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Friday, October 05, 2007

advertising emergence?

I was reading through some older posts on Michael Kruse's site about churches who are beginning "emergent worship" services. He wrote, "I'm not really sure there's such a thing as Emergent Worship." I agree with him (at least this is what that means to me - ha!).

Post-modernism, emergent culture and emergent church, and the generations that supposedly embody these terms do not particularly want to be defined, assigned, and labeled. To do so is one of the particular traits of the modern culture that is being left behind.

Without intending any slight to the church doing emergent worship in Michael's post, or to those in my own area who are being intentionally emergent, it seems to me that being emergent in worship is simply that ... being. Advertising, labeling, and hyping emergent "tricks" doesn't make one emergent.

I don't think anyone in my presbytery would think of my church as an emergent worship church. That's probably because I never use that word (or post-modern) in normal conversation. But I think someone who is being targeted by explicitly 'emergent' services would feel as welcome, included, and HOME, at Good Shepherd as anywhere in our city.

This is not to say I don't read the literature and understand the values and priorities of a post-modern mind (mainly I do 'cause I grew up with it), but like the Gospel, it isn't a program to execute, it is who we are. And if I understand anything about emergent culture, I think the church is going to miss the mark if we lead with a "program especially designed for 20-something emergents." That sounds more like something that would appeal to the father of a 20-something who really wants to get his kid to start going to church again.

I'm not saying that we should keep doing "traditional church" the way we always have; that, too, will miss the mark (has missed it!). In every age and culture, there are aspects of following Jesus that will resonate with the surrounding culture and there are aspects that will be very counter-cultural. We are called to be authentic, obedient, loving, followers of Jesus Christ. And in our obedient following, God shapes the church into a family full of love, grace, accountability, and living out the Gospel. I can't think of how we could be any more effectively emergent than that!

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