“Every theology has a context...”
“To understand many of the methods in this book, you need to understand the context in which they were developed. Otherwise, you might be tempted to copy things we did without considering the context. Please do not do this! Instead look beneath the methods to see the transferable principles on which they are based.”
“I decided we would make no effort to attract Christians from other churches to _______. We would not even borrow workers from other area churches. Since I felt called to reach unbelievers, I determined to begin with unbelievers.”
“You won’t be able to transfer our context. Every church operates in a unique cultural setting. To artificially plant a _______ clone in a different environment is a formula for failure.”
So which cutting edge, emerging church, missional guru said all this?
None. They are the teachings of non other than the routinely disparaged, Rick Warren, in his much maligned book, The Purpose Driven Church. (at least here at Fuller.)
It’s not even him so much, at least not him as a person, rather it’s his way of doing church, a way that is said to be, on it’s best day, not sufficiently cognisant of its culture, and on it’s worst…down-right evil. More on that tomorrow.
What I’m getting at with these quotes is that while there may be some valid critiques of the “seeker sensitive” approach, I think what happens at many “seeker sensitive” churches may be more missional than some might like to imagine.
Think about it. If your trying to reach culturally Christian suburbanites, many of whom work in a corporate environment, is it any surprise that CEO models of pastoring, combined with a “professional” service flourish?
I like much of what I hear in the “emerging” conversation at Fuller and in blog land, and I’ll probably end up being involved in some of it. But I think that all too often there is a bad case of group think going on. What is being suggested is good, but it’s not gospel, and I believe that many that don’t speak emergingese or missionese are doing it none-the-less.
The emerging church does not have a corner on being missional in the west.