The term "deep ecclesiology" has begun to be adopted and used over the past 3 years and is circulating mainly among practitioners and leaders of the emerging-missional church. I was surprised this morning to see the phrase used as a part of the Emergent Order which was read out publicly by the participants of the Emergent Conference.
The phrase "deep ecclesiology" has been attributed to me. I realize the meaning of a term or phrase is often determined by its contemporary usage rather than its original intent and therefore I plan to honor those who have taken it further and have brought additional insights. I am grateful for their effort and am honored that they saw possibility in the term, perhaps more than i did at the time.
I write this in response to numerous requests to have the concept fleshed out a little more for the sake of clarity and for a permanent home on the internet to link to. I write it here initially as as blog post – opening up to the accountability of the wider community, inviting discussion and the input of other viewpoints. The next step would be a .PDF file to download. After that, if necessary, a book. Brian McLaren has been the loudest voice behind me writing a book called "Deep Ecclesiology". At conferences, he is often been asked what the term means, and after mentioning me (thanks Brian) lays out some of his excellent thoughts.
By ecclesiology, I mean the nature, life and practice of the church, in this instance, that part of the church that is growing and active in the emerging culture. By "emerging church" or "emerging-missional church" I refer to the new church forms that are being started as a response to effective missional work in the global emerging culture. I have witnessed these new forms in dozens of countries and have spent the past ten years devoted completely to assist the budding, emerging movement wherever i see it. I am grateful for Baptist General Convention of Texas and DAWN Ministries for the support to travel to wherever I see God working around the world and to be a part of this exciting movement.
Is it proper to say "Towards" or "Toward" ??. Any English-geeks out there?