I am tossing around a few ideas for the paper I have to write from scratch in the next week or so on the potential role of denominational historical materials as a resource for theological reflection in the area of church health (need some more 'punchy' words, methinks). One of the things that strikes me as that Church Health approaches focus solely on the story of one congregation, as it recalls it (small), whilst Church History focuses on overviews, trajectories, dates and heroes (great). The gap is pretty much self-evident when expressed like this. One of the things I need to try to get my head around is what might 'middle-sized' look like? I have a suspicion that unless/until the gap is bridged the potential of the resource will remain unrealised.
Of course, 'All things of average brightness and appearance, all creatures of medium proportions, all things of average intelligence and allure' wouldn't exactly make for an appealing hymn! What is needed is not mediocrity but something intermediate. If one of the limitations/criticisms of traditional Systematic/Dogmatic theology is that it is too theoretical/intellectual, and one of the limitations/criticisms of Practical/Contextual theology is that it is too localised/partial then maybe, just maybe, this endeavour will in some way help to bridge a more generic gap? (Or am I just fooling myself?!)