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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Test of Emerging Emergents

I was relocating my woodpile the other day at the request (and great idea) of my wife, Kelly. While working, I had time to think. Thinking about the future and where God might be leading. Thinking about job stuff. Thinking about my family, kids, and my son in particular.

After a while my mind started to drift to the issues that face the church I serve and worship at, as well as, the state of the Church on the whole. What is holding us back? Where do we need to change? What do we need to go back to? How do teenagers really feel about church? What real influence are we having on this generation (and subsequent generations) of teenagers?

That led me to think about the emerging church and it's issues and ideas that it brings to the table, ecclesiastically speaking. I would love to see a truly emerging church in action. I've read about them. I've books by people who lead/pastor in them. But I don't know if I've ever actually been to one that has clearly defined, labeled, and missioned itself "emerging". Do they really exist or are they like unicorns: never seen, but only myth to be fantasized about in books and at conferences?

Are there really places that put the emphasis on people and not programs? Care more about justice for the poor than justifying their numbers: budgets or bucks? Think small not big? Move slow and not fast? Deep, ongoing conversion and not shallow, one-time converts?

Who knows?

But I do know this. That as much as I love the values and (most of) the ideology, I'm still a bit skeptical. I'm skeptical not that it's here to stay, but that it's here to change. Change in the sense that it will continue to evolve not just over the next couple of years, but will it commit to changing in the next 10-25-50 years when our culture, people, and contexts change as a country and church. What I don't want is an emerging Church whose core values (at some level) and commitment to solid biblical, Jesus-y, kingdom, gospel oriented theology do NOT change that often (if at all).

I want to see a movement that not only is committed to change now, but, again, when are culture needs it to adapt in order lead people to Jesus and Him crucified. When I culture thinks, sees, talks, hears, and experiences divine truth and love differently.

So talk to me in at least 10 years and we'll see if this Emerging Church is truly emerging. Until then, I'll enjoy the ride: understanding, sharing, and doing the ministry of Jesus, His Kingdom and His gospel.

1 comment:

ckd said...

I tend to think that many churches that may be "emergent" are wise enough to not say that they're "emergent" because in the evangelical world they are not a unicorn, but the boogey-man...

and you're right, if they don't continue to grow & change, they'll just become another group spouting off about how "the youngster's these days don't __________(fill in the blank)."

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