11 Characteristics of the Church Emerging

Video Snapshot 1 I was listening in this morning to Doug Pagitt who is one of my favourite people in the world. The Bob Dewaay-Doug Pagitt debate is now a series of 3 podcasts on the “church emerging”. Its a great intro to the emerging church. Worth listening to. And worth critiquing – if that is your bag. Best part for me was at the end of Podcast 3 when talking of head-coverings and Bob says we need LIBERTY with the Bible.

Doug gives 11 characteristics of the emerging church movement and a post-modern spirituality:

1. A Kingdom of God focus – join the Kingdom of God wherever it finds it.

2. Pursue faithfulness to God through new practices, structures and understandings.

3. Tend to have a hopeful and positive view of God’s engagement in the world – we should find the activity of God in the world and join it.

4. Committed to loving God and loving neighbor and loving enemy in real ways in this world.

5. Deeply connected to the story of God and the Bible.

6. Living with the guidance of the Holy Spirit – not culture or understandings

7. Theologically active – thinking deeply about these practices

8. Openness to the “other” – outsider, foreigner, doesn’t get freaked out

9. Want the good news of God to change the world and be the good news for all creation.

10. We understand community to be an essential part of the Christian life.

11. We are interested in the future more than fighting the battles of the past – we are people who are trying to live the story of Jesus in our world in ways consistent to where we have come from.

I really liked Doug’s tone of voice and playfulness and Bob seemed a good sport also.


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.


  • josh says:

    you should really check out his latest interview over at http://www.iamjoshbrown.com/blog/?p=688. It’s really good. Plus I here they’re trying to line up Andrew Jones for an interview when his schedule dies down.

  • Timothy Wright says:

    I really appreciate these two men taking the time and the honesty. I am probably more aligned to Bob Dewaay than Doug.

  • andrew says:

    bob takes a while to get going and warms up by the 3rd.

  • Sivin says:

    Thanks for the summary and the link.

  • Sivin says:

    part two is getting exciting … I’ll look forward to part 3

  • Ross says:

    This list of characteristics describes where my heart is. My practice is lagging a bit, but hopefully will catch up before people start calling me a hypocrit.

  • kent says:

    I look at those 11 characteristics and they seems to speak of the church in whatever age. This is what the character of the church is supposed to be no matter what the age or generation. Now I fall, sadly, into the older groupings, but I exepct my church to behave in the same way.

  • pellucid_2 says:

    have to agree with Kent – all churches should strive for these characteristics. if you’re trying to distinguish emerging churches from others, maybe it’ll come when one church values a certain characteristic over another.
    did doug indicate an order of priority for these characteristics? which would apply if circumstances caused a conflict between two or three of them? (can’t think of any examples, sorry it’s the end of a long day!)

  • aaron says:

    Was there any mention of grace and salvation from the death of God on the cross? Seems like it should be up there. Maybe that’s just me.

  • rudy says:

    thanks for synopsizing this, andrew

  • aaron says:

    I forgot to add the smiley face above. Without it that post might sound harsh.

  • joe says:

    12. Ever emerging but never coming to the knowledge of the hole that they’re in.

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