When Kevin Mannoia resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in 2001, the association faced heavy financial trouble and was reeling from a string of controversial changes. After two years, under the leadership of interim president Leith Anderson, the NAE is now back in the black.

In March the organization appointed Ted Haggard president. Haggard is pastor of the 9,200-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and founder of the World Prayer Center and the Christian Information Network.

Haggard talked with CT assistant online editor Todd Hertz about where NAE is headed, why the organization has appointed a local church pastor as president, and how he'll make the NAE a more assertive voice for evangelicalism.

Why did you accept this job?

This is one of the most exciting times for evangelicalism worldwide. Evangelical churches are growing aggressively both in America and overseas. In the 1960s the dominant churches in most American cities were liberal churches. Now, the largest and strongest churches in most cities are evangelical.

We're better funded than ever before. We now have more missionaries, printing facilities, Bible distribution efforts, and seminaries. There's a new megachurch opening in America every two weeks, and the vast majority are evangelical.

This is evangelicalism's finest hour. It is the time for evangelicalism to assert itself in the public debate of ideas. One of my passions is to ensure that evangelicalism is thoughtfully and effectively represented. NAE needs to facilitate the body of Christ in the communication of the gospel.

How can NAE serve in that capacity?

The National Organization of Women regularly stands up in a public forum and says, "The women of America believe … ...

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