I am a disciple of Jesus who is seeking to be consistent, a spiritual leader who is trying to be learner, a father and husband who wants to be loving, a person who desires to be authentic, I don’t claim expertise in any of these areas only a desire to grow.
I’m planning to use this blog to help me reflect on what I am doing as a missional practitioner. So I’ll be posting some stuff that is making me think and reviews of books, conferences etc. I hope that we might even be able to get a meaningful conversation going around these issues. On this blog these are my own personal reflections and thoughts and shouldn’t be taken as the position of the Church I am privileged to be the pastor of Westlake, Nyon.
My other great loves apart from my wife and kids are motorbikes, especially Italian bikes, and in particular the BIG BLACK BRUTE, my MV AGUSTA 1090RR BRUTALE. Mustn’t forget my constant companion, our standard poodle, Ava, we have a lot of fun together. When it comes to sport, Rugby is my game and I support Edinburgh local team Boroughmuir and verge on the fanatical or embarrassing in my support for Scotland.
its truly bout the Journey cause the Destination is assured
I have to admit that you really hooked me with the Aprilia VeeTwin. Seriously, I am so pleased to be your friend on the journey. You have my prayers on your behalf and the endeavor to which God has called you. You will forgive me for too many years of riding a Harley won’t you? Cheers!
A Harley? oh dear 😦 …. Our friendship had started with such promise
I want to quote you in my essay, so can you tell me your name? Thanks, Sharon (student minister in the Methodist Church)
I was told to find you on Facebook by Kirsten Hansen but I’ve had no luck. My Facebook URL is http://www.facebook.com/xforeverchanged Hope to chat soon!
I’m a forth year student at icc, unfortunately I have to write a dissertation this year. Is it possible for an interview? I am looking at emerging church in our culture and how effective it is missionaly
I wouldn’t say we were an emerging church, I think the term is historically largely redundant and I would never define church primarily with reference to culture, I would say we are a Missional church as we trying to shaped primarily by the Missio Dei, so not sure we would come under the category of the type of ecclesiology you are trying to study.
Would you see yourself as coming alongside the emergent movement?
Nope. I would link the Emergent Church in the UK with the alternative worship events and the movement connected with them like Sanctus 1, Altar Ego etc and that wouldn’t be us at all. The Emergent Church wasn’t necessarily all that bothered about mission, well in my opinion. I think you might struggle to find a self identifying Emergent Church in the UK. Have you an agreed academic definition of “Emergent Church” with the supervisor for your dissertation ?
Yeah, it is very difficult to find one (i have find one in Glasgow which would loosely, my adviser suggested yourself). I have a definition and it is very broad, well to be honest the emerging movement is incredible broad (well i think it is). I can send you my definition if you want and see what you think, i actually have called the definition post-evangelical emergent.
I have never really done any research into Emergent church my academic work would be in the field of Missional ecclesiology, the standard book would be the Eddie Gibbs book with I think Ryan Bolger but I don’t think it deals with the UK very well. see if you can contact Jason Clark I think he was a key figure in something like Emergent UK but has probably moved on from there, a very good scholar in his own right in ecclessiology.
Thank you, can I ask, why hesitant to use culture to shape church and mission? Also do you knowing anything about the centre-set model and the bound-set model by Stuart Murray? If so, would you adhere to any?
I think your starting point in ecclesiology is hugely important if you start with culture, ie emergent or seeker sensitive etc you will end up with pragmatism being the determining influence. Mission is rooted and finds it source in the immanent Trinity, so to be a Missional church is to be shaped by the god of mission THEOLOGY —> MISSIOLOGY —> ECCLESIOLOGY not. CULTURE –> MISSIOLOGY –> ECCLESIOLOGY
Lots of missiologists use the bounded / centred set concept, I think Frost & Hirsch might have been the first in the SHAPING OF THINGS TO COME. We would be a centred set
Have a look at this
That was a very interesting article, thank you! I have read a bit of Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, really enjoyed the book shaping things to come, and engaging with the APEPT model for a church planting class im doing.The emergent church and church movement in general (i think) have started to refocus there attention on Kingdom values and Action, refocusing themselves on Christ. Reading a book by Shane Hipps who stated that the church movement in general has started refocus on Jesus and Gospels, instead of the Pauline letters, he puts this down to the moving away of modernity towards postmodernism (Or contemporary culture). Also some of the scholars i have been reading have stated that in general people are more interested in Spirituality and thus have started to move away from denominational churches/established churches because they believe there are institutionalised and killing off spirituality, can i ask, what you think of this? Also since you have a center-set focus, do you adhere to belonging before believing? if so why?
Sorry to ask so many questions, im just very curious how churches are being formed today. Im a Church of Scotland minsters son (Don’t shoot) and previous to my dad become a CS minster he was a baptist missionary in Brazil and when we came back from Brazil we attended a Anglican Church, so churches slightly fascinate me (sadly)
To get the best handle on what it means to be missional I would read Mike Frost’s THE ROAD TO MISSIONAL. In terms of missional ecclesiology the definitive book at the moment would be Graham Hill’s SALT, LIGHT & A CITY.
There was certainly a move back to a focus on Jesus in the Emerging Church movement, I suspect that was for several factors, NT Wright’s work on Jesus played a roll, a move away from reading Jesus through Paul to vice versa (again Wright) I think there was also a return to Jesus ethics, his example became very important, if you look at the missional church at the moment you will see the result of this is a section (the non-reformed) is adopting an increasingly Anabaptist ecclesiology. So the NT Wright stuff (and other scholars but he is the most important) the Anabaptist theology etc is all refocusing attention of Jesus and so inevitably the Kingdom of God, this redefining the way we understand the Gospel, see Wright’s How God Became King & Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel.
Frost and Hirsch have been very influential in this regard, in SHAPING OF THINGS TO COME they advocate the CHRISTOLOGY –> MISSIOLOGY –> ECCLESIOLOGY model. They have followed this up with a series of books, particularly Alan to help people do that, REJesus & Untamed being prime among them.
I suspect it is true that there is a move away from institutional expressions of Christianity, this is the thrust of Frost & Hirsch because if you follow the institutional model
ECCLESIOLOGY –> MISSIOLOGY —> THEOLOGY
what happens is that the institution (either denomination or traditions in local churches) determines how and to who you can express mission to, this in turn inevitably shapes how we understand God.
There is certainly a move toward “spirituality” in our culture and the sad thing is that few of those seekers would think to look in what they understand as the church to meet that need.
I think belonging does often (perhaps most often) come before belief in a post christendom culture and perhaps even behaving, it looks to me that often people are interested in social action and when they get involved with Christians in doing projects like that, ie food banks, programmes in the third world etc, they often then develop a sense of what Hirsch & Frost call “communitas” with believers and this leads to faith.
I wouldn’t what to over emphasise and systematise the who believing, belonging, becoming etc stuff, or focus would be on doing life with people and taking it from there rather than having a plan to lead people through various stages in a predetermined way. So helpful perhaps to understand what is happening generally but of course the Spirit blows where He will, so be open to exceptions, ie people believing first on occasions etc.
Yeah i read King Jesus by Scot Mcknight, was really interesting, I also read a lot of this blogs about the emerging movement, i did a paper on New Monasticism thus started to read about Communitas, was very insightful. Have you heard of the Homogeneous Unit Principle? Come out of Donald McVanran’s statement that said “Men like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic, or class barriers” What he was meaning was that non-Christians are more interested at first in the spiritual aspect rather than social action. However there seems now to be a united expression of spiritual and social action today. I think this is the case that people today want an identity to be part of something, they are scared of being alone, this is why i think so there are now so many ‘student’ churches now, these churches give a unity and conformity and leadership that many students crave. That in today’s contemporary culture, individuality is expressed as the best, but in reality this makes people scared. For my paper i have been reading Fowler stages of faith, although i don’t like putting people into categories (Postmodern kid that i am), i have found it helpful in criticing the emerging movement, because i am focusing on student churches and these churches generally seem to operate on culturally open and theologically closed. I think theologically closed because it is a protection around the student and gives a sense of unity, which perhaps they are not used to. However i think that once the student starts to grow and question, these churches do not interest them, they feel that there is no individuality, thus no authenticity and is normally more about words, rather than living out faith through deeds. Of course this is a huge generalization and perhaps i have become a wee bit cynical of these churches while writing my dissertation.
The Church Growth Movement was very influential when I first studied the “Homogeneous Unit Principle” was more about minimising the barriers that “seekers” had to cross to become Christians. I think it was motivated by the right reasons but had a damaging effect, it was often used by churches to justify not embracing racial integration and so became a source of division and sin.
The missional movement has also challenged it on theology, the missional movement would argue that it is God who comes to us in our culture, the Incarnation being the defining model and so the church should follow Jesus by way of incarnation to seek people out where they are, not focus on creating services to attract people where they will meet similar people.
My perception is that student churches are often “ministering” to already Christians and so they focus in helping them to defend their faith against what they perceive to be attacks from lecturers etc
Hey just wandering what your name is for references sake? 🙂