The Church, in general, has lost its way over the years. With numbers down in most sectors of Church life around the world, and young people moving away from institutional religion, theologians and church leaders have looked at alternatives to Church within our society.
Many church leaders have stated that church has become like everything else in our society these days, “a consumer commodity”. People go to Church wanting programs that will specifically meet a need. This in itself is not wrong, but with too much emphasis on the consumer mentality, Churches have tried to sell God at the expense of true, organic and life-changing faith.
People have lost their passion to meet with Christ and become involved in transformation within themselves and within the society they are part of. They have lost their passion for mission and wanting to help bring change into their world. They have instead chosen a warm fuzzy expression of the Christian faith that is about enjoying the blessings of God without the fresh challenges of making a commitment of changing the world.
The Emerging Church is an alternative that is expressing something more than ‘Churchianity’. Getting back to the teachings of Jesus and understanding the Christian message in each of our cultures and people groups is the focus of bringing back the true meaning of what Jesus did in the world. We are moving away from wrong Christian teachings that push an agenda of hatred and judgement in the name of God, and are moving towards the message of peace, empathy, reconciliation and love that is expressed through the way we act towards our fellow human being.
The Emerging Church has been around for a long time but has only taken on its name over the last 20 years. It is found in most denominations and is gaining strength as it encourages people to enter into respectful dialogue. Its emphasis is on entering into a conversation about God, without pushing an agenda that could lead to unhealthy communication. It is about respecting people regardless of what they believe, and communicating in a postmodern world that has moved away from objective truth and has become more fluid an open to individual subject experience.
The Emerging Church is taking on a greater social conscience in wanting to change the world, and this journey has led churches to be more open to helping people that are less fortunate. The Emerging Church doesn’t just want to talk, the Emerging Church wants to emerge into the secular society, embracing diversity and encouraging others on their spiritual journey. That is why the Emerging Church can exist in any form within society. It is a fluid movement of people who are like minded and connected to Christ and His mission of transformation.
This movement for some might not even have the title “The Emerging Church”. This in itself is vitally important, as it is about going back to the teachings of Jesus, as well as other Christian traditions and Church leaders, and finding our way forward in the light of this new world.