What is the emerging church, anyway?

Recently some people have begun to speak more widely about the “emerging church” and the impact that this movement might have on the broader church, but what does this term mean?

Our tour of various churches in Victoria last month included a small percentage of emergent looking churches. Some have buildings, some did not, some have staff, some did not. In fact some at first appearance may not have classified as ’emergent’ but on deeper investigation may well have been classified as such. It’s an interesting issue, this defining what an ’emerging church’ is. I have heard one of the pastors at my own church (Whitford Church, Perth) refer to Whitford as an emerging church – is it? Well I guess depending on your definition it may well be emerging. Emerging from what though?
One of the churches we visited on our recent tour was Northern Community Church of Christ. Phil and Dan McCredden (signposts) lead this group. They have written an article on the topic “What is the emerging church anyway?”. It’s worth a read. Click here for the article.

* Let me just add as a disclaimer – The intent of our tour was NOT to expose people to the emerging church, but simply to expose people to a broad range of differing expressions of what church, and youth ministry can look like. (Just in case you heard otherwise) Anyone coming home from a tour like ours strongly influenced one way or the other was influnced by their own ‘filters’ so to speak. To give you an example, one guy came home thinking the strong leaning of the tour was toward a ‘Planet Shaker’ model, another came home thinking of moving toward a more ’emergent’ style model, yet both attended the same tour and heard the same speakers, and saw the same collection of expressions of church.
For more info on our tour click here and for an even more detailed report (7 page word doc.) please email me scvawser@iinet.net.au

There may be a tendancy to erroneously connect the dots between an individual’s conclusion from a tour such as ours and the organisers intention. That would be easy to do but a little presumptuous would it not??

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One thought on “What is the emerging church, anyway?

  1. Good on ya Vawsie. Good to see ya bloggin ya way through the internet quaqmire of thought and reflection. You’re raising some great questions about the emerging church…but one of the reasons you can’t easily define it is because it’s still emerging. I’m also not certain we will want to retain the term “church” in light of it’s failing reputation. Maybe we could call it emerging faith communities…because I think the emergin church is more about community (including its surrounding community) than it is about an organsization or structure.

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