Darrin Patrick spoke at Covenant Theological Seminary and put together a little history of the emerging church in USA (or at least two groups within it – Emergent Village and Acts 29) and its really quite good and fair. Audio for Emerging Church Part One is at the Journey Blog. Darrin, quite apologetically, but using Baptist-speak to communicate to traditional folk, comes up with three streams:
1. Emerging Conversational, concerned with theological revision and Missio Dei. Emergent Village, bloggers, bi-vocational pastors, Seminary students. (Includes Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, etc)
2. Emerging Attractional, concerned with revising methods of church and in particular, the large group worship. This includes two groups:
a) neo-reformed (Mark Driscoll, Patrick, etc) who preach expositionally, and
b) non-reformed, neo-seeker (Erwin McManus, Andy Stanley, John Burke) who preach topically .
Both groups are risktakers and creative.
3. Emerging Incarnational, concerned with structural revision within the church. Downplay large group worship and like house church. Alan Hirsch, Lance Ford, Bob Hyatt, Neil Cole, Johnathon Cambell. I would add to this last group [hope Darrin doesnt mind] the cyberchurch/Church 2.0 folk, the neo-monastic movement, intentional community/justice based structures, and some others off the map but who still have the incarnational DNA.
Not bad, Darrin. Not bad at all! I did feel a slight urge to push Darrin’s history back a decade and widen it to include other movements in USA, especially those within the Southern Baptist world that I was a part of. But otherwise, I really enjoyed listening and reminiscing to Darrin’s stories. I was there for many of them. In his 3-stream categories, I would see myself primarily in the 3rd group, since most of the churches we are helping to start tend to be this kind and I have a strong affinity with the teaching and emphasis of the people mentioned – all of whom are friends of mine. But I also like to hang out with the first group to discuss theology and missiology. I dont have much at all in common with the neo-seeker crowd and they very rarely invite me to speak at their churches. Which is fine. Its a different animal.
Related: Article by Tim Townsend on the large turnout at this event and Emergent Village blog has some thoughts.
Also, Scot McKnight came up with 5 streams of emerging church which are very good. And if you can find the article, my 5 types of emerging church (“Postmodern Church Time Capsule”, GenNext, 2000) are getting old but are also insightful.