The new president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) believes the 57-year-old organization must enlarge its borders in order to survive.

The NAE announced its choice of 43-year-old Kevin W. Mannoia on March 1 at its annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. Mannoia will be working part-time with NAE until he wraps up duties with the Free Methodist Church in July. He is one of three U.S. bishops for the Free Methodist church, and the youngest in the history of the 400,000-member denomination based in Indianapolis.

The NAE leadership post had been vacant for a year following the resignation of 59-year-old Don Argue (CT, April 27, 1998, p. 18). Mannoia will move from Rancho Cucamonga, California, to head the NAE, which has headquarters in Carol Stream, Illinois.

The aging membership of NAE members and the dwindling attendance at annual gatherings—only 350 came this time—has been a growing concern for the organization in recent years.

Mannoia, who served on the NAE board for the past year, thinks it is time for the group to include those who are outside the traditional realm of evangelicalism yet have compatible views. "We have perhaps drawn the circle too close," Mannoia told CT. "We don't need to be looking for litmus tests. We should be replacing block walls with picket fences."

For instance, he notes that many evangelical United Methodists who are questioning the liberal leanings of some pastors would feel at home in the NAE. And Mannoia, whose books include Church Planting: The Next Generation, says NAE need not be fearful of charismatic movements such as the Vineyard.

In an unprecedented move at this year's meeting, 20 executives visited from the Association for Church Renewal—confessing and renewal ...

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