Eddie Gibbs from Fuller Seminary has some good thoughts on the emerging church in UK and USA . . .
“In the UK, those working among young people are going with the young people into their culture rather than extracting them and processing them for the Church sub-culture. In the USA, the trend is in the opposite direction, i.e. extracting people from “the world” in order to bring them into the Church.
This difference is partly explained by the greater likelihood of young people being “never churched” in the UK context, as distinct from the “formerly churched,” which is more the case here in the USA. A second factor is that the emerging churches in the UK are more likely to be located in an urban (inner-city) setting rather than in suburbia or in the more fashionable city-centre locations.”
Eddie Gibbs, The Emerging Church (download Download PDF)
The weakness of Gibbs analysis is that while American churches claim to be “counter-cultural” and tend to be dualistic in their theology in fact they are often only counter-cultural on certain moral issues (eg sex and homosexuality) and in many other respects mirror the surrounding secular values. The Christian Right support for the Bush campaign is a classic example of this. I guess this is one of the reasons why British Christians find that Aussie and Kiwi theological and ecclesiological ideas and insights make more sense to us.