What I Mean When I Use The Word “Emerging”

Iíve been a pastor a long time, and a leader. Weíve gone through several different movements: the seeker movement, purpose-driven movement, fundamentalist movement, church-growth movement, even through the post-modern period. Now weíre in a time where weíre hearing the word emerging.

Hereís what I mean when I use the word emerging:

1. I believe that all of life is lived before God, that we do not compartmentalize our faith, doing one thing at church and another thing everywhere else.

2. I believe the disciplines of theology are meant to be entered into everyday life, not a separate discussion that is apart from the experience of conversion.

3. When I say emerging, I am really saying that Iím seeking where God is moving in this moment; where the new ideas, trends, methods, ways of presenting the gospel in our current culture are coming from; to seek to ride the wave that God is sending.

4. When I say emerging, what Iím saying is that there is no difference between clergy and laymen, that weíre all brothers and sisters in Christ, equally called, equally gifted, and equally responsible for the revolution of the gospel of grace.

5. When I say emerging, what Iím saying is, I have no particular loyalty to a set of systems or methodologies. In some sense Iím a pragmatist. Iím going to use what works and when it no longer works, Iím going to set those methods aside to see what new methods God is bringing to the forefront.

6. When I use the word emerging, Iím saying that I am sick and tired of labels between conservative, liberal, fundamentalist, and social action. I think we need to drop those labels and be men and women who love Jesus and who are loving the world in His name.

7. When I say emerging, what Iím saying is Iím trying to erase the false division that exists between profession and doing. My doing shall come out of my being.

8. When I say emerging, Iím saying I want to erase the so-called barrier between social action and love for Jesus. If we love Jesus, we love our brother, we love the poor, and we help those who are disadvantaged. And thatís not a compromise, thatís an outcome.

9. When I use the word emerging what Iím saying is I want to carry on a conversation not a confrontation.

10. When I use the word emerging Iím saying I want to be faithful to the gospel and to the foundation of Godís word. I want to use the kinds of words that people understand. I use words that bring people together, not words that divide them. Iím not looking for a fight. Iím looking to join a group of men and women who are part of this worldwide revolution of presenting the gospel in a dark, dangerous, sad world.

These are some of the things I mean by emerging. What do you mean?