There has been a lot of discussion about the future Christianity in the Western world and what things are going to look like in the future. This discussion has focused on everything from the loss of our young adults to rethinking what “church” is all about and why we do the things that we used to take for granted. These are important conversations that will be pivotal for many of our churches to understand and address looking ahead.

At Wineskins, our goal is to provide a place where we can discuss the topics that are more relevant and important looking ahead. But it is more than about putting words on a webpage. You can find that all over the internet. We are intent on producing an environment or ethos that fosters genuine, Christ-like and spirit-led conversation. In other words, an atmosphere that is open to honest inquiry done through a spirit of love and mutual edification for all.

We understand that these conversations can be very sensitive as they deal with things that are near and dear to our hearts. That means there is a certain vulnerability that comes with these discussions that, if handled in a godly manner, can be a catalyst for transformation and genuine restoration. If not handled with a Christ-like spirit, we recognize that same vulnerability can produce a defensiveness and hostility that is detrimental to our conversation being acceptable to God much less being productive or beneficial. We want you to know that you are welcome here and that you will find an environment where people are encouraged to be patient, kind, honest, and humble. The goal of this conversation is to help strengthen the faith of those who are also struggling through many of these same paradigm shifts so that we can build and encourage the next generation of faith.

In order to do this we are going to make Wineskins a resource to you and to the churches you attend. The resource Wineskins is becoming hinges on three things: 1) the Featured Authors we have recruited to weigh in on various issues, 2) the resources we provide and host through the site (resources for elders, small group ministry, ministry connect, and so much more) and 3) your input into the conversation so that you aren’t just a spectator but a participant. Through commenting on posts and in the forums we want you to be a part of the conversation here at Wineskins and to invite others who you know are working through many of these same issues to get involved as well.

As we kickoff Wineskins we begin with the theme of “Embracing Biblical Restoration”. Over the last few years restoration has become one of the big “buzz words” in Christianity today right alongside being missional. Our movement has embraced a vision for biblical restoration for well over 200 years. Past generations often focused that restoration on proper worship and church leadership but as the younger generation searches the scriptures and reads about God’s restorative process they find it is really about so much more than was often recognized or appreciated in past generations.

In this issue we want to talk about what it is, exactly, that God is restoring from a biblical perspective. We also want to explore examples of ministries, churches and individuals who are living out biblical expressions of restoration today so that we can learn from their examples and re-envision what biblical restoration looks like in our current cultural context.

Our features authors have been invited to weigh into that discussion and we hope you will as well through commenting on their articles and, once they are live, adding to the conversation in the discussion forums on the site as well. God bless you on the journey here at Wineskins. Pray that this can be a catalyst for God’s loving kindness to be expressed in ways that will humble us all.