Archive for the ‘Emerging Church’ Category
The more I read and get to know Alan Hirsch, the more I appreciate and resonate with his thoughts on the term "missional" and what that means for us as individuals and for our church communities.
His latest post Missional the New Emergent? Not On My Shift! does a great job of communicating the different purposes of "emergent" and "missional" focuses.
From his post:
Why I am so fussy about this word is because I believe it
carries the full weight of the hope for the church in the West. I
wholeheartedly believe that the recovery of the missional idea of God
and Church is critical to the survival, let alone the growth, of
Christianity in the West. Much is at stake here!
Missional church is a community of God’s people that defines itself,
and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of
God’s mission to the world.
The mission of God flows directly through every
believer and every community of faith that adheres to Jesus. To
obstruct this is to block God’s purposes in and through his people. (From his book, The Forgotten Ways)
in my opinion what is expressed through Emergent, the Alt-Worship movement, and what has been called Post-Evangelicalism, is not by-and-large a missionary movement, but is rather what I would call a renewal
As for me, I am happy to call the so-called ‘emergents’ friends and fellow travelers, I personally do not feel the need to question the inherited theological tradition as many of its adherents do.
Emerging forms of the church must always be subservient to the missional purposes of the church. My advice to ‘emergents’
is therefore, don’t emerge before you have a mission.
My advice to all you folks on both sides of the debate that mix up the term, be warned!
What you are doing is only making it harder for the Church to come to
grips with its deepest sense of call and purpose in this time and
place–no less! For God’s sake, be clear in your use of the term or can I suggest that you stop using it.
To guard against a further degrading of the word, I want to suggest (as I did in The Forgotten Ways) that we combine the term ‘missional’ with the associated term ‘incarnational’ to come up with the term missional-incarnational.
If ‘missional’ carries the sense of being ’sent’, then ‘incarnational’
gives definition to the nature of that ’sentness.’ If ‘missional’ means
being thrust into the world as witnesses to the redemption that is in
Jesus, then ‘incarnational’ shows us that we ought to engage the world
in the same way that God did in and through the Incarnation of the Word
in Jesus the Messiah.
Mission always sets our Agenda and Incarnation must always describe our Way.
Great post by David Foster:
Here’s what I mean when I use the word emerging:
1. I believe that all of life is lived before God, that we do not
compartmentalize our faith, doing one thing at church and another thing
2. I believe the disciplines of theology are meant to be entered
into everyday life, not a separate discussion that is apart from the
experience of conversion.
3. When I say emerging, I am really saying that I’m seeking where
God is moving in this moment; where the new ideas, trends, methods,
ways of presenting the gospel in our current culture are coming from;
to seek to ride the wave that God is sending.
4. When I say emerging, what I’m saying is that there is no
difference between clergy and laymen, that we’re all brothers and
sisters in Christ, equally called, equally gifted, and equally
responsible for the revolution of the gospel of grace.
5. When I say emerging, what I’m saying is, I have no particular
loyalty to a set of systems or methodologies. In some sense I’m a
pragmatist. I’m going to use what works and when it no longer works,
I’m going to set those methods aside to see what new methods God is
bringing to the forefront.
6. When I use the word emerging, I’m saying that I am sick and tired
of labels between conservative, liberal, fundamentalist, and social
action. I think we need to drop those labels and be men and women who
love Jesus and who are loving the world in His name.
7. When I say emerging, what I’m saying is I’m trying to erase the
false division that exists between profession and doing. My doing shall come out of my being.
8. When I say emerging, I’m saying I want to erase the so-called
barrier between social action and love for Jesus. If we love Jesus, we
love our brother, we love the poor, and we help those who are
disadvantaged. And that’s not a compromise, that’s an outcome.
9. When I use the word emerging what I’m saying is I want to carry on a conversation not a confrontation.
10. When I use the word emerging I’m saying I want to be faithful to
the gospel and to the foundation of God’s word. I want to use the kinds
of words that people understand. I use words that bring people
together, not words that divide them. I’m not looking for a fight. I’m
looking to join a group of men and women who are part of this worldwide
revolution of presenting the gospel in a dark, dangerous, sad world.
These are some of the things I mean by emerging. What do you mean?
Still sucking the caffeine out of The Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard Sweet. Here are a few beans for ya. Chew on ‘em, grind ‘em up…
Jesus didn’t call the disciples to regular discipleship. Regular disciples would have stayed in Jerusalem, founded a school, studied the words and works of their master… But Jesus wasn’t regular. He commanded his disciples to scatter, to go to the ends of the earth…
Jesus’ command ensured that the disciples would go out to the people, not sit and wait for an interested few to come to them.
The calling that shaped the lives and work of the disciples reflects direct experience more than distanced intellect, action more the erudition, boldness and chutzpah more than careful planning and deliberation.
The first-century disciples are a much closer fit to today’s well-curve world than are the church’s modern-era ways of thinking and doing.
How willing are we do dip into the well:
- at the edge of the knowledge where scientists and ethicists ponder the implications of gene manipulation, stem cell research, and the many other life-sustaining/life-ending decisions?
- at the edge of violence where armies and terrorist factions battle over who will be most feared?
- at the edge of technology where computers begin to think and react like humans, where the line between biological and mechanical life seems to blur?
- at the edge of wilderness where the threat of extinction hovers over species, and the extermination of habitat endangers the ecosphere, making even our weather patterns more extreme?
- at the edge of mission where Jesus’ name has never been heard, where his name is used only as a curse, in the most distant corners of the earth, in the hallowed-out hearts of our cities?
- at the edge of hope where people are dangling at the ends of their ropes, their heads in nooses of hopelessness and despair?
While in Bangkok I had the privilege of attending a Saturday evening UNDERground gathering at NewSong Bangkok. The location I visited was one of four locations throughout Bangkok – this one meeting in a very hip area of town called Siam Square.
I’m skimming through Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis and just ran across a quote that I had underlined and starred and put a bunch of exclamation points next to when I read it last year. I’d add more to those, but there isn’t any room, so instead I’ll share it with ch’all:
We reclaim the church as a blessing machine not only because that is what Jesus intended from the beginning but also because serving people is the only way their perceptions of church are ever going to change. This is why it is so toxic for the gospel when Christians picket and boycott and complain about how bad the world is. This behavior doesn’t help. It makes it worse. It isn’t the kind of voice Jesus wants his followers to have in the world. Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it could be.