Three of four churches in the USA have less than 100 members. I cannot forecast how many are about four deaths/relocations/nursing home moves, etc., from no longer functioning as a congregation.
Some sharp group might coalesce around these ideas; most churches are small, most large churches draw from the evangelism of small churches, small churches are dying and this might not be good. How do we heal the churches?
Conventions and associations essentially exist because they have existed for awhile, so that some of our older folks cannot imagine doing business without them. The conventions/associations are hamstrung by poor leadership, scandal, division and the "image" problem. Larger bodies cannot appear to be "siding" with churches against the preachers or with preachers against the churches. Massive amounts of money are spent each year on repetitive, redundant services, resources and meetings the average churchman could locate with a cell phone and a search engine.
In Texas baptist life, the occasional Charles Price or Tom Billings or David Smith or Randy Babin are rare persons indeed. Sorry to paint a bull's eye on those fellows but they are very, very good and I do not want to leave them unmentioned, bobbing helplessly in a Gulf of Toil polluted by the inky deposits of the usual profit gatherers.
There is a vast need for renewal. A recent post at spiritualsamurai2010 suggests how we might move on to renewal. I suggest its reading and adoption. It does not matter whom a few retainers fulminate into office at a convention that might meet, as one has said, in a phone booth. There is nothing there and someone must now ask, "What is next?"