Pioneer ministries and fresh expressions of church


Friday 30 September 2011

Doug Gay on Emerging and Inherited Church relationships

Doug Gay has some helpful observations about the tensions experienced between 'emerging' or fresh expressions of church and more inherited churches:

'Institutions at their most healthy will ideally maintain a suppleness and an openness to ongoing reform.  For many of us, our experience of institutional church is more commonly of a tightly policed conservatism whose resistance to change requires that reformers need to add volume and momentum to their criticism if they are to be heard.  In relational terms, this can lead to a recklessness and arrogance on the part of critics who are pained by the resistance to their voices, matched by a stubborn defensiveness on the part of those who are being critiqued, who are wounded by the assault on what they hold dear. Some of the ongoing resistance to 'emerging church' can be traced to the pains inherent in this process, as hard-working and faithful practitioners within a range of churches feel undermined and condemned by criticisms of their way of being church.  There is, of course, no easy way through this, but there is a gospel requirement that those provoking and negotiating change seek to be aware of how much 'charity' there is in their words and actions'.

Re-mixing The Church (Towards an Emerging Ecclesiology), p.17