Aww, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of heretics and dissenters. So, what's happening, you may ask?
Folks just aren't giving money like they used to (at the start of the Abuse crisis in the Church) and their member base has become so broad, it's hard to get a meaningful consensus on anything. VOTF has become a big tent for anti-hierarchians, women's ordinationistas, Choicers, Polygamist Priests (Christ and wife), and any other stripe of dissent from Magisterial teaching. While many camps are sympathetic to others, most folks are there to primarily support their own agenda.
“In addition to the financial crisis facing VOTF, Bill Casey identified a crisis in leadership. Evidence of this comes from the low response rates (a range of 1 percent to 5 percent) when members are asked for input on proposals,” [the Vinyard newsletter] said.
“VOTF as a whole has difficulty in reaching closure on decisions, Bill said, as well as difficulty in respecting others' positions. In the past few years, rather than leading, many have simply been engaged in fighting about leadership.
It's hard to get dissenters to stop dissenting sometimes, eh? Makes it difficult to get anything constructive done if people are always griping about the direction of the group. Reminds me of the Judean People's Front, or was that the People's Front of Judea?
There are financial issues as well:
Part of VOTF’s financial difficulties may lie in the rising amounts it spends soliciting contributions. It reported $64,224 in fund-raising expenses in 2003. It then reported $111,089 in fund-raising expenses for 2004, $151,549 for 2005 and $143,603 in “development” expenses in 2006. It reported $133,261 in development expenses for the first seven months of its current fiscal year
I guess it's getting harder and harder to get the big donations, so they're bringing in bigger sticks to beat the bushes with. There's another, more ironic problem:
Figures up to 2005 come from audited financial reports posted on its Web site. VOTF, which led an unsuccessful effort in Massachusetts to require churches to file an annual audited financial statement with the state each year, has not yet posted an audited statement of its own finances for the last fiscal year.
Everyone loves a hypocrite, especially as an accuser.