I’m Thankful For the Emerging Church Movement – Thanksgiving Series – Post 2

Last week I made a list of what I was thankful for. There were the obvious blessings like my faith, my family, our dear friends and our new transition here in MA to name a few. After that, everything seems trivia so I made sub-categories – what tangible physical things was I grateful for (hot water, being a 2 car family, the internet, which led to which technologies I was grateful for, cell phones, macbooks, Facebook (that’s the next post) to eventually what ideas/concepts/mantras I was thankful. The emerging church conversation was at the top of the list.

Now, many of us know that the “emerging church” is a bit of a fuzzy term and unfortunately I don’t have the time, space, ability or willingness to “define” it adequately so I’ll reference you to Scot McKnight’s “5 Streams of the Emerging Church” article that was posted on Christianity Today.

I am aware that others may have found these blessings below via another route. This is part of my experience.

1. The emerging church conversation was the first place that I felt that really appreciated and valued non-believers and the over-churched young people. As one in his twenties, new in ministry primarily serving the millennials, this was refreshing. It felt to me that until then, the answer was, “Well these kids are getting worse and worse, they need us to be even more forceful/adamant about Jesus!” I sensed a willingness to engage and contextualize with others that informed and shaped my soul and my ministry.

2. The emerging church conversation forced me to work on my theology. It was from Tony Jones that I first heard that we tend to see Christianity through the eyes of Paul rather than Jesus. That was a pretty arresting moment for me at the National Youth Workers Convention in 2003 in Charlotte. IN ALL HONESTY, this helped me discover and worship a “better Jesus” – a more Biblical one. There were a number of other moments that helped me to see the beauty and depth of Scripture and I know I am a better pastor, Christian, person for it. Still have a long way to go though. After i finished my MAR, I knew i wanted to go back to pursue my MDIV. It’s truthful to say that my experience at Biblical Seminary was truly enriched by all of this.

3. The emerging church conversation introduced me to the missional-church conversation. These years, I have resonated more with the MC but I would be in strong denial (and I believe others would too) if I didn’t acknowledge that this was emerging church conversation that introduced me to the concepts and virtues of the missional life. (Raise your hand if you owned a Brian McLaren book before an Alan Hirsch book – I see those hands :).

4. The emerging church conversation celebrated my appreciations for postmodernity and plurality. I’ve always felt that that I wasn’t conservative enough for the fundamentalists, progressive enough for the liberals and moderate enough for the moderates. Words like “conversation” and “friendship” have gone a long way with me. Not only have I felt welcomed to conversations where I previously didn’t, I welcomed others that I previously didn’t.

5. The emerging church conversation helped spiritual formation by emphasizing the importance of the ancient church. I’ll admit prior to the year 2001, my church calendar skipped from the second century to the start of the Protestant Reformation in 1517. I gained so much by celebrating and learning more about the history and practices of the Church.

So much more I could say, but this is enough. But if you would like to learn more about the emerging church movement through the lens of one of its biggest contributors, check out Tony Jones’ The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement. Kindle edition is only $2.99.

How about you? What have you gained from the emerging church conversation or if more relevant, what concepts and ideas have shaped your journey?


  1. Jeff Kursonis says:

    Hey Tim!

    I’m thankful for everything you’re thankful for!

    I have enjoyed very much the points of this emerging church journey that you and I have intersected on. And I’m thankful you’re kids are getting so big and looking so cute.

    Blessings friend

  2. I’m trying to think the last time we hung out. I think we only had Nathan right? Crazy how time flies.

    Thanks for reading this post, hope our paths cross again.

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