Many congregations are in significant decline. For a lot of people, the congregation is little more than a haven in a heartless world, a dispenser of religious goods and services to individuals. Nevertheless, it is still populated by the people of God.
God chooses to create new futures in the most inauspicious of places. Through the Incarnation, we discover that God’s future is at work not where we tend to look but among the people we write off as dead or powerless to make things different.
If the Spirit has been poured out in the church – the church as it is, not some ideal type – then we are compelled to believe that the Spirit of God is at work and alive among the congregations of America. Congregations matter. But they need leaders with the skills to cultivate an environment in which the Spirit-given presence of God’s future may emerge among the people of God.