BE AWARE: THE EMERGING CHURCH MOVEMENT (EC / ECM) REDEFINING CHRISTIANITY
By Anette Ignatowicz August 11, 2011
The Emerging Church Movement [ECM] refers to those churches and organizations that align themselves, whether formally or informally, with the vision and philosophy of an organization officially named Emergent. The Emergent organization can be found online at www.emergentvillage.com. Emergent identifies itself as, “a growing, generative friendship among missional Christians seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ”. This organization was founded and is led by prominent spokesmen like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and others. “Emergent Village began as a group of friends who gathered under the auspices and generosity of Leadership Network in the late 1990s. We began meeting because many of us were disillusioned and disenfranchised by the conventional ecclesial institutions of the late 20th century. The more we met, the more we discovered that we held many of the same dreams for our lives, and for how our lives intersected with our growing understandings of the Kingdom of God.”
Leadership Network was formed in 1984 to work with leaders of innovative churches to explore these questions to generate kingdom results. “Believing that meaningful conversations and connections can change the world, Leadership Network seeks to help leaders of innovation navigate the future by exploring new ideas together to find application to their own unique contexts. Through collaborative meetings and processes these leader map future possibilities and challenge one another to action that leads to results. Through our publications, books and on-line experiences we share the learnings and inspiration to others and surface new conversations worthy of exploration.”
Leadership Network is a part of OneHundredX, a Dallas, Texas based 501c3 nonprofit organization that seeks to accelerate the impact of 100x leaders. Its current president and CEO is Tom Wilson.
You can check their latest financial report at http://100x.org/resources/FINAL%202010%20Annual%20Report.pdf – fascinating reading!
The Organization’s vision is that these leaders will be effective in the transformation of lives, communities and the world. This mission is achieved through a variety of events, publications, and various strategic alliances.
Leadership Network whose mission is to identify, connect and multiply the impact of innovative leaders primarily in the church. Leadership Network was co-founded by Bob Buford is a cable-TV pioneer, social entrepreneur, author, and venture philanthropist. He became founding chairman in 1988 of what was initially called The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management (now Leader to Leader Institute).
In 1988, Dick Schubert, Frances Hesselbein and Bob Buford convinced Peter Drucker to lend his name, his great mind, and occasionally his presence to establish an operating foundation for the purpose of leading social sector organizations toward excellence in performance. Bob serves as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Governors. Through its conferences, publications and partnerships, The Drucker Foundation is helping social sector organizations focus on their mission, achieve true accountability, leverage innovation, and develop productive partnerships. “Started in 1984, Leadership Network serves as a resource broker that supplies information to and connects leaders of innovative churches. The emerging new paradigm of the 21st century church calls for the development of new tools and resources as well as the equipping of a new type of 21st century church leader, both clergy and laity. Leadership Network serves the leadership teams of large churches, as well as leaders in the areas of lay mobilization, denominational leadership at the middle and regional judicatory level and the next generation of emerging young leaders.”
The Halftime Group – In 1998, Bob launched FaithWorks (name later changed to Halftime) to mobilize and equip high-capacity business/ professional leaders to convert their faith into action and effective results. The mission of Halftime is to inspire and equip business and professional leaders to embrace God’s calling and move from success to significance. Halftime is taking on the challenge of joining two distinct cultures – those of the business/professional leaders and the nonprofit leaders – in partnerships at the local community level where the business/professional leader sees and touches the lives of the recipients the partnership services.
with its vision “to fill this gap by matching proven and passionate executives and leaders—many of whom are sensing the call to service for the very first time—with the organizations who most need their expertise. The net result is a dramatic acceleration in the accomplishment of daring Kingdom objectives.”
Churches and organizations that would fall under the emergent label come from a diversity of Christian traditions. Many of these churches have evangelical roots, but you will also find Catholic, Orthodox and Mainline protestant denominations allied with the Emergent group. Accordingly, the theologies found within the emergent church are as diverse as the traditions that make it up. This theological diversity is widely celebrated within the movement and is the primary reason behind the emergent church’s disinterest in producing statements of faith, which are viewed as constricting and limiting to ongoing dialogue and theological imagination.
Socially and politically, the emergent church is also a diverse group. However, most commentators point out a greater propensity towards liberal interests and causes. Emergent churches also tend to be predominantly white. At the same time, while not necessarily a rule, emergent churches are often found in urban settings. Emergent churches also place a high value on social activism and concern for the urban poor.
As for the style and methodology of the emergent churches, you will find a tremendous amount of diversity here. Again, reflecting the diversity of traditions that make up Emergent’s “generative friendship”. Some of these emergent churches will resemble settings like coffee houses or nightclubs, settings geared towards a multi-sensory worship experience. But others will take the opposite approach, favoring a more contemplative or liturgical feel in their worship gatherings. And some will blend both.
For those in the UK here is the website leading the way for the emerging church movement ECM: http://www.emergingchurch.info/.
EMERGENT/EMERGING CHURCH LEADERS
· Brian D. McLaren
The person most commonly associated with the movement. Former English professor who is now a pastor, traveling speaker, and author of several books.
Recognized as one of TIME magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” he serves on the board of the social activist organization, Sojourners. His book, A New Kind of Christian won an award of merit from Christianity Today in 2002. Another of his works, A Generous Orthodoxy, has achieved something akin to Scripture status in the Emerging Church movement.
· Tony Jones
National Coordinator of Emergent, an organized network of cooperating emerging ministries. He is a doctoral fellow and senior research fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary whose books have been highly influential in the movement.
· Dan Kimball
Author of several books, including The Emerging Church; Vintage Christianity for New Generations (a Christianity Today best book of 2004). He is the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California.
· Rick Warren
An American evangelical Christian minister and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch located in Lake Forest, California, currently the eighth-largest church in the United States (this ranking includes multi-site churches). He is also an author of many books, including his guide to church ministry and evangelism, The Purpose Driven Church, sold over 30 million copies.
· Tony Campolo
Tony Campolo is an American pastor, author, sociologist, and public speaker known for challenging evangelical Christians by illustrating how their faith can offer solutions in a world of complexity. With his liberal political and social attitudes, he has been a major proponent for progressive thought and reform in the evangelical community. He has become a leader of the movement called “Red-Letter Christian”, which claims to put the emphasis on the words of Jesus that are often in red type in Bible editions.
· Eddie Gibbs
Professor of church growth at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Author of several books including Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (which he coauthored with Ryan Bolger). His book Church Next: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry was a Christianity Today best book of 2001.
· Erwin McManus
Author and speaker who is described on his website as “The lead pastor and Cultural Architect of Mosaic in Los Angeles. Known around the world for its spiritual creativity and cosmopolitan diversity, Mosaic is a community of followers of Jesus Christ committed to live by faith, to be known by love, and to be a voice of hope. Since the early 90’s, Erwin has led Mosaic in a pioneering enterprise whose primary focus is to serve the post-modern, post-Western, and post-Christian world.”
· Leonard Sweet
Professor at Drew University whose writings are popular in the movement. He sometimes veers very close to New Age concepts in his writings.
· Stanley Grenz
Now deceased, former professor of theology who co-authored the influential book, Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context.
· John Franke
Professor of theology at Biblical Seminary in Hartfield, PA. Co-author of Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context.
· Stanley Hauerwas
Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School. Named “America’s Best Theologian” in 2001 by TIME magazine. Heavily influenced by postmodern philosophers, he has in turn had a profound effect on the Emerging Church movement. Known to frequently use profanities in his speaking engagements.
· Brad Kallenberg
Professor of Religious Studies at University of Dayton. His primary interest is in ethics.
· Doug Pagitt
The pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis. Author of several books who is a recognized leader in the movement.
· Nancey Murphy
Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her book, Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism has influenced many emergent leaders.
· Steve Chalke
British Baptist once known for his doctrinal orthodoxy who has embraced the movement, retreating from his former views. His book, The Lost Message of Jesus created great controversy in the UK. In 2001, Steve laid the foundations of the FaithWorks Movement and in 2003 became senior minister of Christ Church & Upton Chapel. Church.co.uk Waterloo, as it is now known was first in the Oasis vision to develop a church network around the UK that aspire to be, open 24/7, global in impact and holistic to the local community. Oasis have recently opened Church.co.uk Salford and Church.co.uk Enfield
· Dave Tomlinson
Since it was published two years ago, Dave Tomlinson’s The Post-Evangelical has made a rare impact. It has handed the Christian press a long-running story; presented church traditionalists with a new target, and given the Greenbelt Festival a pocket-sized manual. More than this, though, it has prompted many evangelicals to re-think their faith in the light of postmodern culture.
· LeRon Shults
Professor of theology at Bethel Seminary. Author of books such as The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology.
· Barry Taylor
Barry Taylor is a Brit who lives in Los Angeles, California where he does a number of things that, at first glance, don’t seem very connected. He teaches theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he is the Artist-in-Residence for the Brehm Center. He also teaches advertising and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, topics that were part of his theological doctoral study programme. He also teaches on faith and culture, and helps shape alternative stuff at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. He has written a few books: A Matrix of Meaning with Craig Detweiler, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, with Spencer Burke, as well as his latest, Entertainment Theology.
· Chris Seay
Baptist pastor and author who is collaborating with Brian McLaren on The Voice project, a retelling of the Bible as a collection of stories, poems and songs.
· Bill Dahl
Freelance writer, social activist, and speaker who frequently contributes articles to various publications and websites.
· Donald Miller
Author of several popular books, including Blue Like Jazz. His works have been highly coveted in the movement, and he is contributing to the Voice project.
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