From Publishers Weekly
Mention "emerging churches" around a random selection of today's church leaders and half will have no idea what you are talking about while the other half are busy trying to plant one. This book informs the uninitiated while also helping overeager planters understand that these unique communities, as their name implies, emerge gradually, many times without the help of the institutional church. Fuller Seminary researchers 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. They emphasize the life of faith as Jesus demonstrated, employ a "going out" attitude toward the world rather than expecting people to "come to" their communities and consider all of life sacred. Also, these communities prefer relationships to meetings, so there may be no set worship gathering time or, indeed, no fixed place to meet. 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. (Dec.)
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From the Back Cover
The Best Book Yet on the Emerging Church
"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."
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."
"'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."
founder, sacramentis.com; director, Digital Glass Productions