There's no question that the church is changing fast in North America. Central to the change are the young clergy who are both most threatened professionally and empowered by the death of Christendom.
Keith Anderson and commentators offer thought provoking post and great comments. It's hard to find anything to disagree with in Keith's word. I was ordained in 1999 and have witnessed "Christendom" decline in congregations and the life of my neighbors. The best response is to trust God. The Holy Spirit is at work calling, enlightening and sanctifying the whole church--including the future church.
I've been blessed by the now fading witness of pastors and church members now in their 80's and 90's and even 100's (or now singing with the choir of the church triumphant) who had a vision and love for the church that wasn't just about self preservation. Young pastors would do well today to connect to any of these pastors or members in the church. This generation shared in a common mission--building a church after war. It's as if they looked to build something that was the opposite of war and created churches and church institutions. And we are blessed to be here accepting these as gifts.
Understanding and accepting the gifts of the visionary generation who built the modern institutional church is foundational to the ministry God's calling us to build today. In the end what we build won't likely be buildings or committees--rather it will be congregations that seek to use the gifts of this past generation to build like they did--a church that can witness to something other than destruction. Catching hope that God will use these gifts in new and wonderful ways is key.
Thanks and peace to you, John