Missing the Big Picture
Both of us, in our own cultural contexts, began to recognize that what was being presented as the future of Christianity was only a small sliver of larger changes in the church. Left out of the spotlight, and perhaps the whole discussion, was the fact that the church is going through change on a global level, not just in the West.
Part of the problem was the conflation of terms. The emerging church is popularly presented as a catch-all concept of a generational shift at work in the West, represented by specific brands such as “Emergent” or “Emergent Village,” a group of emerging church leaders who organized, established a board, gained members, and launched a Web site. There has been disproportionate coverage given to the emerging church in the Christian media and in Christian publications, exemplified by Emergent Village’s three separate book deals with major Christian publishing companies. As noted in The Next Evangelicalism, in 2000 only about 200 churches in the U.S. and the U.K. could be identified as emerging churches. Yet, there are more than 50 books with emerging church themes. In contrast, there are less than a handful of books written about, for example, the second-generation Asian-American ministry, which numbers as many as 700 churches." From "Is the 'Emerging Church' for Whites Only?"
- I have also been frustrated with what the publishing companies and conference businesses have presented as the emerging church. This is the reason many of us move away from using the term.
- It is actually more than 50 books - I have collected over 200 books with emerging church themes and there are plenty more. But the people who really get left out are those who do not speak English.
- The 200 number is not accurate. If you include emerging house churches like the ones we were starting in USA at the time I was with Young Leaders, the number has many many zeros after it. Add the internet based communities to those numbers and its crazy high. [check out George Barna's predictions about this being the new majority]