Is there only doom and gloom for the future of mainline Christianity? Or is it that the current sense of decline and malaise is only a mirage or the result of exaggerations by persons both within but also without these churches? Is the church threatened or are we on the precipice of new opportunities? While there has been some helpful work on the state of the church, others have uncritically parroted claims about decline and linked these claims with notions that the decline is due to relentless theological liberalism. The tragedy for churches is that many pastors now feel decline is inevitable and they are blind to the strengths that they do have.
In this book, Ted Campbell begins with an accounting of the Church's great treasure, the Gospel, and how mainline churches continue to minister in line with many thoughtful traditions. Tradition isn't just "frozen success," it also holds keys to faith's relevance for the world today. Campbell continues to show how mainline churches came to understand themselves as mainline and how the media continues to misunderstand them. The book concludes with practices that will help churches build up the larger Christian community while reaching out to new constituencies.