That familiar question- what is emerging?


Like many others, I have been participating in the emerging church ‘conversation’ for a few years now.

It has been wonderful.

It has transformed the way I think about and understand faith, and brought me again to a deep love of Jesus and all he calls us to.

It has brought me into contact with wonderful people who are traveling in the same direction.

It has given me a genuine hope that things are changing- that something NEW is happening.

The Lion of Judah is circling again…

But it has also brought me into conflict with others- whose core beliefs lead them to adopting different positions in relation to some of the building blocks of faith. And within me, after these years of discussing and blogging and reading- I also wonder where we are up to with this thing.

I particularly wonder where we are up to in Scotland, 2009.

So- some questions!

Where are new forms of church emerging and in what ways are they different?

Where are the agitators, the innovators, the people who pioneer new (emerging) forms of church?

The term seems to be used too as a way for traditional churches to seek renewal. Is this genuine change, or is it merely an attempt to do the same things, but be a bit more trendy?

Where is leadership coming from? Do we need it, or is there still a reaction against centralisation and control?

How do we find mentoring and companionship? Do we still need sympathetic and skillful people who will hold us accountable? Where are these people?

These seems to me to be a difficult, but very important questions. Our reaction to them will no doubt very much depend on where we start from.

I am part of a small group of people outside established church. We meet in houses and celebrate in non-religious environments. We form partnerships where we can, and have many friends, and some folk who view us with at best considerable suspicion! Groups like ours have many advantages- freedom, mobility, passion and excitement. But they are also fragile and ephemeral. They tend to depend on a small group of innovators, and are held together by friendship. When the storms begin (as the surely will) many things can simply destroy such gatherings.

This may be the natural order of things. Perhaps what survives is what is of worth. But perhaps too, like me, you are hungry for connection and for ways to seek and to provide support. Perhaps you are facing a difficult situation, and just need to speak to someone who has been there before.

Perhaps too you are, or have been, part of church situations where you no longer feel at home, New ideas and ways of doing things are in your mind, but the leadership of the place where you are is not open to such things. Perhaps what you need is to find others who have adventured still within such a situation.

There is a discussion thread that digs into some of these things on the Emerging Scotland site.

4 thoughts on “That familiar question- what is emerging?

  1. I too find myself on the outside of the church buildings and, while I do run into conflicts with some, I have found that the freedom to love and accept anyone and everyone has drawn me into a greater community then ever before. I think that we need to listen to the leadership that recognizes the spiritual and the physical blessing that we are called to be and as long as we have fellow travelers and we are walking the road Jesus traveled (or in process) we will find a common purpose because we are guided by a common spirit.

    Just some thoughts

    • Well said scooterzoo…

      I would be interested to know a bit more about your story.

      The freedom to form friendships and to look for ways to serve, and not to have to ‘sell’ membership of some organisation is something we have often talked about too.

      I still wonder about the need for dynamic example and supportive networks however. And what form of leadership is needed to bring these things about…



  2. Pingback: Emerging church- the debate continues… « this fragile tent

  3. Pingback: More on the ‘emerging’ word (weary sigh…) « this fragile tent

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