This summer I am interning with the local baptist association and their church plants. One of my jobs is writing up a brief description of a potential emerging community that could be used to help explain it to church people who may not know anything about the emergent movement so that they have some idea what they are supporting. I came up with a couple points and here is the first. If you have any ideas for being more clear feel free to share. Yes, I do know it is not really possible to describe an emerging community when it doesn’t exist. I am just trying to get some kind of community vision guide together to hopefully firm up support. Enjoy.
Christocentric Community: The story of Jesus’ life, ministry, cross, resurrection, and active presence through the Spirit is the center piece of the community. As it develops it will begin with the story of Jesus, because in Christ we come to know who God is, God’s desire for creation, and the world’s future in God. First and foremost the community is living in the way of Jesus. Three parts of the ministry of Jesus will serve as guideposts to Christocentric life in the community: mysticism, mission, and message.
1. Mysticism. The story of Jesus reveals a world that God has created and in which God is actively present and working. Jesus lived and practiced the presence of God, whom he knew intimately as Abba, and this experience transformed his message and empowered his mission. An emerging community would be intentional on creating space for the Spirit of God to come in surprising and intimate ways. In a culture that is spiritual but not religious the followers of Jesus should actively proclaim and practice the Abba-intimate mysticism of Jesus.
2. Mission. For an emerging community there is an identification of the mission of Jesus with the mission of God. Jesus proclaimed and brought the presence of the kingdom of God. He also empowered and sent his disciples to do same. For this reason the kingdom of God is the most important theological concept for understanding the work of church. This community will intentionally focus itself on the mission of God and seek to participate. Doing so means that the community will be externally focused, people driven, and seek healing and reconciliation.
3. Message. Jesus is not just the one who made God present in a dynamic and mystical way, nor is he just the one who proclaimed the mission of God for the world, but Jesus himself was the message. His message was not simply preached but embodied. Jesus, the Word of God, is more than words and so the emerging community will witness to the message of God through embodiment. Every media and every relationship can become a spirit-filled medium for revelation and transformation of God. Recognizing this means the message of the community is more than words and doctrine but an invitation to experience the presence of God and embody the way of Jesus.