Emergent Village on PBS

PagittThat guy looking stumped into blankness is not meditating nor being hypnotized but is actually thinking about how to answer the questions about his church Solomon’s Porch. And yes, that guy is Doug Pagitt and his birthday was this week. Some leaders of Emergent Village get interviewed at PBS online which is worth a read, and worth waiting for part 2 which will be posted next week. HT Kevin Cawley. And BTW, the Wiki defintion of Emerging Church is now updated and improved, and includes an excellent quote from Chris Seay – “It should be clear we are championing the gospel and missional values, not what (some) describe as ‘ministry intentionally influenced by postmodern theory.’”

It is that kind of clarity we need when talking to the media about why emerging church is often looking different than traditional church. Its a missional thang, NOT a postmodern thang. We are going back to the Bible and taking it seriously, NOT discarding it in favor of French deconstructionists of the 1970’s.

As for the concept of “post-emerging” (Ginkworld), it may be helpful to think of emerging church in 3 stages:

1. Submerging – those going deep into culture to listen, think, pray, and share the gospel among the emerging culture.

2. Emerging – When the new church structures begin to rise up and take shape organically inside the culture, a process that will often be described as having “emergent characteristics” and displaying “emergent behavior”.

3. Converging – When the new church structures begin to connect to the other existing structures, local and global, and form part of the web that is the body of Christ.

Of course, if you present these options to churches, they will normally choose the one that is most advanced and complete, no matter where they are in this process. But it might help those who have been going 15 years and are now part of the church fabric, despite growing up with emerging culture people.


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" :-)


  • I like the use of submerging as stage one. So is this 3 stage process different from the emerge-diverge-converge process previously discussed or is this just a re-worked restatement of it?
    I’m reading it as different, but I want to make sure I’m taking it as you intended.

  • I totally agree that it’s a missional thing not a postmodern thing .. love the Chris Seay quote. In conversation with Tony Jones in Singapore … we talked about this as well! Nice to hear those vibrations on your end too … together!

  • toby – yes – same thing but it now seems more relevant
    “diverging” – i knew there was a fourth one from the conversation on one of my blog posts a few months ago but could not remember it.

  • Emerging Movement?

    There’s an updated Wikipedia definition for the emerging church now, thanks to the conversations and efforts of a number of folk who undertook to fix the off-base definition that evolved from the original. Although perhaps some tweaks remain to be do…

  • I like the submerging-emerging-converging-diverging taxonomy too, and it strikes me that they are all equally valuable and mutually coexistent, i.e.e that we shouldn’t have to pick one over the other, or try to say condescending things like “Oh, well, some people are ‘submerging’ the gospel but not me, I’m an ’emerging’ Christian.”

  • i disagree. It is a missional thing but a postmodern thing as well. It’s “both/and, not “either/or”. We can’t escape postmodern theory because there are nuggets of gold in it. We mustn’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

  • I’m excited that the wikipedia article is being accepted. We’ve worked hard on it and will continue.

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