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VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 3   |   Release date: July 15, 2004

In This Issue
U.S. Constitution to be Canonized!
Apple CEO Offends
Church Dumps Free Will Offerings
Increased Home Sunday Schooling
Gibson Near Top of Name-Dropping List
Survey Results
July Church Sign of the Month

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Gibson Nearly Tops List of Names Dropped by Egotistical Pastors
Christ Captures Top Spot for 1,971st Consecutive Year
Evidently, anybody who is somebody in the ministry in 2004 will have uttered words similar to these: "When I was at a private pre-screening of the Passion with Mel Gibson," or "I spoke with Mel before the premiere of the Passion, and..." SermonTrac, a pulpit-mounted homily-tracking device used in over 2,500 churches across America has recorded sermons from a broad scope of denominational and independent churches through the first half of the year.

SermonTrac founder and CEO Don Price says the results indicate a striking upsurge in both egomania and insecurity among American clergy. "Why these guys feel the need to mention Gibson in every other sermon is baffling. That said, the data clearly shows that a Gibson name drop separates successful pastors from the marginal ministers. If you weren't invited to a sneak preview of the Passion, then who are you?" This year alone, Pastor Greg Laurie of 15,000-member Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has mentioned Gibson's name a record 103 times on his daily radio broadcast "A New Beginning". Says the popular preacher and evangelist, "A personal Gibson anecdote pretty much impresses everyone. And when a sermon is lagging, Gibson is to preaching like fix-a-flat is to a tire. His name always snaps 'em back to attention. If I wanted to, I could go up there totally unprepared for weeks on end, mention that Mel and I ride Harleys together and the tapes would be flying off the duplicators."

Unfortunately, the Gibson phenomenon has had ill effects as well. Price told THO staffers that many preachers have fibbed about hanging out with Mel in order to gain street cred. "This one E.V. Free preacher in Iowa was out of control. They only pull about 70, so obviously Gibson wouldn't give him a call. But we have him on MP3 telling the folks that he and Mel are accountability partners. It's sad, but it's happening."

Price noted that Gibson knocked Billy Graham out of second place, who had previously held that spot for 17 years. "Regrettably, with Billy Graham's illness this year he hasn't been able to do many crusades. Thus, the pastors haven't had much opportunity to get out there and rub elbows with him and then talk about it on Sundays. Still, lots of them told their congregations that they, 'had spoken with Ruth, and Billy is doing okay. Please keep him in prayer.'" Price also mentioned that Jesus has a stranglehold on SermonTrac's list due to the fact that all preachers have mentioned something that the Lord "had spoken to their hearts."

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