With the turn of the century, there’s a lot of new developments in the church world — which is exciting for some, confusing for others. Particularly, the new kinds of churches being described as emerging church or emergent church, are all over the map (and around the world) in terms of what it looks like, what they believe, and how they worship. And, if one adds “missional church” to the mix, one’ll get some contemporary evangelical churches under the big tent too.
There’s been more than a handful of attempts at explaining what the emerging church is by using taxonomies, categories, types, classifications, and/or models. Here are some of the more oft-quoted articles about emerging and/or emergent churches::
Five Streams of the Emerging Church: Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today by Scot McKnight (in Christianity Today, February 2007)
Understanding the emerging church by Ed Stetzer (in Baptist Press, January 2006), 3 descriptors were proposed: Relevants, Reconstructionists, and Revisionists; for more background and context about this article, see Ed Stetzer’s blog entry on Understanding the Emerging Church
Four Models of Emerging Churches by Wess Daniels — a more nuanced listing of 4 proto-typologies and their influencers: deconstructionist, pre-modern, open Anabaptism, foundationalist (ht: emergent village; January 2008)
An Emerging Church Primer by Justin Taylor (at 9 Marks, a broadly reformed perspective)
And, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) in “A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church” (in Criswell Theological Review, Spring 2006) re-stated Ed Stetzer’s categories, but has more recently reframed those into: Relevants, Revisionists, and Relevant Reformed, including himself in the latter, cf. Conference examines the emerging church (Baptist Press, September 2007) though he was interviewed in 2006 citing 4 categories, adding Relevant Reformed to Stetzer’s original 3.
[update 10/8/08] Doug Pagitt on video weights in with Emergent and Emerging Church Distinction | see Emergent Village for their network of on-going conversations | history of how emergent church emerged | read September 2008’s month-long Emergent Blogologue (a blog-based conversation) between Christian futurist Bill Easum and Tony Jones, in 5 parts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) | Scot McKnight observes that “Emergent is no longer just emerging. It has in many respects emerged.” in McLaren Emerging (CT, Sept 2008) and blogs about emerging movement fairly regularly at jesuscreed.org