Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Emerging Church and the Mega-Church

During my break at work, I visited a colleague of mine to shoot the breeze. Amidst our dialogue he asked me, “What does the emerging church feel about seeker-sensitive mega-churches?”

Well, I don’t know if I knew the answer, because I wasn’t sure there was a concrete answer to the question. Listening in on many in the Emergent Church conversation, I can’t define what “they” think about those contemporary program-oriented mega-churches because “they” aren’t in a particular movement but in constructive dialogue. (I use “they” adding “myself” in that realm even if I am not a pastor or minister in a church. So my voice my be bunk in the matter.) Saying all that, I can only give my assessment of the whole EC idea and my own reaction to the modern seeker-sensitive churches.

I think that some in the EC would want to pursue a more organic, monastic type of community aside from a mass gathering of individuals. A less polished, media-driven approach to worship would probably be preferred. Inclusiveness, even to women pastors, would probably be highlighted. Heck, there might not even be pastors, as the top-down structure of leadership would dissolve to a more free-forming society of followers. The Bible-Answer Man model would be deconstructed as the pastor/leader/mentor would become apart of the actual community and have (dare I say) friends among the group. “Outsiders” would not only be welcomed, but could possibly change/influence those on the “inside.” Mission would define the practices/disciplines done by the community (missiology defines ecclesiology and vice versa.) The idea of small groups wouldn’t be the end all of ideas for building community. A theology would arrive that would be Kingdom-shaped and not purely atonement-based or heaven-bound focused. Grace would probably be spoken of as pardon and power, instead of just forgiveness. Maybe people would want to see and participate in the sacred in what they already do, instead of adding another “program” to their busy schedule. Redemption would transform the ideals of economic justice, environmental concerns, human equality, politics, public and global policies, formal education and health care. The typical educational model would prove to not be the savior of learning, as more experimental avenues of learning and formation would develop. A “target” audience wouldn’t be important or even discussed as the body engages the world to bless it.

I don’t know if I answered his question or if I became more confused with myself. Either way, there is a lot to learn from our ancestors and those that have gone on before us, even in the mega-churches.