Where is the emerging church headed? What direction is it taking?
One of the problems with trying to answer such a question is that “emerging church” means many different things. I think this is because God is doing many different things, working large shifts in the church in the new cultural contexts we find ourselves in.
For me, the emerging church saved my faith. My mid-life crisis consisted of having the foundational, propositional arguments of “reasons to believe in Jesus (and what that means)” be torn apart. Through the emerging church (which was then called “postmodern” Christianity) I learned that
a) I am not crazy,
b) I am not alone,
c) Jesus is new all over again.
The difficulty of trying to label anything “emerging church” is that God meets each of us at a different point of need. I bet many, many folks can identify with the a-b-c process outlined above (not crazy, not alone, Jesus is still the center). But we start from different points and are presently at different points. And isn’t that OK?
So perhaps instead of asking, “Where is the emerging church headed?” a better question is “Where am I headed?” or “Where am I taking the emerging church?” I want to highlight four people whose responses resonate with me:
Dan Kimball wants to recover evangelism as the heart of the emerging church: “All this talk of emergent and emerging is really trivial and trite when compared to the mission we are on – which isn’t about what is or isn’t E-merging or E-mergent but what we need to focus on is E-vangelism.” Read Scot McKnight’s words made me want to cry (in a good way). Dan is starting a new network along these lines.
Mike Bishop, on the other hand, is done with done translocal networks and associations. “This will happen best on a local and organic level – not through translocal networks or associations. The emerging church failed as a movement because some tried to domesticate the necessary (but un-domesticatible) process of moving from the old to the new.” Read Welcoming a New Reality.
John O’Hara sees the Spirit of God moving in fresh (one might say “emerging”) ways among people who have never heard of the emerging church or had any conscious association with it. “I guess by now it’s obvious — we’ve grown apart. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault.” Read Dear John Letter to Emergent (TM).
Michael Toy, though, wants to reassure everyone about the direction of Emergent Village under his care. “To replace the uncomfortable language around ‘walking in the Way of Jesus’ or ‘following Jesus,’ I would like us to just use ‘Jesish.'” Read Watch Michael Toy, National Coordinator of Emergent.
What about you? Were are you headed, and where are you taking the emerging church?
And do you like that image? I worked hard on it! 🙂