Thursday, January 15, 2009

relfections on minister's school and emergant chruch

i just returned from the missouri united methodist church's minister's school in tan-tar-a, a resort on "the lake" in missouri. the main focus of the few days we were there was how to use technology and learnings from "the emergant church movement" in our own churches. well, setting up this blog is step one of this engagement. ok, actually it is step two, because step one was me starting to read about the emergent chruch movement with a couple of books. first i read "the great emergence: how the chruch is changing and why" by phylis tickle. great book. i actually used some of the material in my sermon last sunday. the second book i started reading (i still have a bit to go) is "the new christians: dispatches from the emergent village" or somthing like that. the author is tony jones, and he was one of the main featured guests. i think he was also the one that pushed most people's buttons. this morning there was a "conversaton" between him and the bishop that really should have been moderated because it wasn't the most respectfull conversation (that goes for both parties). it wasn't jerry fallwell ugly, but i was kinda dissappointed.

aside from that, the minister's school was really well worth while. i have left it with more questions than answers for my ministry. the main question is "ok, now what?" the big problem with the emergent church movement is that there isn't really an owner's manuel. there is not a set of directions. that is one of the beauties of the movement, but also a frustration of a somewhat liniar thinker like i am. i can see that there are things tony said and is in his book that i actually already use, but how to work some of these ideas into such a complex structure such as the united methodist church is going to take frying some synapses on my part.

anywho, i hope that if you have taken the time to read this and that you were there you will comment on my reflections and keep this dialogue going.

btw, i will be heading out to colorado tomorrow to see my grandfather, possibly for the last time. not sure what kind of shape he is in. he turns 93 today. happy bday papa. i love you.

in christ's love



  1. Dispatches from the Emergent makes us sound kind of like pod people, or robots going out to evangelize. I may need to read this book to grasp the understanding. I'm probably way off

    Peace! Angie

  2. The end was odd and unsatisfying for me as well. Welcome to the Blog world. peace, patrick

  3. So, what differentiates an "emergent" church from a... normal one?

  4. the one thing that i would encourage you to remember (and i say this as one who was not at ministers school)--the emergent movement is about "organics" the organic makeup of your church, its ministry, who you are, etc.

    i really dislike how there are folks who want to put the emergent church in a box. it's going to replicate if you don't have the right people and "elements" so to speak.

    it's not a cure for the Methodist church. there are things folks can learn from it but the nature of the emergent church is to be authentic to the particulars of a church and its people.

  5. Thanks for that reminder revchystalk. it seems as if what i do already is what some might call "emergent," but what i get most from the readings i have done so far is that it is really just about rethinking how we do church. it is about, for me, taking risks that help us grow, not to stay "safe" and do things that have always been done whether they actually work or not.