For those geeky church historians tracking the huge discussion on the death of the emerging church label, here is a little timeline of its demise from my humble and subjective point of view:
2004 - At the Epicentre Roundtable for Global Emerging Church, that I hosted at Greenbelt Festival, I asked if we should keep using the term "emerging church" or dump it. While a few people suggested the name was problematic, we decided it was still good.
2006- At the Global Roundtable for Emerging Church leaders at Freakstock, Germany, where we gathered 70 leaders from 27 countries, I also asked the question about keeping it or dumping it and even though the Jesus Freaks in Germany did not use the term,[they preferred simply 'church'] we said it was OK.
2008 - In January, Kester Brewin predicts "the collapse of the emerging church as a popular project" during 2008.
2008 - I get asked if "The Emerging Church Fund" would be a good term to use for launching a new fund supporting those working around the world in the emerging culture.
So I ask my readers . .
2008 - In September, a post in Christianity Today's Out of Ur highlights my poll and Dan Kimball's post on not using the term. Dan points to Bob Hyatt who in 2005 was recommending a name change for Emergent Village because they were "constantly getting confused with the emerging church as a whole."
2008 - Current. So I am advising the mission and denominational organizations that I consult to use a name that has less baggage.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot more discussion:
- Scot McKnight looks at his experience with the term in Emerging and Emergent
- Jason Clark approaches it from a Vineyard perspective in Beyond the Emerging Church?
- Brother Maynard launches a beat poet discussion with Emerge-ed
- Tony Jones thinks the whole conversation is "silly" and . . .
he is probably right!
But still, some of us find it quite interesting.
And can I add that around the world, there are movements and networks still using the name emerging church, as well as excellent websites with that domain name and title and so . . puhleeeze . . give them a break. Its just a term. Lets get on with the job and let people call it what they want.