Gibbs and Bolger's Emerging Churches Focuses Almost Exclusively On Small House Churches

"Gibbs and Bolger have made the crucial decision to exclude Gen-X megachurches and Gen-X/young adult services from their portrait of the emerging church. They admit that these forms of church are often what people think of when they use the term emerging churches. But apparently Gibbs and Bolger have decided to try to change that. They write, “Popularly, the term emerging church has been applied to high-profile, youth-oriented congregations that have gained attention on account of their rapid numerical growth; their ability to attract (or retain) twentysomethings; their contemporary worship, which draws from popular musical styles; and their ability to promote themselves to the Christian subculture through websites and by word of mouth” (41). Though most people consider these youthful expressions of church part of the emerging church movement, Gibbs and Bolger dismiss these expressions as hopelessly “modern.” They write, “Taking postmodernity seriously requires that all church practices come into question. In contrast, Gen-X churches involve simply changes in strategy from what came before (e.g., adding stories, video, raw music, vulnerable preaching, art, and candles). However, to be missional is to go way beyond strategy. It is to look for church practices that can be embodied within a particular culture. In other words, theologies given birth within modernity will not transfer to postmodern cultures” (34). I think they are wrong to dismiss the possibility that Gen-X churches are missional."


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