastor did feel like they were CURSED. He used that word no less than 30 times in an hour. Not long after the revival, the church had slowly began to find people who had no knowledge of the events of the revival and came thinking that the church was fine. In time, the leader of the church was caught in the most horrendous crimes and accused by many of the town folk of being responsible for the death of one person. I personally never met the individual and cannot even form an opinion. After a divorce and remarriage, the church was in shambles and the entire community labeled this man and his wife as adulterers, and the man moved to another area and basically continued on a downward spiral. The church itself was left hurt, blind-sided by an attack of the Devil and just barely stayed open. Some of the people who had left came back and slowly began to convince people that everything was ok. The present pastor sent word to me yesterday that he has been praying about sending out a city-wide letter to everyone and let them know that things are different now, that the offending few have left and the church is returning slowly to its former glory. As it was explained to me, the church had been in a real struggle for two years and the growth has been less than encouraging. Those on visitation report that the town folk have still not forgotten what happened and that they are still too suspicious to return to this church, which was, at one, the best church in the area. I was asked to meet with this pastor when I can get out that way and discuss the possible options. For one thing, I truly HATE to see churches fall. I hate it.. one church that fell...when I went there to look over the stuff they were selling, I looked at the church scrap book and I saw all the smiles on the people's faces and I saw them working to build the church..the baptisms..the weddings... it brought tears to my eyes. I am AGAINST the closing of churches.. it just rips me to pieces. How do you rebuild a church with a scandalous reputation? (((((In New Orleans, some of the churches that have had big splits have never recovered. One split over a stained glass window and the building which seats about 500 people only has about 50 members now..imagine!!!)))) One visiting preacher who knows of this situation that I mentioned above and he says.. "tell the pastor to keep on preaching the Word". I just know I am not going to tell him to close the doors.. I cant do that... any thoughts????????????????????