Blogging is not the format for careful arguments and developed strategies. It's more for letting thoughts drop out of your head and seeing how God uses it all. But this is something I've thought about for quite some time, so here's hoping it comes out clear...and begins a conversation.
My ministry is marked by two poles of emphasis. First is a faith that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord and Savior of an invisible church, unhindered by worldly boundaries. My days with YoungLife, FOCUS, the Army Chaplaincy, and even now at the Center for Christian Study have been about finding ways to realize this secret and shadowy countryside where anyone who follows Jesus is a brother and a sister. Some cringe when I call this work 'ecumenical', but I still see it as an evangelical ecumenism, an apostolic catholicity. The church of which Christ is the Lord is one church, even if we can't see that from where we sit.
The second emphasis is a desire to see the visible church in our times have the greatest possible impact on the culture, the common way of life, of our nation and community. For a number of reasons, I believe this includes Christ's deployment of the old mainline. They may be tired, lapsed, sleeping or dead, but they still have that huge sanctuary on the corner of First and Main with a steeple whose shadow tickles the courthouse steps.
So then, Five Principles for Mainline Resurgence...