When considering a local church home, it may be wise to first consider whether your target church may be looking at breaking away from its national or local affiliation. Considerable breakaway activity is being seen in the church community across the U.S.
Often when churches break away, it can be over theological concerns, such as the right of use of church property, or social issues like gay ordination, to name a few. These can be traumatic times for churches, threatening membership growth and impairing the rights to use local church properties.
Depending on how the breakaway is negotiated, the end result could be a virtually empty church or part of a church looking for a home.
For example, several years ago the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly voted to allow for the ordination of noncelibate gay people. (Please note this article’s focus is not about this issue but merely an example of why many churches are imploding.) As a result of this decision, many Presbyterian churches began leaving the fold. In 2012, a group of concerned clergy and individuals formed an entity to encompass these breakaway churches. ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians was formed in response to these challenges. Essentially it’s a denominational structure under the Fellowship of Presbyterians. This reform group strongly feels the PC (USA) has no business changing scriptural authority. As of recent count, ECO encompasses more than 115 churches and congregations nationally, a rapidly growing number.