: online status :

« Pilgrimage, a state of mind? Blah Sheffield | Main | Mosaics »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

This raises for me the fascinating question of what "rites of initation" may the emerging church need to develop? Of course, if we're just picking up the de-churched we'll have the same debate about them already being baptised, so how do they re-commit themselves? I'm also aware that generally, the more "difficult" it is to join something, the more people will want to - has "membership" of the modern church been way too easy - turn up and your in? What does committment to the community of faith, in an emerging church, mean?

Good questions Andrew, I think there is a natural tension in community between inclusive hospitality and sacrificial committment... one could say that the "seeker service/church" model struggled with seeking to inclusive in its "worship" and losing some of the depth/mystery etc., I guess this is what Matt is exploring. We sometimes talk about the need for "refrectories" places that operate at different levels; a spititual meal (the monastic pattern was for constant scripture reading etc.), a place for a novitiate (or in the terms of the early church - a catechuminate), a place for visitors on pilgrimage and simply exploring the community and a place for those who simply need a meal!... so that reflects a threefold journey - core community, novitiate and explorer - plus a sense of hospitality - for the visitor/pilgrim and for those we serve in the wider community. In practice at the moment we often see Core community members (those that have made the commitment to the community and who wear the St. Brendans cross), new members of the community (those who are beginning to see the people and place as their family, but have not articulated a deep commitment to the vision/values of the community) and visitors (with a variety of reasons) eating and worshipping together. Many EC communities are finding some of the monastic language/pictures helpful in exploring these questions.

I think we need to work from the other end, Mark, but then I guess I would given that I don't buy the monastic stuff.

I think we need to start from the point of sacrifical service and structure our churches around whatever is needed to a) spiritually support those in need b) feed and enourage us to do work in our communities.

Seeker services are not bad in themselves, any more than Alpha or other resources are bad. But we need more imagination to identify and address the issues real people have in our communities. If we only focus on ourselves and our own internal church structure, I can't see that we ever really get to the point where community action becomes a priority.

Joe, I agree... the "monastic" structure for us is all about starting "from the point of sacrifical service and structure our churches around whatever is needed to a) spiritually support those in need b) feed and enourage us to do work in our communities." ie.e how do we develop communities that resource and nurture mission and ministry, have Christ at the centre, are pro-actively incarnational, take spiritual formation seriously, have a deep level of intimacy and accountability etc. No1 priority is to be servants of the Kingdom, the structure follows the needs/realities of being missional.

Mmm. I don't see much missional activity (as I've described above) by Emergent/ing churches. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.

I guess it does depend where you look Joe, and I don't know where you have... but there is in many places... I'm not saying many if any have got it "right", the balance that is (though it seems to me that 'The Simple Way'are pretty close!) ... I do hear more and more peers and friends talking about what it means to be "Missional" and it is certainly a big part of our explorations into what it might mean to be a Christ centred community... one thing I/we don't "buy into" is the old dualism of spiritual/social gospel/mission, we would see "shalom" as a holistic mission, in the way of Micah 6.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons ©