Emerging Church

Mission among subcultures and the emerging church

Tomorrow I am teaching two sessions on missions at Praxis. The first will be a more practical and interactive look at Luke 10, some church planting movements overseas that are doing well, a few controversial issues related to that. For those that cannot be there, I recommend reading 

11 Practices of a new Jesus movement (Lausanne)

The second session will deal with subcultures and what kinds of ministries have succeeded over the past few decades. Here's some material that I will be referencing. 

Understanding subcultures (Underground Ministries Handbook)

Ten types of emerging church that will no longer upset your grandfather.

Countercultural history of emerging church


Insider movements, Wycliffe's translation and missiological controversies

There is a kerfuffle on the internet that might be worthy of some exploration. The controversy around Wycliffe's Bible translation, currently on the back burner and under the WEA spotlight, has created a lot of talk about insider movements, contextualization, dynamic equivalence, postmodernism, and the connection between the emergent church and insider movements among Muslims. 

 And it raises a series of other questions about the integrity of missional practice on location vs. satisfying the accountants in the home country, sustainability vs. dependance, colonialism vs. equality, missionary paternalism vs. freedom for younger churches to self-theologize, etc.

I was thinking about doing a weekly post to flesh out some of these issues, probably each Sunday.

Is this of interest to anyone? If so, lets start chatting about it Let me know in comments below. If not, lets move on to another diversion.


Liverpool: Fresh Expressions Over One Third

New emerging church research on the Diocese of Liverpool just released by Church Army:

"The proportion of fresh expressions of Church compared to parishes is 38.6%. If compared to the number of churches, which might be a closer comparison, that proportion is 30.4%. Either way, about a third of the ecclesial bodies in the diocesan family are current or recent fxCs [Fresh Expression Churches]." Research Paper by Church Army, Summer 2012.

Interesting: 60% don't use a church building, only 29% meet on a Sunday. 39% of cases used an existing church, 23% a church hall and 37% a secular venue including houses. 

HT: Opinionated Vicar and kudos to the Admiral.


Video: Bishop Justin Duckworth starts wearing purple

Here is my short video of Justin Duckworth getting installed as Bishop of Wellington last weekend. There's some footage of the breakfast we all had with him in the morning, the ceremony at the Cathedral, some thoughts from Jenny Duckworth on the symbols, and some fun stuff. All in 5 minutes!! For the video of the whole ceremony, go here to the Anglican site. For the TV news program featuring my handsome face, go to TV3. But for my ultra-cool video, watch this . . .

Blog banter on church leadership and fresh expressions

Up at 4am this morning. Interesting blog banter going on from 3 Brits:

1. Richard Passmore on Fresh Expressions

"I think FE may actually hinder change in the longer term because of the gravitational pull of the institution and accompanying orthodoxy. I think we are already seeing dissenting voices being marginalised as FE spreads and the orthodox centre gathers pace. I was talking the other day to someone about how some of the most pioneering imaginative work (both inside the Church of England and outside) i see are not part of FE. Is Fresh Expressions a Movement?

 Fresh expressions comment on passmore

2. Mike Breen on church leadership.

At the end of the day, what most pastors want (and have been trained to want!) is minions to execute the most important vision of all. Their own. In doing this, they effectively kill people’s ability to get a vision of their own. Why the leadership movement is leaving your church leaderless

A good sharp post by Mike Breen! Worth a read. I left a comment regarding the choice between leaders and entrepreneurs. My comment hasn't popped up yet [don't you miss the coComment web service that stopped in March 2012?] but I have blogged on this before:

"Leaders help move the existing and sometimes struggling structures forward into greater productivity and encourage people to follow. Entrepreneurs invent and innovate new structures tailored for the changing situations, but not without continuity with the past. In a world of relentless change, entrepreneurs rule. If the church expects their impact to continue, it needs to create and celebrate a culture of innovation, finding precedents in the Scriptures [come on . . . look harder] and examples in the developing non-western world." Tallskinnykiwi, Entrepreneurs or Leaders? 

3. Phil Wood explores the impact of Mennonites on fresh expressions/emerging church with his post entitled Mennomergent

Global emerging church gathering in Brazil

Update: I am reposting this because Encontro Global Tribal Generation 2012 happens next month. They had over 4000 in attendance when they did this event 2 years ago. A teaser for this year:

Olgalvaro Bastos Jr who is hosting the gathering is the guy who kicked off our "new wineskins for new wine" discussion on the video in the previous post. Olgalvaro is the author of A Revolução do Pensamento, a book that describes the emerging church movement in Latin America, which, as everyone knows, started in Chile in the 90's. Hope you can read Portuguese.

Original Post: A global gathering of alternative ministry leaders will take place in Brazil this year. June 6-9 in Uberlandia. The theme is "Rediscovering the faith of our Fathers". Check out Tribal Generation. A similar event they hosted two years ago in Brazil had over 4000 young people attend. I expect it will be mainly Latin Americans. 

TG 2012 Banner ENG, tribal generation, encontros

I am trying to get there and am speaking on something profound and vital [which means I am not sure exactly what] but I don't have the funds just yet for the plane trip which makes me feel a little unsettled. But I am hoping to find some sponsors by June. Keep ya posted . . .[May 2012: Dont have the funds to get there yet.]

Tribal generation 2012

Videos from Underground Ministries Roundtable

I just uploaded some videos I took at the Global Roundtable of Underground Ministries which we held at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois last year. Sorry it took so long to get the videos up. Hope you enjoy them.

Attendance was a little spotty in places because most of us were also involved in Cornerstone Festival [I taught 3 seminars] but we managed to have some really good discussions about what God was doing in our countries and what new movements were springing up.

Here is a taste of our morning worship, this time led by an American, a Romanian and a Portuguese. And a Canadian on his big drum.


Olgalvaro Bastos Jr from Brazil kicked off some interesting discussion about the emerging church in Brazil and the need for "new wineskins for new wine." Denny Hurst (Portugal) added some history of the hippie movement in the 1970's, Calvary Chapel, the Christian rock scene and other precedents for this new movement. 

Other leaders shared their point of view on the new wineskins. In this video there are leaders from USA, Canada, Chile, NZ and Brazil.

The discussion on wineskins continued with Romania, Canada, and Brazil and America.

There are more videos. I will upload them when I get a chance.

The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington

Update: Watch the news on TV and read May 5 NZ Herald interview.

Original: Some very exciting news. The papers are ablaze this weekend with the announcement that Justin Duckworth has been elected Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. 

"The Anglican Church needs to be ''dusted off'' and it believes a dreadlocked, barefooted priest is the man to do it." Dominion Post

"The 44-year-old . . . said he felt "humbled, privileged, excited - and terrified" to have been chosen as bishop." NZ Herald

"He has dreadlocks, for starters. He’s usually in shorts and bare feet, too. But the voters in the Diocese of Wellington saw past that. They saw instead that he’s been at the cutting edge of Christian ministry “to the last, the lost and the least” in Wellington for 25 years." Wellington Scoop

"The new bishop speaks candidly about his love of marathon-running, mountain-climbing and directing stage musicals – and advises he may soon be recruiting members of the clergy to take part." Stuff.co.nz

 Justin and Jenny founded the Ngatiawa contemporary monastery where they now live and where my family have erected our yurt. You might have already read about the Duckworths on my posts "Prophets of the New Order" and "Covenant Making is Not Always Evil" or from their book, On the Waka Against the Tide, Towards the Kingdom. Justin is also working on his PhD which deals with how monastic orders and radical discipleship movements have enabled the church to renew itself and reemerge as fresh and vital. 

justin duckworth signs offer of bishop of wellington appointment

Justin Duckworth, behind a desk, signing his acceptance of this appointment and hiding his feet at the same time.

Continue reading "The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington" »

Blue Like Jazz. Now see the movie.

I haven't read Don Miller's best-selling book by that name but that's not because I was waiting for the movie. I just never got around to reading it. But Steve Taylor's movie Blue Like Jazz is released today and since I will be in San Francisco in a few weeks, so . . . I might go and see it, despite Becky Garrison's suggestion that we should all sit it out, and despite [or because of] the The Gospel Coalition's warning that "the evangelical world will FREAK OUT when they see this movie". Blue Like Jazz might be more suited to Hallmark Channel, as Becky hints, but then I am still interested in low-budget films, especially when they deal with faith journeys and the emerging church. Denver Post liked it.

List of theaters here. Has anyone seen it yet? Did you like it?

Blue Like Jazz Movie

Interesting: Blue Like Jazz film was the top Kickstarter project for 2010. The Business Week article is worth reading:

As for Blue Like Jazz, it raced past its $125,000 goal and raised a Kickstarter film record of $345,992 last October. Taylor's backer in Seattle, seeing the interest, matched that sum and tacked on a little more. Taylor shot the movie for $750,000 and, thanks to new investors who have come on board, has $500,000 remaining for post-production. . .. "I just didn't think this was going to work," he says, "so I said for anyone who gave $10 or more, I would call them and thank them personally." He's about halfway through a notebook of 3,300 names.


Archbishop Rowan Williams stepping down

Archbishop Rowan WIllams has announced that he will step down from his position by the end of December 2012 and that he has accepted the position of Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge.


As I mentioned last September, Rowan Williams has been a huge source of encouragement and balanced wisdom for the fresh expressions movement, emerging church and alt. worship churches, as well as paving a way forward for a "mixed economy" of church. He will be sorely missed.