Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How to be an emerging pastor - it's the wife, stupid...

Check out this post - another fascinating piece on the supposed revolution in church in 21stC US - Church 3.0

Church growth of 168 to 2700 in 3 years(!) must take more work than reading some books from Dallas Theological Seminary, listening to John Piper every week, and letting your wife look after all your domestic needs. Alas, I am practically unable to do any of these things at the moment. I'm still trying to be well dressed, hip and funny - and on my return from Princeton I'll automatically be a heretic to most of my friends (that's a joke).

Are these kind of churches seeing some kind of revival (in the sense of lots of people coming to faith through the work of the Holy Spirit blessing the preaching and teaching of the gospel)? Or are they using some kind of clever but simple technique? This is a genuine question - I desperately want to know how to bring people to a life changing (life giving?) knowledge of the gospel.

I'm starting to get a bit wary of evangelicals who claim they are emerging - I think it's just a way of distancing themselves from the Christian Right, all those neo-con fundamentalists who are seriously uncool at the moment.

But, let's be honest, here: is there any ideological or theological difference bewteen Mark Driscoll and your typical evangelical pastor in Church 1.0? Answer - I don't think so.

Much as I strive to be culturally conditioned and socially well informed, I basically believe in, not quite Church 1.0, but certainly Pastor 1.0. Pastors are nothing if they are not servants and teachers.

Those of you who happen to visit local church websites frequently, for whatever reason, might wish to take part in an idea I have for a survey. What do these websites say or advertise about the beliefs of their church?

My observations are that very few such sites advertise historic confessions and creeds. I think that there must be some sociological insight/difference between those that do and those that don't.

Note here, because I think this is important, that I am writing about references to historic confessions and creeds, or statements that are fomrally endorsed by the church and its denomination - Westminster, the Baptist Confessions, not to mention the patristic creeds which I rarely ever see on church websites. Almost all church websites will have a summary statement or a modern statement of faith - but, if I am right, why so few references to formal statements?

It is only fair that I begin by referring people to my own church and its new website - - no reference at all to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the subordinate standard of faith for St George's Tron church as a church in the CofS - see my essay on this subject here.


Stephen said...

Here's one: New Restalrig CoS.

Simon Spencer said...

Good article; but just one point:

"...well dressed, hip and funny..."

Is this is a typo-error? Surely it should read:

"...dressed funny and hip..."

Dave said...

As someone who has been considered as an 'emergent' pastor I found your article very interesting, and the Church 3.0 also enlightening.

I was preaching today on 'all things to all men' and I think the Apostle paul was more 'emergent' than any, and a model for pastoral leadership.

The problem with church 3.0 is that is is not always reforming, even at this early stage. I am no church historian, but I find that all genuine moves of God have begun with people rediscovering God for themselves, Wesley, Luther, Paul, Nehemiah, Josiah, Whitfield etc.
Already in chruch 3.0 they have their popes, Driscoll, Mclaren, Pagitt etc.
Each new church 3.0 copies or adapts another emergent model and it is destined to become another denomination and lose its vitality as a movement.
This always happens and I guess always will, and within a short time the growth of 'emergent' churches will really explode as God's people look for a short cut to the divine...a case of going to the bookstore and buying manuals on 'how to be emergent'.
My advice is to keep on being who you are, a servant and a teacher in the Kingdom, being all things to all men.
Dave in Dingwall