Is Eddie Long's Church Collapsing?

Elders are leaving, revenue is down, his arrogance is legendary and members of the mega-church are reportedly preparing to flee.

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Eddie Long (Getty Images)

According to a report from NewsOne and Elev8, a source within New Birth Missionary Baptist Church says that events in the wake of Bishop Eddie Long's sex scandal have amounted to a veritable "three strikes" against him and, possibly, the future of the institution. A settlement was reached in the case last month, and sources say that some members of the 25,000-member congregation are now ready to jump ship.

Why?

First, church elders are leading the way out the door. Just this week, the Rev. Bernice King (Martin Luther King Jr.'s youngest daughter) announced her departure (read "Bernice King to Leave Eddie Long's Church"). Many are expected to follow the woman whom they refer to as their "ministerial beacon."

Second, revenue for the church is way down. Gone are the days of the million-dollar-plus "love offerings" collected for Long. Church sources now say, "Attendance is down, forcing the church to make dramatic cutbacks." New Birth issued a press release explaining that like many churches, "New Birth and its faith community have been impacted by the nationwide downturn in the economy."

Third, Long's lack of humility (which manifests itself in an extravagant lifestyle that inspired an investigation by the federal government) and his homophobic politics have made him a target of increased criticism.

In light of all this, a church source told Elev8, "Now there are a whole bunch of people trying to figure out what their place is, what's going to happen to the church and what's going to happen to them."

It's unclear how many people constitute a "bunch." But given the dedication of the thousands of congregants who were willing to stick around even after the disturbing allegations of sexual abuse (not to mention the infamous bathroom cellphone pictures of the bishop in spandex), we're pretty certain that while New Birth's numbers might fluctuate somewhat, Long won't be out of a job anytime soon.

Read more at Elev8 and NewsOne.

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