Churches could be risking their own futures by relying too much on government tax breaks, Francis Chan has warned.
Speaking to Premier Christianity magazine, the pastor and Crazy Love author warned that churches could find themselves financially struggling or even shuttering altogether if they lose tax breaks.
He suggested that the 'LGBT agenda' could jeopardise the tax breaks that so many churches in the West rely on to stay afloat.
'Do you realise how volatile our system is of our church gatherings? How much money it requires?' he said.
'All it takes is one law that changes the tax breaks that we get and so many churches would have to shut their doors.
'And when you look at the LGBT agenda, and whatever else is going on in the government, you just think: 'How can I continue with this system that is so dependent on so much money and so many breaks from the government?'
'That can't be the future. Too much has changed.'
Although he couldn't say for sure if persecution lay ahead for the US church, he revealed the level of his concern, adding 'it certainly seems like it's headed in that direction'.
Chan was the founder and pastor of the 5,000-strong Cornerstone Church in California's Simi Valley before walking away after 16 years at the helm in 2010.
In a talk with Facebook employees in 2017, he revealed that he quit Cornerstone after becoming disillusioned with the megachurch way of doing things.
'I got frustrated at a point, just biblically,' he said.
'I'm going wait a second. According to the Bible, every single one of these people has a supernatural gift that's meant to be used for the body.
'And I'm like 5,000 people show up every week to hear my gift, see my gift. That's a lot of waste. Then I started thinking how much does it cost to run this thing? Millions of dollars!
'So I'm wasting the human resource of these people that according to Scripture have a miraculous gift that they could contribute to the body but they're just sitting there quietly. ... [T]hey just sit there and listen to me.'
It's a theme he continues to explore in his newest book, Letters to the Church, in which he advocates for smaller churches and Christian home gatherings that forego the need for expensive buildings.
'The great movements around the world are not from one person preaching to thousands but by mobilising hundreds and thousands of believers to trust the word of God and trust the Holy Spirit,' he told Premier Christianity.