Emerging Church Definition Additional

These thoughts represent what i added on to the email to Steve for his article, as well as some recent thoughts.
1.We are always looking for better words or concepts. The word that makes sense right now is “Emerging”.

In the 1990’s, 10 of us formed a group that was devoted to helping churches understand the post-modern transition. That group, called Young Leaders, changed its name to Terranova, and again to Emergent. Our website, emergentvillage.com has links to resources and events that deal with this same conversation we are now having and also has a brave attempt by Brian MacLaren, not to define the boundaries of Emerging Church, but rather to name the tone and spirit of the conversation and the growing friendship we called Emergent.

2. I just took a look at The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball, and Dan comes to the same conclusion as me – cant define it, it is broad and inclusive, emerging values more important than models. That makes me feel better and I am sure you also.

3. Values are more important than models, or worldviews/mindsets.

4. As we all dive down into a deeper ecclesiology, we see that we have more in common with each other, despite the various expressions of church on the surface.

5. Defining what we are experiencing as church in our new environment may be easier if we approach it from a aesthetic level, and not a cognitive one. This is easier and is actually how many of us are already describing it.
This morning i walked through the Walthamstow market and saw farmers selling the organic produce they have been growing themselves. There is something freeing and simple, even rebellious, in buying produce directly from the people who grew it. I feel good buying it. He feels good selling it. Our transaction bypasses quite a few levels of marketing people and middlemen, and it is quite deconstructive in displacing those heirarchies. But it is also empowering to us, and it just feels good.
I get the same feeling when i experience church – real church –
i have also felt it in homeschooling, unschooling, downloading info from the web, the immediate self-publishing of blogging, punk music, shopping at Home Depot to fix my own house.
It feels empowering, never complex, bare and naked, totally human, focused, and God’s pleasure is one of those feelings mixed into it.
This kind of real church experience can be had by anyone, and regardless of church model.

6. Most of the young people who approach me for help in starting churches are not working inside traditional models that we would call traditional or modern or even seeker sensitive. There is not the money for those buildings available, nor the years of training. And there is not a group of de-churched people waiting to join something. The simple/organic churches seem the obvious choice for these people. It is not as if i choose a model and then work with people like me. i do not have that luxury.

I am waffling now, and should really shut up. But i do want to talk about it again sometime. Thanks everyone for your comments.

ADDED: Oct 2006
Here are the links to my answers:
Emerging Church Definition 1.0
Emerging church Definition 2.0
Emerging Church Definition 3.0
Emerging church Definition 4.0
Emerging church Defintion Additional
I believe the magazine published this but i dont think i ever got a copy.

I briefed a number of American Foundations on the emerging church scene. You can read what i said at Emergant.org

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

5 Comments

  • Emerging Church Definitions..

    Andrew Jones have is way to define the new emergent movement and i really like it. Especially this one: 6. Most of the young people who approach me for help in starting churches are not working inside traditional models that

  • Dear Andrew, thank you very much for all these posts trying to define the emergent church. I have been stirred and blessed by your effort. I can really follow your definitions and descriptions on what is taking place right now. Even though we work in different setting and in different countries I stand with you and will pray for you to succeed in helping many churches to be born that will be like budding flowers in the garden of covenant.
    I also see the need for millions of churches in the very near future that are started quickly and cheaply, I give favor and preference to new churches that cost nothing, can start tomorrow, using ordinary people, and can reproduce organically. This is something that is being done in cooperation with traditional churches, that have wisdom and resources. There is only one church – the true Body of Christ.

  • Andrew, I too thank you for your thoughts. I find it encouraging that the Scriptures talk about values instead of models. If you look at the words He used on earth, Jesus was not that excited about structures and models of things. He cared about what was real; He cared about the heart of the matter.
    Look at Paul, as well. You don’t read Paul’s letters and get a perfect understanding of the structures and models for church leadership. He didn’t tell the churches how to increase their membership over the next 2 years. He talked about the heart and the values that determine where what we do with our lives.
    Jesus and Paul were about the organic, the simple, the small, the real, the authentic…

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