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Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures Paperback – December 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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From the Back Cover
"If you want to be truly conversant with emerging churches, this is the book to read. It's locally specific and globally aware--as are emerging churches themselves. It respectfully presents the voices of a wide variety of reflective practitioners--not just one person or a few authors, not just Americans, and not just males. It doesn't reduce the ethos of emerging churches to one concept but insightfully identifies nine practices they share. It recognizes the essential theological emphases of emerging churches, and it is based on actual conversations with over fifty people. It encourages readers from more traditional churches to listen and to seek to understand before passing judgment. It provides not only the best available overview of the emerging church phenomenon but also an example of charitable and reflective--rather than suspicious and reactive--scholarly analysis."
--Brian McLaren, author, speaker, activist, and public theologian
"Gibbs and Bolger spent five years collecting data in both the U.S. and U.K. and interviewing 50 leaders--most under the age of 40--to uncover important patterns among emerging churches. . . . The authors paint emerging churches as attractive, hopeful and ever-evolving, populated by some of the most vibrant, open-minded and service-oriented young Christians. Readers who are attached to 'church business as usual' will be shaken up by this book, while those ready for a change will find it energizing."
"Quite simply the best book yet on the emerging church."
--Andrew Jones, tallskinnykiwi.com
"'Emerging' is just about wrought-iron candlesticks and prayer stations, right? Think again. Gibbs and Bolger have given us invaluable insight into the deeper values shaping ministries for postmoderns. If you're serious about mission in today's much-altered Western world, you can't miss this book."
--Sally Morgenthaler, founder, sacramentis.com; director, Digital Glass Productions
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Top Customer Reviews
For all the antagonism and/or paranoia about the Emergent Movement or Conversation or Churches, Gibbs and Bolger give a 5 year researched-based presentation.
Guess what? Their book gives scant attention to Brian McLaren or any of his books. Shock of all shocks! What? I thought Brian McLaren WAS Emergent?? You mean there's more people involved than just Brian?? Over 50 leaders are interviewed and quoted and it's hard to find Brian McLaren among them. Shock of all shocks.
The nine (9) core practices of emerging churches are well-defined and illustrated with comments from those who are "practitioners" of contextualizing the gospel of the kingdom of God in the postmodern world.
The nine (9) core practices are:
1. Identifying with Jesus (and his way of life)
2. Transforming secular space (overcoming the secular/sacred split)
3. Living as community (not strangers in proximity at a church service)
4. Welcoming the stranger (radical and gentle hospitality that is inclusive)
5. Serving with generosity (not serving the institution called "church," but people)
6. Participating as producers (not widgets in the church program)
7. Creating as created beings (this is a great chapter!)
8. Leading as a body (beyond control and the CEO model of leadership)
9. Merging ancient and contemporary spiritualities.
"Emerging churches destroy the Christendom idea that church is a place, a meeting or a time. Church is a way of life, a rhythm, a community, a movement" (236).Read more ›
The time will come when critique of the emerging church will be warranted and needed, but Gibbs and Bolger have provided the necessary first step in defining the emerging church and giving its proponents and critics some handles. Many critics of the emerging church would benefit by reading this book before leveling any charges at emerging groups. More than anything, the reader has a chance to encounter the leading thinkers behind the emerging church, the theology and philosophy behind their practice, and their ultimate goals in contextual ministry.
At the heart of the emerging church presented by Gibbs and Bolger is the missionary character that many such congregations embody. Instead of simply changing the format of meetings to include new trends and technology, the emerging church is deeply concerned with embodying the Gospel and taking the church to the streets. "Rather than extracting people from the world, the church should empower members to engage more effectively in the ministry and mission that God has already entrusted to them in the world. Members should serve the world through their vocations rather than through church-administered programs" (142).
Though funding limited the project to research in the UK and USA, one is struck by the diversity of the emerging ministries.Read more ›
That said, I have two primary gripes with the book. First, and more importantly, it seems to be uncritically accepting of anything that flies under the flag of emergent. I know that I even have tendencies toward this, but there were a couple times when I was wondering whether the authors were more taken with the kingdom of God or with churches that do different things and call themselves emergent. The only reason I don't answer the latter with certainty is because I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. The most blatant example of this is when they rationalize seductive bikini-clad dancers from an emerging church at a European festival because everyone else at the festival was doing it. They also insinuate that everyone at the festival was taking Ecstasy, so you wonder if they think this emerging church group should do that as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is OK. Talks about the good points but not much about the traps of the emerging church.Published 13 months ago by Albert H.
A compelling survey of Emergence Christianity in the US.Published 14 months ago by Lawrence R Thompson
Gibbs and Bolger have written here the best overview to date on this important movement/phenomenon, Emerging Churches. Read morePublished on March 17, 2014 by John W. Matthews
I appreciated the work Gibbs & Bolger put into this work.
I read this book first as I was trying to get an overview of what the Emerging Church is and how it thinks. Read more
This seemed to be more focused on the UK than the US. I found what it said about the US seemed to apply to too few locations to make it a good book about religion in our nation.Published on April 24, 2013 by Steel Magnolia
Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger have written a book that explores a new phase in the life of the Christian church. Read morePublished on April 8, 2011 by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett
Edmund (Eddie) Gibbs is an English born missionary, professor, scholar, and author who has taught at Fuller Theological Seminary in California since 1984. Read morePublished on June 25, 2010 by Joshua Hopping
Page 132 of this book says this: "There is a Buddhist family in their church. As a community, the church visited a Buddhist temple. Read morePublished on November 1, 2009 by T. Blosser