I’ve just finished reading Eddie Gibbs & Ryan K. Bolger’s Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. I’ll be sharing some thoughts from and interactions with the book. Overall,
I highly recommend this book. It’s a relatively easy read that does a good job of presenting the “emerging chruch” movement/dialogue/conversation/phenomenon well.
In the U.K., people would no more drop into a church for a casual visit than an outsider might drop into a mosque or a gay bar for a casual visit. It is a big deal to take the initiative to discover an alternative way of life. One wouldn’t quite know how to behave and may wonder what other people think. (p. 51)
This appears under a section heading of “Missio Dei Replaces ‘Come to Us Invitations’ with ‘Go’ Motivation.” What an interesting (if foreign to the US Church) understanding!
Perhaps it is because I live in the Bible Belt, but I imagine church folk here generally perceive themselves as living “an alternative way of life.”
Many churches, even denominations have recently begun to put great emphasis on hospitality – but this sometimes translates to little more than “how to be friendlier with visitors.”
Collins is talking about, and Gibbs and Bolger argue the emergnig church is about, a radical re-direction of our understanding. “Church” isn’t a thing or a place to which people magically show up, or to which we merely have to invite others. Church, rather, is the community of Christ-follwoers intent on livnig into the presence of the Kingdom of God here and now.
That is an alternative way of life people will be interested in!