Improvising Church: An Introduction to the Emerging Church Conversation by Scott Bader-Saye

(In International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, vol. 6, no. 1, March 2006, pp.12-23)

I stumbled across this excellent article recently – it’s the best introduction to the emerging church movement that I’ve read.  (If you don’t have journal access I found a copy here.)

To my mind there are three key characteristics which are important to understand in the emerging church movement. They are all challenges posed by ‘postmodernism’ and the nature of the response varies between individuals and communities, hence the great variety in the movement.  But that’s why Scott Bader-Saye’s article is so helpful – this is the emerging church.  It is evolving, improvising as best it can to a world which is shifting beneath our feet.

The emerging church movement is responding to:

  • philosophical shifts about the nature of knowledge and truth – how do we have humility around human limitations of knowing and still say something meaningful about God?
  • the cultural shifts brought on by the digital age – multi-media, fast-paced, fragmented communication, globalised markets, etc.
  • the demise of the Institutional Church – a desire to recover the missional heart of the church.  Discipleship which is good news not only for ourselves.

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