Resurrecting Church interweaves three strands. First, it is the remarkable turnaround story of Caldwell Presbyterian Church, which was on the edge of extinction when author John Cleghorn filled the role of pastor. Second, Cleghorn tells the story of his own growth and liberation from the myopia of privilege. Cleghorn traded his position as senior vice president of the nation's largest bank for ministry and the dusty and dated church office at Caldwell Presbyterian. The third strand includes the stories of several diverse congregations researched by the author. These congregations are examples of faith communities that have taken risks, deepening empathy and seeking justice. Through these stories, the book updates the "same old" conversation about church vitality in timely and surprising ways.
Cleghorn raises these important questions: Can churches survive, even be resurrected, at the intersections of race, sexuality, class, and faith background? Can congregations be liberated by rebuilding around those on the margins who have been wounded by church? As more US cities become majority-minority, the "mainline" church remains stubbornly white and homogeneous. Church leaders and thinkers are seeking ways to build more racial diversity and radical welcome. This book provides hope and practical examples of how this can happen.
Cleghorn declares, "God is doing what Isaiah calls 'a new thing'" in congregations where multiple types of diversity intersect, erecting spiritual hospitals for the wounded and marginalized. For the church, these intersections provide both a current lens of self-examination and avenues to growth in faith. With stories, people profiles, and insights from their leaders and members, this book breaks new ground with practical learning and lessons drawn from original research and the lived experience of intersectional churches across the US.