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Hopes and Dreams for the Emerging Church

4 February, 2005 12:33 AM

The other Darren just posted a private conversation that I had with him on MSN....umarrrrr!!!! (will have to watch what I say in future)... But its ok because I was about to post it myself...

I said a couple of days ago that I was preparing a presentation (its sort of a job interview) on Emerging Church and Denominations. I'm still working on that (and would value any insights that you might have) - but the other part of the presentation is on 'What is your Dream for the Emerging church?'

The other Darren answered the question by saying:

'that it stops hiding behind the emerging label and takes on the reality that it is The Church'

That is an answer that resonates with me. Its actually something I've been pondering all day as I've done a bit of preparation for my presentation. I agree with Darren. Whilst I don't mind the term EC (and think its useful to have a term to describe what is happening) I have worried about its continued and constant use (I'm as guilty as the next person) in the past few months/years.

My worry with the term is that in continuing to distinguish what we do as 'Emerging/Emergent/Organic/Simple/Liquid/New/Post Modern...(insert favorite term here)' that we might actually be setting ourselves up for a fall.

Don't get me wrong - I think there definitely is something going on in the lives of individuals, communities and even denominations around the world, something is 'emerging' - but in defining ourselves constantly in this way I wonder if we alienate ourselves from the rest of the Body of Christ that we are called to be. I've heard an increased amount of rumblings about the EC in the local scene here in Melbourne recently and wonder if some of it comes as a result of us setting ourselves up as somewhat different or separate from the Church.

I'm not suggesting that we don't use the word any more - but rather I'm feeling a growing urge to build relationships with the wider Church community and to be more aware of the consequences of our choice of language and labels.

My dream or hope is not for the Emerging Church - rather it is for the Church. I'll leave it at that for the moment (stay tuned for the rest of my presentation next week) but that is where I'm going to start. I can't wait for the day (and I hope that it will come) where the line between 'Emerging' and 'Mainline' or 'Traditional' church is blurry and where such blurriness doesn't matter.

So what do you think? What do you think about the term Emerging Church? What are your Hopes and Dreams for the EC?





the other darren » 4 February, 2005 12:56 AM

one line always resinates me from the creeds

one holy, catholic, apostolic church...

that's the reality that i wish us to realise...

i think teh emerging church's throwing aways of a lot of the "cant's" has meant that ecumenical and cross cultural and denominational boundries have been removed...

"that they may be one" was jesus' prayer, and one i pray on irregular occasions.

the other darren » 4 February, 2005 1:46 AM

i hope there is always an emerging church
not in name but in action
that is always on the brink of change
looking to foresee changes in society and culture
finding new ways to be meeting with people
where ever they may be

�johnman� » 4 February, 2005 2:21 PM

my hopes and dreams for the EC are many (perhaps too many), amongst them include being missional, incarnational, engaging the culture and not yet Christians on their turf, contextualising the gosepl, emphasising discipleship and with apostolic leadership - in short, fulfilling God's Great Commission.....do u reckon my expectations are too high?

Kitty » 4 February, 2005 9:48 PM

I'm sad. I've become aware just the last 2 days of how the estbalished church people are feeling about emerging christianity. it sucks, cus the last thing we need is a we're right and ur not, kinda thing going on. I'm going to post my response on my blog 2morrow when I've thought more through it.

Tab » 5 February, 2005 12:50 AM

bob carlton shares some hopes here:


the other darren » 5 February, 2005 12:58 AM

You're right Tab, it is sad. However I think there is hope (or at least I hope there is hope...if you can do that) because I think when people take the time to explain, share their motivations and experiences and tell the stories of the new emerging churches that they are part of that most people can see that really its not that different to 'mainline' church after all.

I can't count the amount of times I've shared about LivingRoom to people only to have them say something like 'oh that's like what we do....'

At the core of what we do it is like what they do (most of the time) - of course there are differences but usually the values are the same and people are accepting.

Darren » 5 February, 2005 1:00 AM

Hey Darren - I wonder in response to his question - What does he mean to stop hiding? It sounds all challenging to say that but what does it mean? Stop hiding how? How might we be hiding in the first place?

+ Alan » 5 February, 2005 8:05 AM

I agree that there must always be an "emerging church" not neccessarily in name, but definitely in action. I am "emerging" in the arena of ministry that i am involved in.

Mark » 6 February, 2005 8:03 PM

Its an issue Im struggling with myself. On the one hand 'emerging' label seems to subtly (or not so subtly) hint that an eventual split with the mainstream is inevitable - I mean if you're emerging from it, your no longer in it, right!? So there's this divisive and alienating element and it can also set us up for an underdog position. On the other hand, a reluctance to differentiate can give the mistaken impression that the McDonaldisation of the church is legitimate. I think there is a creative tension that needs to be explored further.

Another problem I also see is that many are starting to adopt the label simple because they put up a few candles in their worship service yet there is no significant rethink of worldview under the surface. If the label just degenerates into the next style fad then maybe its usefulness has been outlasted anyway. Lets just do what we do in the way that the Spirit calls us.

Matt Stone » 20 February, 2005 1:08 AM

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