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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!)

  • 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.

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