STEVE: Why do you think the idea of an emerging church has gained such popularity over the last few years – why do so many want a part of it?
Well, some would say that the new thing is always attractive to those driving the old model, and everyone wants to upgrade from what they currently have. This need for progress is a very modern trait and I don’t see this need coming from emergent people in the same way. Instead, I believe the commitment to emerging church has to do with a deep love for God’s church as the beautiful Body of Christ, and the dissonance in knowing that the church in its present form is not living up to our expectations, is not attractive to outsiders, and is not adequately reflecting Kingdom culture in the world we live. A great body, stuck in a frumpy dress.
There is also the new sense of empowerment. Not long ago, young people were encouraged to join a church but they were not allowed to start them – that was considered rebellious or reserved for the professionals. In the last two decades, partly as a result of the church growth movement, church has been somewhat demystified of its priestly elitism, defragged of its excess baggage and deconstructed of its abusive power claims. We are now seeing more streamlined, simple, organic churches that ordinary people can start in their favourite coffee shops or their own homes. Add to this the sense of empowerment and immediate access to resources that the internet has provided, and you can see why being a player and developer in the emerging church is more appealing than joining the struggle to preserve an incumbent church.
People in the emerging culture are generally creative, entrepreneurial, innovative, empowered. They don’t want to join somebody else’s program. They don’t want to become somebody’s number. They don’t want to warm up somebody’s empty room. But they do want to be a part of starting something that will make a difference.
Last question tomorrow:
4. How far do you think the church has to go before it will really start to reach the emerging generation in large numbers?
ADDED: Oct 2006
Here are the links to my answers:
Defining the Emerging Church
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