Emerging Church Course

Along with Tom Middleton and Charlie Johnson, I’m in the midst of auditing a two intensive course at Fuller on The Emerging Church. Taught by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs (pictured below), it’s a unique opportunity for me to stay current on the the thinking and evolution of the movement. And it’s a privilege to have the chance to interact with people who have the breadth, perspective and insight of Eddie and Ryan.


One of the things I have appreciated has been their articulation that much of the emerging church’s critique of the institutional, “Constantinian” church in the West is, in reality, taking good missiological eyes and turning them toward our own domestic backyard. It’s really the stuff that good missionaries have been doing for decades cross-culturally. Now those insights and biblical, historical and theological understandings are being focused literally across the street because of the massive cultural and social changes rocking Western culture as we continue the transition to postmodernity.

I strongly recommend their book, which just came out. It provides one of the better overviews of the emerging church. A must read for anyone itent on understanding …and appreciating …what God is doing in our midst.


Emerging Churches by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger

3 Responses to “Emerging Church Course”

  1. Donna Says:

    How can I get plugged into an emerging church community in South Jersey? I’ve been searching for something like this ever since I became a Christian. I feel very isolated. Is this movement for pastors only. I feel a lot of the discussion is directed towards church leaders. what about a regular, seeking Christian like me. where do I go?


  2. Tom Middleton Says:

    I think to say the Emerging Church is doing what good missionaries have done around the world and focusing on our backyard limits its impact to incarnational and cultural skills and abilities. It a fresh rethinking of living the way of Jesus, that the modern church is failing to do. The modern church segments their life. It is a complete reordering in the way of the celtic model. There is an intensity and devotion that is actually given license and structure to be lived out. The modern church has failed because its structures and paradigms for thinking limit devotion, creativity and healthy loving intensity to manifest themselves in the life of a follower. Hardcore christians are often frustrated to engage in instituational church because programs and Sunday morning are the apex of the Christian life, and it is structured that way. The emerging church is more than missional and cultural appropriateness. It is a return to a Kingdom mindset that gives rise to holistic, intense discipleship.
    Okay, now, tell me how the modern church did that and how I am wrong.

  3. Sam Says:


    Wish I could point you to such a community in South Jersey. It’s not my turf so I’m unaware. Maybe someone else who is tracking this conversation can help.

    Most emerging church communities are “under the radar.” You won’t find them in the yellow-pages and they don’t have signs out front that say “Come worship with us …”

    The best way to connect is usually realtionally. These are organic, relational expressions of the body of Christ and as such, won’t show up looking like institutions.

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