Ryan Bolger co-author of the book Emerging Churches outlined the findings from his research about how many churches are revising their practices in attempts to be more relevant to their culture. The churches that he looked at the US & UK are investigating their own culture and getting everyone involved in designing new ways of outworking the New Testament in today’s world. I felt that there is much that they are doing resonated with our own values as a church: the emphasis on following Jesus not just as saviour but as a role model, hospitality, community, kingdom, etc.
I feel that an emphasis that is relatively new to us that we can learn from this movement is the importance of creativity reflecting God as a creator. For instance, this was illustrated in the worship sessions by the use of spoken mediations over ambient background music with some enthralling video images. Anxieties about dodgy theology were alleviated by the assurance from those presenting stories from their churches that they are expressing the historic faith just in different ways. One leader Karen Ward explained how her church is using both ancient traditions and contemporary styles in their worship but only as far as they felt that these were consistent with Christ.
I think, used sensitively and with discernment, creative elements such as these could be a way forward.
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