Methodism and the Emerging Church

I just LOVE this post by Lou. It really grabbed me. Here’s someone with a heart for really big things for God and is disappointed in the emerging church for not showing her the goods. I just love it . ..

Lou: “The real problem I see in emerging church is that it doesn’t excite me.

“I unashamedly admit I am a thrill seeker because what gives me the greatest thrill of all is to see God moving and speaking to his people. What i see in emerging church is the best laid plans of men, but not necessarily of God. I see some very well thought out arguments, some interesting practices and some innovative worship and mission, however, I do have the sense that there’s something missing.

”Everyone i’ve met who’s involved with an emerging church is earnest, sincere and motivated to see God’s kingdom grow and that’s fantastic. I wish them all the best of luck and think they’re doing a good job, but that it’s not going to change the world – or even the church!

“There are some things happening on the fringes of church that do excite me, that do give me that thrill of knowing that God is alive and here and working and will be transforming people in major ways, trandsforming whole societies and cultures as he moves. He’s not moving just yet but soon he will be, and when he does, and the world is a different place, those early pioneers from emerging churches will be in a brilliant place from which to recognise him and help him, but that might mean that they have to leave their lifeboats behind. If there comes a day when there are big shiny new ships zooming through the oceans, ships that God has built, will the emerging leaders be willing to leave their lifeboats and take on bigger responsibilities? Lou

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” :-)

8 Comments

  • I think Lou does sound very sincere… but could stand some seasoning.
    Lou sez:
    “what gives me the greatest thrill of all is to see God moving and speaking to his people”
    When I read bible stories of God speaking and moving, there may be a few who find it thrilling, but most find it troubling and perplexing, and occasionally fall to the ground and melt like wax. I find it thrilling, as well.
    Lou sez:
    ”Everyone i’ve met who’s involved with an emerging church is earnest, sincere and motivated to see God’s kingdom grow and that’s fantastic.”
    I haven’t met them all, but I can’t say this about everyone, even in the emerging church I attend. I think if a person is earnest, sincere, and motivated, that’s enough for God to work with. The spirit is searching the whole earth for people whose hearts are turned toward God.
    Lou sez:
    “He’s not moving just yet but soon he will be, and when he does, and the world is a different place, those early pioneers from emerging churches will be in a brilliant place from which to recognise him and help him”
    God is still moving today just like we read throughout the whole bible. And just like the bible stories, there’s a lot of people who don’t have the eyes to see it. As a matter of fact, it’s easier to miss it than to catch it. You could dedicate large amounts of time studying the bible, praying, and striving to do every little thing the law demands [like the Pharisees] and still miss it.
    Lou sez:
    “…a day when there are big shiny new ships zooming through the oceans, ships that God has built”
    Perhaps the God who sent his son to a little backwater country to be born in a stable and wander the dusty trail with a band of thick-headed disciples is not inclined to move in big shiny ships [or large Americanized christian constructs]. Maybe you should look for him in Darfur.

  • lou – oooopppsss
    actually – right after i posted that i went to your site and saw that you were not a male. i will change it now.
    i made an edit yesterday but it must have not come through. Sorry!!!1
    I really liked your post, despite that last comment.

  • i just returned from the 2005 Emergent Conference in Nashvegas. i was there to help the guys from IKON in Belfast to do 2 alternative worship sessions. I did not attend any of the seminars but my observations are this: The majority of the people attending, in my guesstimation, are about finding new, creative and cool ways to be relevant in order to boost sagging church attendance. For them, it’s all about the bells and whistles and not substance. There were definitely good and serious people there that go deeper than this and they are doing great things for God. These people are trying to be filled with substance. i see more praxis rather than deep thought in paradigm shifting in theology. Just my meager attempts at observing a conversation in the USA.

  • I’m really glad you liked the post, I’ve been enjoying reading this blog over the past year, you’ve got a unique take on life that is very refreshing and positive.
    In using the ship analogy, I really wasn’t envisaging anything american or commercial, I was thinking particularly of the UK methodist church of which I am a part. I also think I owe God an apology for implying that he’s not been particularly busy lately – I know God is doing all kinds of great things all over the world.

  • In the “Big Shiny Ship” analogy, I don’t think Lou is talking about something Americanised or even man-made. We’re used to seeing that sort of thing and the stench of the man-made aspect has put some of us off of “big shiny ships” altogether. It’s also, I believe, a stench in God’s nostrils as well (the man made aspect — not the size of the boat).
    However, let’s also remember that it’s difference between man-made and God-made, not between “big shiny ship” and “rowboat”. A small group meeting in a home carrying the label of “Emergent” can also begin to smell a bit off if God isn’t in it.
    The secret is to be prepared for whatever God brings along, and neither I nor anyone, I believe, is in the possition to say just exactly what kind of boat that will be. I believe we have some good ideas in the Emergent community, but I also believer some of the other streams also have some ideas as well.
    The reason why God sent John the Baptist before Messiah Yeshua was to make sure there was a big enough community of people who were truly repentant and open minded to what God really wanted to do, even if it did go against everyone’s preconceived notions — even the more progressive ones.

  • I think there are weight to your comment Lou but also I think some harsh idea’s and over looking of important factors.
    I think on of the things that makes me take notice of the emergant conversation is new wine skins. In a time of God pouring out his spirit in a new way we will need new wineskins to hold that in and the questions the emerging conversation is asking are the right questions for that to happen. if you look at your own church history the methodist church began with new idea’s about how church could happen that we’re out for the box in compareson to the standard anglicanism and catholiscism but the methodistm church grew from the out pouring of God’s spirit from John wesley and others.
    I remember reading a brilliant artical by Jonny Baker commenting on Jeremiah 28.1-9 and parreling it with our stand point in time at the moment “We would all love to see people returning to God and his ways in our country. But many are quietly uncomfortable with such an emphasis on revival, perhaps because it can easily be disempowering. The church is so intent on waiting for revival that she holds more meetings to pray and wait for it to break out.”
    but whilst waiting and hoping for revival we need to be out there being that answer to our own prayers at the same time too. I think the emerging churchs focus on breaking down walls that church’s have that prevent people getting into them and a strong focus on mission is a massive breathe of fresh air in a church scene that for so long has been focused on maintaince. Even when most post modern communites are very small in terms of growth the fact that there are so many of them currently spring up all over the place with both a DNA that seeks to reach out to people and bring them in but also to send out from they’re own to plant new groups is awesome and exciting could be seeen to be an exciting move of God all of it’s own

Leave a Reply