Post-Emerging Church?

Who is worthy of saying such a thing? One of the hot conversations right now is the idea of the Post-Emerging Church.
Lets talk about it onight at 7pm London time. Suddenly Seminary guest room at

Here are some of my thoughts:
images-1Who can ascend the post-emerging church hill? Not he who has from a helicopter dropped, young Lotus. Nor he whose ascent has through books and conferences been. Only they who through the valley of emergence have walked, stage by stage, the lessons of God learning.

imagesGen-X Church – Those who through the Valley of the Gottee journey have walked, they have heard God in the minor chord. Sensed they have, his voice in the distortion. Fallen as the leaves of autumn, is the folly of unchanged church.

images-2Postmodern Church – Those who through the Valley of Otherness trod, they have seen exposed the abuse of Pharisees. Softer, they walk. Humble and meek, they become. No longer haughty. Crucified. They see the Other. The bruised reed in the gentle hands of the Master they are.

images-4Emergent Church – Those who through the valley of emergence walk, have seen the Way of the Ant. It has no hierarchical leader and yet organized it is, efficient its resources, wise its investment, constant its feedback. No large investment does it require. Such a church is no longer foreign, no longer rich, no longer a church only for professionals. Organic, it is. Spread it will, like slime mold. Shoot its roots into dark places, it will, like rhizomes.

images-5Post-Emergent Church – Few there are, that sit on this hill. None there are, without scars. A deep ecclesiology they hold, convergence is their view. Talk about models and structures they do not. Recognized, they are, by those who walk in their path.

Beware, the Big Man who has a shortcut found, who breath and composure still has. Who limps not. Beware the Big Church without compassion or children. For colonize and cannibalize it will. The wise man and wise women you must seek. For grey hair, travel. By their love, you will know them. Tears they have shed, poverty in spirit has been theirs. Unity of the one body, they strive for.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • steve says:

    well said – i have posted another, far less poetic, far less skinny, far less tall, far less insightful comment on church:post-emergence today at

  • Andrew, thanks for your kind comment on my blarticle on post-ec. I don’t think I can come to the confab tonight. Might you post highlights?

  • maggi says:

    wish I could be there, but will be drinking beer with a fellow-emerger. hope you’ll post the highlights…

  • Steve B. says:

    I’m confused. Is this energy over nothing? I’ve followed all the available links (Jason Clark, Stephen Shields) that I can get to and I’ve found nothing indicating that any individual is advocating post-emergence. It seems, again, from following the links I can get to, is a misrepresentation of an ad for a conference. The ad doesn’t self identify as post-emergent church, it self-identifies as church simpliciter, which no one should be faulted for.
    Am I missing something? Who and where are these post-emergers? I just wrote a scathing critique of post-emergence, posted it on my blog, and pinged this blog. Then I decided I should hear from the post-emergers themselves before critiquing them. I can’t find any. I’m deleting my entry on my blog until someone points me to a real, live post-emerger.

  • Mike says:

    Well, just left the room (I was ChaoticReality) and I have to say that was an interesting and informative discussion.
    Cheers Andrew,

  • Andrew says:

    Steve, i just Googled around and i think you are right. There is very little on being post-emerging church right now. And that is a good thing. Some people (M. Rex Miller) are writing about the “Convergent” church (ie, stage after emergent) but really there is not much at all.
    It is possible that i blew it up a bit after reading one or two ideas on the subject. If i exaggerated the conversation, I apologize. I may have spectacularized the idea for the sake of something to talk about tonight at suddenly seminary.
    Or, on the other hand, the combination of books and blogs and websites (Next Wave) that i seemed to read all in the space of a few days, all contributed to an inflated idea of post-emerging church.
    Perhaps i saw a new conversation coming up and i wanted to stamp it out before it became divisive?
    I do hope we all learn what God is teaching us in this stage, and allow Him to graduate us forward into the next stage in His own time.
    appreciate your thoughts.

  • Steve B. says:

    hmmmm… I’m a bit disturbed by this. I estimate at least half a dozen posts on at least 4 different blogs, with at least 2 or 3 dozen comments, most expressing contempt and disdain for these crazy post-emergers.
    A cynic would speculate that there is some sort of collective reservoir of defensiveness and insecurity that is just waiting for some poor saps, like these futuregen folks running a cheesy conference in Florida, to unleash negative vibes on.
    But, I understand that trying to do church in non-traditional ways definitely fosters a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality. Maybe this is a small lesson to purge ourselves of our insecurities? I hope someone will clear all of this up in a post… it’s kind of embarrassing for all of us. And I include myself: I drummed up a knee-jerk response to post-emergence and posted it (for about 5 minutes) before I decided to look into it. Obviously I have my share of defensiveness.

  • Steve B. says:

    I suppose my other fear is that we’re all (myself included) threatened by the prospect that someone is a step ahead of us: that we’ve been out-post-ed.
    Well, thankfully, in this case at least… we’re still at the forefront 😉

  • Sivin Kit says:

    Thank you “sifu” (Master in Cantonese!)

  • ScottB says:

    About a third of the way through your post, I suddenly made a mental switch into Yoda-speak, and I couldn’t help but picture this being read by a small green muppet.

  • post-emerging church?

    TallSkinnyKiwi: Post-Emerging Church? Beware, the Big Man who has a shortcut found, who breath and composure still has. Who limps not. Beware the Big Church without compassion or children. For colonize and cannibalize it will. The wise man and wise…

  • Alpha says:

    ditto on the Yoda thing. but great post it is. truth it speaks. when name a movement we do, starts to get old it does. why surprised are we?

  • Mark Thames says:

    Well, it’s been a long time since I crawled out from under the academic rock. But glad to start reentering the real virtual world. As a fellow Yodese-speaker, I am amused but also appreciate the manner.
    When Dawn and I started in all this, we were nontraditional. Then we were innovative. Then we were alternative. Then we were postmodern. Then we emerged. Of course, we felt like we were on the same basic path all the time; people just came up with different labels for us.
    In one sense, this is all silly. The word doesn’t matter, what’s going on does. In another sense, it’s silly but harmless, in that everyone is going to call you something, and as long as it isn’t hugely misrepresentative, who cares? You can influence others’ labeling of you some, but they will often use whatever they want to anyway. In another sense, it’s silly but harmful, since ‘vain disputations about words’ are a great way for us to get distracted from the real stuff at hand. Sometimes I’d just as soon get rid of all nouns and replace them with verb clauses.
    Steve B.’s comment is pertinent, though, to the psychology of all this. Who’s the coolest of them all? is a question we all are tempted to ask various mirrors, including each other’s blogs.
    I suppose you know that Joshua Rudd in Dallas had or has a group called post-post…
    peace, as much as lies in your power, with all people,

  • Hutch says:

    It’s kinda funny reading all of this post and commentage. Talking about post-emerging, and post-modern, and progressing through stages, possibly being defensive that someone has out-posted (progressed) us, etc…. have we really moved past the modern world we so often disdain? In our wanting to be better, more organic, more real, less bad thing, more good thing… we are showing ourselves to be modern like everybody else we’re trying to differeniate ourselves from.
    One of the cruxes of modernity and modern thought is the idea of progress. How we’re moving ahead, and getting better, and avoiding the pitfalls of those who have gone before. We want to be post-*whatever*, so that we can have moved past it.
    At least in that one facet, we’re all a bunch of modernists.
    I find that incredibly ironic and absolutely hilarious.

  • Hey, I do think it is premature to talk about post emergence when emergence hasnet past its use-by date yet ( see the CT article ” Has the emergent emergerged” )
    However as modern ( as some of you are) and postmoderns, it is good to think ahead. Trouble is that people like Andrew are one step ahead rom everyone else and as a person who is a bit like that in my own church, I know that can be frustrating waiting for everyone to catch – only to have to catch up on the next big thing….
    So GO ANDREW lead the way, but not too fast or people won’t see your point…. let alone try and catch up to you.

  • Andrew Jones says:

    Hey everyone. I would really like to stop talking about this blog-post re: post-emerging. I dont want the conversation to spiral out of control – it will only lead to disunity. I brought it up to help put a damper on it and too much converstation about it will have the opposite effect – it will make it an issue.
    Here are the facts:
    1. My post, and also Steve’s, may have been written on the rebound from people who want to leapfrog over our period of Blessed Emergence. Perhaps out of insecurity. Our posts are therefore suspiciously flawed and should be handled with caution.
    2. Yes, people are talking about post-emergence. 2 weeks ago i was invited to speak at a conference in 2005 on what is coming after emerging church – which many of us believe has to do with a convergent state of unity and deep ecclesiology, not too different from what David Bosch describes as the “Emerging Ecumenical Missionary Paradigm” (Transforming Mission, 1991″
    3. The present is FAR MORE exciting and worthwhile than the future, so lets enjoy the ride of whatever transition we are in, as long as God is moving us towards a beautiful and accurate picture of what His body needs to be in this season.
    4. Lets not rush through our paradigm shifts. We should deconstruct thoughtfully (demolish stongholds that set themselves up against the Truth) and build carefully what God is putting on our heart.,
    5. We should not ridicule others if they dont “get it” because there are many areas in our life and ministry where we also dont get it. There is one body and we are all members of it. We are stuck with each other and will live together forever. Lets get used to and learn to enjoy it.
    Right . . .

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