If you go back into the prehistory of the current "emerging" movement, what you find are some serious questions about how the church, in the places and ways it is currently located and structured (not just the building, but the social locations of folks in the churches), is (or is not!) fulfilling what some of the early writers were calling the core mission of Jesus-- to make sure the poor were getting good news, the hungry we being fed, the sick visited, the prisoners cared for and reintegrated, justice was happening in the courts regardless of the socio-economic background of those who went or were brought there, oppression was being challenged and lifted, real vital connections and communities were being built across all socio-economic and other "tribalizing" lines, and the like. Lesslie Newbigin (Google him, and you'll find quite a lot!), an Anglican bishop and long time missionary, was perhaps the most prominent voice raising these questions from the mid 80s on. And the missiology department at Fuller-- easily the most influential seminary for evangelicals in the nation, possibly the world-- has continued this legacy of exploration, challenge, and instigation of missional experiments to begin a living answer to the questions and challenges posed.
In fact, they're offering a course in emerging ministry this very semester. Here's a link to the
class's wiki. And from there there are lots of places to go.
But the critical question behind it all is what does a church in Western cultures do (not necessarily differently, or for the sake of being different) in order to enable and embody the kingdom of God here and now? How does the church do ministry, become ministry, that ensures that the poor are getting good news and all the rest?
My question for us to consider... how is your ministry, in whatever shape it comes, and in whatever role you may have in it, embodying the kingdom of God now? And how are you and the folks in your congregation visioning for your common ministry to do so even more going forward?
Peace in Christ,