“In the 1990s, there were very few examples of churches that were communicating within the perspectives and practices of new urban cultures. More typically at that time, the strategy consisted of making the church service relevant to outsiders . . . . In the year 2000, the emerging movement got its start”
Ryan Bolger has a great post on the emerging church movement. I have a lot of respect for Ryan because he co-edited one of the very best books written on the emerging church after extensive interviews, and because his insights are valuable.
2000 as a start date? I don’t have a problem with this. While there was a lot going on in the late nineties, it didn’t yet have the momentum to be called a movement. By 2000, I had left USA and was discovering like minded groups in UK, NZ, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Norway and it was obvious that something much larger than ourselves was going on. When I was helping to write the early definition of emerging church on Wikipedia, before it all got vandalised (an enemy has done this), I used Paul Pierson’s ten characteristics of a movement to show how the EC was in fact a movement like many others. Paul Pierson was one of my teachers at Fuller School of World Mission.
Fuller Seminary? Yeah. Fuller had an impact on me when i studied missions there for 2 terms (93-94) and also on the church growth movement before. Glad to see Alan Tippet get a mention. I referred to him a lot in my talks in Australia in April. And that meeting Ryan talked about was influential. I was one of the 40 who was there and I also acted as a Reflector for the group.
“Relevant to outsiders”– Many of us were experimenting in the late 80’s and early 90’s with emerging church structures but there were generally, as Ryan says, still pimping up the church service to make it relevant to outsiders. It wasnt until 1995 that we started My Phathers House under the Southern Baptist banner in San Francisco that took seriously the transition from “attractional” to “missional” and committed ourselves to allowing the new church structures to rise up (emerge) organically inside the emerging culture.