Let us suppose there is a denominational apparatus with (increasingly) meager ties to ministries in the Harvest Field. Let us imagine the institutional mechanism suffers a series of setbacks, declining attendance at its events and financial reversals.
Should it be saved? If so, how can it be saved? Let us argue for the moment that it might be saved, or at least its life prolonged. For today, it is enough to speak of the how and leave alone the why.
The denominational apparatus as we might see it today will not survive. That cake is baked.
No external, para-church organization will suffice to save the apparatus. The para-church group most interested in the survival of the whole is itself declining, in large part because of its own most serious internal errors. Simply put, the little group forgot its mission, got seriously off message and made a mess.
Nor should we believe the system can be saved from within the apparatus. Fearful for its safety for years (with good reason) the apparatus built in protections, which now make it virtually impervious to reform. Dissatisfied adherents who cannot pierce to the vital internal organs, rebuffed or outright insulted by the bureaucrats-who-dwell-near-the-throne, grow angry first and then apathetic.
The apathy is worse.
You can work with anger.
If an apparatus cannot be fixed from within we might conclude it is because it is empty inside.
So, if we look a mile ahead and see the inevitable death occasioned by the decline of the apparatus itself, with its stark inabilities to transform itself to fit its cultural setting, what is left to do? Shall we let it die and see what Phoenix arises from the ashes?
This is a rather passive approach in a moment of time more needful of passion, energy, action and zeal.
We do have to decide there is are ministries in the Harvest Field to be nourished. There is less for them each year.
The how to help starts with a rally. If there is any reason to save what we can, it starts with this; we rally around our Harvest Ministries and we rally the base of support. That is, we reinvest in the alienated. A sighing call to "move on," has not produced passion or zeal. Eyes roll, shoulders sag and ears close.
In fact, it is impossible to rally the alienated base when the manifest leadership amounts to persons knee deep in the mire and others whose main accomplishment was to take cover during the shooting war. The message is plain. Hang around headquarters and you will one day run the army.
Only the army went home. Now blow the trumpet and see who comes.
If, as we suppose, the old is passing away and the new is unclear, we will need our base as much as ever.