Monday, December 19, 2005

Notes from the December gathering

EMERGENT WEST MICHIGAN– 14 December 2005 (via Steve Argue)
“The job of art is to chase ugliness away.” – Bono


Members of emergent hold in common four values and practices that flow from them. In the language of a religious order, we call these four values our order and rule:

1. Commitment to God in the Way of Jesus
2. Commitment to the Church in all its Forms
3. Commitment to God’s World
4. Commitment to One Another

EWM Focus on Value 3: Commitment to God’s World

We practice our faith missionally – that is, we do not isolate ourselves from this world, but rather, we follow Christ into the world. We seek to fulfill the mission of God in our generations, and then to pass the baton faithfully to the next generations as well. We believe the church exists for the benefit and blessing of the world at large; we seek therefore not to be blessed to the exclusion of everyone else, but rather for the benefit of everyone else. We see the earth and all it contains as God’s beloved creation, and so we join God in seeking its good, its healing, and its blessing.


· To build relationships with neighbors and to seek the good of our neighborhoods and cities.
· To seek reconciliation with enemies and make peace.
· To encourage and cherish younger people and to honor and learn from older people.
· To honor creation and to cherish and heal it.
· To build friendships across racial, ethnic, economic and other boundaries.
· To be involved at all times in at least one issue or cause of peace and justice.

A few Questions for us…

1. Emergent folk use “mission/missional/missionally” a lot. How would you define this or explain it to someone? Is this really any different from being seeker-driven or committed to evangelism explosion? How do we keep this from simply following culture, as many critics have challenged?

2. In what way are we tying our beliefs to historical Christianity, in what ways are we pushing underdeveloped elements of the gospel forward (I believe these to be complimentary, not mutually exclusive), and what are we completely missing?

3. What does “commitment to God’s world” look like in West Michigan? What steps can we take? I’m curious to hear from you some of the things ministries are attempting. I think it would be most helpful for it to be explained in a way …

That is framed in a theological/missional understanding (The “why”);
That shows tangible how it embraces a cause for peace, justice, and expression of the gospel;
That the potential to include other ministries for a combined (co-op) commitment.


Heb. 1.1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Heb. 1.2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Heb. 1.3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The Chinese character for signifiying the idea of “crisis” combines two other characters, the one for “danger” and the other for “opportunity” (Guder) As we look at the church, we see a crisis. As we respond to the crisis each tend to lean more toward responding to the danger or the opportunity.

“The struggle to be both faithful and relevant is constant for every church. It is the church’s calling to embody the gospel’s “challenging relevance” (Guder). We might call consider this as expressing a “relevantly counter-cultural” message in word and deed.

Pete Ward in Liquid Church talks about how “church” has moved from a verb to a noun. In other words, we go to church… rather than church. Might we consider recapture church as a verb eager to “church” in our contexts.

God-centered… god driven
Guder says that theocentric mission (vs. ecclesiocentric mission) is rooted in the trinitarian character of mission. He refers to Lesslie Newbgin, stating that “missionary practice must be grounded in the person and work of Christ, seeded by ‘trust in the reality and power of the Holy Spirit’ and rooted in a practical faith that discerns ‘God’s fatherly rule in the events of secular history,’ … in the revolutionary changes which are everywhere taking place in the life of the world.

The church is ‘one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” (Nicene-Constantinople Creed- 381). The church is apostolic in that it is represents the Apostles’ teaching and because it represents Christ (Guder). “You are the Body of Christ” (1 Cor 12.27).

kingdom of god… received and entered, not built or extended
Guder argues that words associated with the KOG center around the verbs “receive” and “enter” (cf. Luke 18.17, 24-25, 29-30). If this is the case, might this not effect the way we look at the mission of the church. If we are a community that has responded to God (through repentance and faith), we live as a community that welcomes others to this same response.



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