(RNS) — Dave Schmelzer is an unlikely evangelist.
An in-your-face atheist until his early 20’s, Schmelzer ended up in seminary and, eventually, at the pulpit of Vineyard Christian Church, an evangelical church, in Cambridge, Mass. Under his leadership, membership soared despite its location in one of the most secular enclaves in the U.S.
Then something changed. Schmelzer started asking why some Christians focused less on Jesus on more on exclusion, drawing lines between themselves and other people whose sexual orientation or politics they disagreed with. He took his church in another direction, focused on inclusion, eventually formalizing its philosophy as a