Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How can we help Emergent church planters?

I sincerely believe that it takes different kinds of churches to reach different kinds of people. One type of church that has appeared recently is the emergent church. I won't try to describe what an emergent church is, but most are urban, skewed toward young adults (although others are not excluded), draw on many aspects of the Christian heritage for worship, and tend to be relational and experiential.

Emergent churches bring a new edge to the Christian movement. We could use a few in the CBF movement! The catch is, do emergent church planters and leaders want to relate to any institution, even one as loosely structured as CBF?

Emergent leaders tend to be very entrepreneurial. They already have a vision of what they want to accomplish and a way to get there. So do they want coaches? Probably not. Are they looking for funding? In most cases, no. They are a bit afraid of the "ties that bind" and are afraid that this will be selling out.

What do they need then? I think they need relationships. They need friends with a different point of view who are willing to dialogue with them about what it means to be church. They need colleagues who recognize that we are all doing kingdom work. They need encouragers to say, "Go for it."

In reality, maybe we need them more than they need us. They are the scouts out on the new frontier of postmodern culture. They may well challenge us to follow in their steps as pioneers on the new frontier.

Do you know anyone doing an emergent ministry? What's your relationship like?


Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

After sitting through that workshop at GA, I still had difficulty figuring out what emergent village was supposed to be. I wasn't sure if it's "church-lite" or "The Jesus Movement" with a new label. I did appreciate the analogies of "Beer, candles, and Kierkegaard" especially the first label in that community is so vital. This might be the strength of the movement but I wonder about its theological framework. It's seems more mystical that traditional church. I'm not sure about partnering with them just yet.

Ircel said...

Have you read any of Brian McLaren's books? Although he would deny that he is a spokesperson for the movement, he comes as close as anyone. I think McLaren's key point is that both Fundamentalism and Classic Liberalism are based on the modern project (or way of thinking). Both are captive to rationalism in their own way. He proposes a "third path" and there is more of a spiritual (even mystical) part of this developing path. A testimony to this is his own study of Orthodox Christianity which, of course, has its own slant on many doctrines.

Steve Street said...

I have found McLaren's books refreshing and frankly compatible with CBF's spirit. I am tried of new terms. In the 90's we were seeker-targeted or seeker-sensitive. Now we are emergent or missional. Are the ideas really that new? Or are they bringing to life great truths of our faith? I want to be a follower of Jesus and belong to His church.

Ircel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ircel said...

I think that this is what McLaren is addressing in his book, A GENEROUS ORTHODOXY. We have a long history as Christians and have tried many things--some have worked and some have failed miserably. What can we learn from each in relating to our culture?

baptistlikeme said...

It's heartening to see others talking about the need that emerging church plants have for relationships. I totally agree that we all need "colleaugues who recognize that we are all doing kingdom work" and encouragers who say "go for it."

Thanks for this post.