Emerging Church Jello Begins its Wobbly Descent

Soooooo the emerging church jello plastered on the walls of historical memory by uninformed critics finally begins its slow, wobbly descent, revealing that not all that was said about emerging church leaders was accurate . . .  as I have been saying for a LONG TIME. Here's some quotes you might appreciate:

"I don’t attend an emerging church, and for that matter have never used
the phrase in any of my books."
Miller, "A Leader in the Emerging Church?

"We don't ever use that word" Rob Bell, answering the question "Is Mars Hill, the church that you pastor, is that an Emerging Church?"

"The term "emerging church" is normally applied to churches like these
[organic, simple] and it makes sense that Rob Bell does not use the term to describe his
community." Tallskinnykiwi 2007


"Saying that Steve Chalke is the most influential leader in the emerging
church in the UK is like saying Borat is the most influential leader in
Kazakhstan. Despite commonly held perceptions from the uninformed [according
to Wired.com
Borat actually IS the most recognized representative
of Kazakhstan
], it's just not true." TallSkinnykiwi 2009


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.


  • bobhyatt says:

    Na- for years Don’s church had a sponsored Google ad that said “An emerging church in Portland.” I think that word was even in the browser title of the church webpage for quite a while. I get why they don’t want to claim it now, but there was a time…

  • Mars Hill Church (the one is Grand Rapids NOT Seattle) always struck me as a cooler, hipper version of Mars Hill in Seattle – it’s still the model of a megachurch, which by definition would preclude it from being in the emerging model. From what I’ve been told, MHC has lost about 60% percent of it’s members. And while Rob’s sales stats are numberes most writers would love, his first book which sold over 500,000 but his remaining books haven’t come anywhere close to that stat. This is a common trajectory for a hot new writer – first book does gangbusters, so he gets monster size advances only to have the subsequent books fall way short of expectations. I predict this trend will continue as people move on to the next shiny new theological toy.
    What you’re seeing is various incarnations of Jell-O that are now labeled organic, missional, etc. But it’s still that same wiggly goo in dayglow colors that contain bits of fruit, marshmallows and God only knows what else. People keep bringing this crud to church potlucks when in fact, folks want a fresh fruit salad.

  • Andrew says:

    hi bob. i remember parking our rv on Rick’s driveway in portland back in 1999 for a few days. back then, that church really WAS emerging in the truest sense of the world but that was 11 years ago and it is mature enough to lose the label. fair enough.

  • Carlo says:

    And of course Shane Claiborne pretty much says he’s not emerging church either:

  • Zach says:

    You sure use this word a lot while you keep saying you’re not using it anymore.

Leave a Reply