Whatever happened to the girl who started the emerging church network?

Well, she's in her thirties now so you can no longer call her a "girl" without getting into trouble, but whatever happened to Shannon Hopkins?

sweet notions

In the nineties, after being part of the Young Leaders 1998 event in New Mexico [where we first met] she helped to launch a coffee-shop kinda church called Soul Cafe, one of the first emerging church expressions in Texas. Then she pulled key leaders together around Texas and the emerging church network was formed. After that, she hosted a number of incredible alt. worship experiences like Wabi Sabi and Doxology. I was there. They rocked!

Then she shifted her base to London to work alongside us in a new focus on Europe as well as USA, And taking the missional idea even further, she has been launching mission-shaped social enterprises and campaigns that have had an even greater impact than her previous efforts.

shannon hopkins truth isnt sexy

She started a network of young Christian business entrepreneurs in London called NET – Network of Entrepreneurial Talent. She helped to halt the flow of human trafficking through The Truth Isnt Sexy beer-mat campaign [image above]. She has been shaking the world of social enterprise through Sweet Notions, training social entrepreneurs at Greenbelt Festival, challenging the church to think different, and developing a holistic measuring tool for social enterprises called the Transformational Index. Which is what we were doing in New York a few months ago.

Like many missional entrepreneurs, Shannon hasn't used the term "emerging church" for quite a few years, and she cringes when she hears me say it. The EC conversation got stuck a long time ago, Shannon would say, and no longer described her. No longer described us.

What's really cool is that Soul Cafe is raising money for Shannon's next season through a raffle. $5 a ticket and you can win a trip for two to London, including accommodation. The drawing is in a few days so email Cathers for details or buy it online now.

UPDATE. Sep 2011. The Transformational Index is almost a reality. Well done! Check it out here.


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.


  • Joanna says:

    I am just studying Sustainability indicators on my course and I was wondering if you have a link or a contact for Transformational Index as it sounds interesting?

  • tsk says:

    Hi Joanna, I also took a course on social accounting, offered by the British government.
    nothing online yet but i did say earlier that it will be a . . ” social accounting system that will help us measure transformational impact with 4 bottom lines: by which I mean the projects will be (1) socially transformative, (2) environmentally responsible, (3) economically self-sustainable and (4) bring spiritual renewal and reconcilation. A lot of social enterprises measure 3 forms of capital (social/environmental/economic) and leave out the spiritual but we all feel the spiritual capital is essential and foundational.

  • stew says:

    keep us posted – this looks like it would be a great tool for anyone involved in social entrepreneurship

  • becky says:

    Shannon rocks that’s for sure. The fact that she was never seen as a key leader in the US emergent church movement later on spoke volumes to me.

  • Tsk says:

    She was never a member of the emerging church book club, and did not want to be. Instead she was just getting on with the job. Like the majority of ec leaders.

  • becky says:

    My point exactly … that was one of the biggest findings in my pilgrimages smashing idols while looking for the glimpses of God underneath. There are exceptions – e.g., Steve Taylor and Dave Andrews write books but they’re books aren’t packaged as an EC product here in the States.

  • Joanna says:

    Yes I would like to see some sustainability indicators which include the spiritual side of things. Just getting to grips with what they really are and what makes an indicator a good one and measurable

  • hey my dear, thanks for posting and cheering Shannon on- yes she does Rock….. Becky spoke volumes to me that she’s not seen as a leader in the EC – even way back then…. (sorry Andrew, but there is that annoying thing again about females who are amazing and not “seen”) ok, nuff ranted.

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