"Emerging Church". Music to some and fingernails on blackboard to others. Should we use this term or not as we launch another project? Part of me says yes and the other part says no. Here is my predicament:
I have been asked to help set up an "Emerging Church Fund" that supports the global emerging church movement which is something I and the people asking me to organize it see as a structure that partners with the World Evangelical Alliance and Church Mission Society and helps financially resource new works in the emerging culture that are simple cell based structures. They are a worthy investment, I believe and have been proclaiming for many years, because the money does not go to buildings or to salaries. Because the emerging churches we support do not have paid pastors but function more like the early church, they are a fruitful way to invest money in mission projects because they accomplish a lot with a little. And despite being worthy from a financial perspective, they are also strategic because the emerging culture, although smaller, is often where the culture leaders hang out. Money invested in emerging church movements goes a really long way which is why I have been pointing to so many of these movements around the world for so long.
I have no problem with the concept. But I am wondering if the name will have to change because of the damage done by misinformed people (most of whom live in North America) and by one or two misguided organizations or churches who may have dirtied the waters for the rest. If the way people understand the word is no longer what is intended, it might be time to change it but there are also many good reasons to keep the word.
So, should we use "Emerging Church Fund" or is there a better word? I also like "Emerging Mission" but it lacks borders and boundaries that keeps it focused on starting communities of faith in the emerging culture. I have a poll on this one but I am also interested in what you might suggest as a better name. What say ye?
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