Thursday, May 25, 2006

emerging churches by eddie gibbs and ryan bolger

Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures

This summer I will be reading a number of books on leadership, spirituality, the church's mission and the future, for our own congregation and its decision-making processes, and for my own learning. I will share some of the basic learnings on this blog. I began with this work, which is on the emerging churches. I won't offer a definition of what an emerging (or emergent) church is now, because that is a part of the discovery process. A few learnings for now:

1. Three core practices of emergent churches are identifying with the life of Jesus, transforming secular space into sacred space, and living as a community.

2. Out of these three core practices flow a number of other essential activities: welcoming the stranger, serving with generosity, participating as producers (rather than as spectators), inspiring creativity, leadership as a function of the body (as opposed to a more hierarchial model) and taking part in spiritual disciplines that are corporate and individual.

3. While emergent churches are planted in the soil of postmodernism, they depart from postmodern in that they do claim the necessity of a metanarrative: the mission of God (missio Dei).

4. Emergents reject most forms of dualism (sacred/secular, contemporary/traditional, clean/unclean, etc.).

5. Emergent worship engages all of the senses, but it is not a form of escape from the world. It is an engagement with the world.

6. Emergent churches are decentralized: the small group is the essential meeting of the community.

7. The primary apologetic of the emergent church is not the use of critically formulated words but an embodied life. People are more interested in what we do than in what we say.

8. However, in our ministry with the world it is important that we name the name of Christ as our motivation, rather than delivering social programs in a generic or civic way.

9. People want to be a part of the planning process and they want to share their gifts.

10. A "fast-food industry" model of planting church franchises does not inspire creativity.

11. A critical question: can emergent worship be sustained? It often works best in a monthly or quarterly pattern, rather than weekly.

12. Emergent spirituality is eclectic, with a preference for the liturgical over the hyperactive adrenaline rush of modern worship.

I am going to try to limit the learnings to no more than twelve ideas of concepts. Hopefully, over the summer, some patterns will emerge. Next up: The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering The Call by Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson.


Post a Comment

<< Home