[ . . . ] but the first and most important step to starting a mission is to get the blessing of the Bishop to do so. You can't just start up a new church because you want to, you must have the support of the whole Church.
One of my pet issues is trying to understand why the Evangelicals and Pentecostals are enormously successful at attracting members from other, mainline branches of Christianity.
I suspect that part of the reason is this point --needing permission from a bishop in order to start a new church. The Evangelicals and Pentecostals don't have a formal hierarchy that gives structure to, and rules, and (in a sense) defines the Church. Instead, the local parish is the Church. Therefore, starting a church is much easier for them. Among the Evangelicals and Pentecostals, whoever feels inspired to start a church --and has the resources-- can do so: immediately.
I don't know about Ames, Iowa (where this Orthodox parish is being started), but I have read that much of Latin America --especially Brazil-- is converting to the Evangelicals and Pentecostals; and of course, most of them were once (at least nominally) Catholic. The same is true in the U.S. Is there a similar dynamic going on with Orthodoxy, in the U.S. or elsewhere, of losing members to Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism? And, if so, is this partially because starting a church is much easier in those denominations?
Having permission is not a bad thing. Saint Ignatious(I could of spelled his name wrong). But from what I can recall from one of his letters .....ah man....I forgot what he said in detail....but we are suppose to have their blessing/permission. I don't see anything wrong with it.
The Assembly of God is the Pentecostal group you are talking about. They have about 17 million members in Brazil. Also, not every protestant group is the same. And it looks real ugly when they do missions. For you will have dozens of different protestant mission groups trying to evangelize the same people......and that gets pretty ugly.
There is alot of chaos when you don't have order. And the varius protestants don't all teach the same thing. And in modern times, the newer protestant groups are teaching more and more strange stuff. So in the future,.....whatever unity protestantism has now will vanish 100 years from now.......into total anarchy.
Also, not all protestant missions are free from "authority". I have a number of protestant friends who are starting ministries or new churches with the permission of their mother churches/denominations.
I knew someone who came from a Southern Baptist Seminary/Bible college from Kentucky. He was sent here(Pittsburgh) to help a pastor start a new Southern Baptist Church.
I have a Prespyterian friend from the PCA who had permission to help start a ministry/new church in one of the bad areas of Montgomery Alabama. He quit his good job, and sold his lovely 6 digit figure home to live with the urban poor. Their goal is to turn it into a new church within the denomination of the PCA.
Another friend of mine who is also PCA was sent to the college I went to in Tuskegee Alabama. He was sent by the Church that founded the PCA (Prespyterian Church of America). He pretty much converted most of my friends to become conservative Prespyterians...or Reformed Baptists.
Also I am good friends withe alot of people who use to be in the ECUSA over here in Pittsburgh. There is an Episcopal church in Uptown that was started by a group who use to live in Ambridge, Pa. they went to the Episcopal Seminary in that town and then they sold there homes and moved to Oakland Pa in groups, infact, they all pretty much live on one street. But the Authority over them bought a church building for them in Uptown. So some protestant groups do have authority figures that they must obey when starting missions.
Oh yeah, I can't forget about one Baptist groups that split from another Baptist church in East Liberty. They moved to East Gate(formerly East Hills shopping center) near Verona and Wilkensburgh. But after some years of trying to be on their own, they decided to yeild to another protestant denomination.
A similar situation happened to an Episcopal church in Serwickly, Pa. When it split, some of them moved to grove farm. and they eventually submited to the Episcopal Archbishop of Uganda.
SO being free lancy in Protestantism isn't always free from "authority" figures, and even when it is, some eventualy seek authority in order to survive.
oh and one last thing. In American Protestantism.......how many members you have today is no qurantee that you will have those members tomorrow. When the preacher dies, people tend to go elsewhere. They will run to the next great personality figure.