Tuesday, February 13, 2007
My how we've grown!
I've just spent the last two days coallating a list of all the emerging churches I could find in the Midwestern states (i.e. IA, MN, WI, MI, OH, KY, IN, IL & MO) so I could invite them personally to attend the Midwest Emergent Gathering that I'm helping to plan for this coming summer here in Chicago. While I'm sure I've missed some, and some on my list might not technically be "emergent" (definitions and labels are so nebulous when it comes to the EC), even still I ended up finding 76 churches that could broadly be described as missional and/or emergent. And again, that's just in the Midwest.

However, the most amazing thing is how many more this is than just a few years ago. Right after we left our previous church in spring of 2005 I collected a list of all the emerging churches I could find nationwide (so I could apply to them and see if any were hiring). Now, I know I missed a ton of them back then, but I was as thorough as I had time to be, and just 2 years ago I still only found 45 emerging churches in the whole country!

It's encouraging to me to find so many new emerging communities springing up all over the place, and especially right here in my own back yard. I've long said that if the emerging church is going to survive and have a long term impact, it will have to happen through the creation of local churches and missional communities. Conferences make a splash and are gone, books will be forgotten, but communities are living organisms that can make a lasting difference and reproduce themselves - thereby multiplying their influence. In short, we don't just need more conversation about the emerging church; we need more actual emerging churches!

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posted by Mike Clawson at 10:23 PM | Permalink |


3 Comments:


At 2/14/2007 07:56:00 AM, Blogger gerbmom

That is very encouraging to hear! :)

We need to find an emerging church in the Boston area.....

 

At 2/15/2007 09:14:00 PM, Blogger John

Lets not get stuck on a certain "brand" of church. There are many other churches preaching the good news. As its always good to hear of a church growing lets continue to pray that the churches already in existence will step and reach out to their communities. Why reinvent the wheel. We don't need anymore denominations and division.

Thanks,

John

 

At 2/16/2007 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I hear what you're saying John, and trust me, this isn't really about a new "denomination" or "brand". In fact, this list I've compiled comprises many different denominations and backgrounds - from Southern Baptist to Presbyterian to Foursquare to Episcopal, to pretty much anything else. This is a movement that is occurring both within the existing church as well as new church plants. Both transformation from within and new growth are needed.

(Though, as in our experience, sometimes new growth occurs because the existing church is not open to being transformed from within. Sometimes it's more loving to simply leave and start something new, than to force change on people who don't want it.)

The only criterion I used compiling this list is that all of the churches had in some way self-identified themselves as emerging or missional by listing themselves on at least one of several EC websites (e.g. theOoze, Zoecarnate, etc.). There is no "brand identity" beyond a willingness to identify with others who are also moving in these same directions of missional church and the gospel of the Kingdom.

Thanks for dropping by,

-Mike

 

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