Interesting conversation going on about terms, in particular the words “emergent” and “emerging”. I know some people use the words interchangeably and others draw clear lines in the sand. I have never liked the lines very much. I see churches inside the Emergent Village world that do not show any characteristics of emergent behavior and are therefore “emergent” in affiliation but not in structure. Thats confusing. Time to go back to the ant (Prov. 6:6) and observe.
The terms “emergent” and “emerging” have both been applied to church and missions for many decades. I find it hard to dismiss all that i have read and know and start over again as if the conversation is only a decade old and these terms are brand new. Is our reading of missions really that shallow?
Scot McKnight is leading a discussion on these terms. But before you go, read Dave Dunbar’s article which has stirred up the chat. Emerging, Emergent and Missional: A Travelers Guide, Part B [PDF]. Btw, Part A is here and you can comment on Dave’s blog as well.
I have a lot of respect for David. We chatted last year over coffee in a fantastic little breakfast restaurant in Washington State about terms and names and he gave me some excellent advise. I like what David has presented here and look forward to the rest. He mentions me in a kind way at the end and although he has been contrasting the various groupings, he says “there are key people—most already mentioned– who by virtue of their high visibility and influence can not be limited to any one category. These would include Alan Roxburgh, Scot McKnight, John Franke, Tim Keel, Brian McLaren, and the affable Andrew Jones.”