Friday, May 11, 2007

Emerging/Emergent in Des Moines

Are you a Christian that lives in the Des Moines (Iowa) area? Do you know anything about the Emerging/Emergent Church movement? Well, maybe you should.

I have had some experience with a few different churches on the west side of town and here's some of what I have learned. There are two very large churches that have a pretty big influence in DSM that I'm thinking of, particularly Lutheran Church of Hope (ELCA) and Valley Evangelical-Free (EFCA).

Valley Church has not made a public statment about their stance or approach to the issue; however, they have had Tony Jones head of Emergent-US come as a guest speaker to their district youth leaders and their high school through college age kids (Jake Bouma talked about it coming up here and he took notes on this lecture here from this post. Also, Brandon Barker, the leader of student ministries at VEFC, posted about this here and here.). Valley Church has an attendance of probably approximately 1,500 every week (e.g. in the 4/29/07 Valleygram it says there was 1,747 in attendance.) All of this being said their most recent church plant Waukee Community Church has identified itself with the views of Mark Driscoll's perspective on the Emergent Church. Kind of confusing I know.

Lutheran Church of Hope has made statements regarding the Emerging church but not the Emergent church...however, in their commenting on the Emerging church they did say they align with the views of Brian McLaren. Their statement is no longer published online. They emailed me a copy of it this week though. If you're interested just let me know. I'd be happy to email it to you. The website where it originally was listed is here where January 21, 2005 is listed. Here are a few quotes from their article:
"Lutheran Church of Hope is an early example of the emerging church."

"Let me try and connect the vision of Hope with what McLaren and other emerging church leaders are articulating."

"Lutheran Church of Hope is revisiting some ideas of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Anglicanism...deeper sacramentality..."

"I think Lutheran Church of Hope is a concrete example of much of what the emerging church movement is advocating."

Why does any of this matter?? Well, last week I called Lutheran Church of Hope and they said their attendance on 5/29/2007 was over 5,000. Wow! These churches are being influenced by the Emerging/Emergent Church turn they are influencing tons of people in our community. That's a pretty big deal.

Even the church just down the street from me in Waukee Westview Church is doing a preaching series through N. T. Wright's book Simply Christian.

Now, none of this is necessarily bad, I'm just saying that if you know nothing about the Emerging/Emergent Church movement you should probably do some research...because there's a possibility that it is having an influence on the leaders of your local church and you.

1 comment:

tony said...

Great post!