Emerging Churches do not start as outreach but as a last ditch effort of founders to save their own faith. Best way to be missional is to be an authentic Christ centric community.
One of the things that occurred to me when Tony’s said this was how it aligned with something Mark Driscoll says in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. In this book Mark agues for the following formula:
Christology determines Ecclesiology determines Missiology
This is in contract with Frost and Hirsh who advocate the formula:
Christology determines Missiology determines Ecclesiology
When I first read these different perspectives (in the authors respective books) I felt a gut reaction to agree with Frost and Hirsh, but after hearing what Tony had to say at Blackstump I was left wondering if this was an American / Australian thing. Is this just about context or is one side actually right and the other actually wrong?
Tony provides further food for thought in this video recorded while he was at Blackstump he notes some of the differences between the Australian and US context.
Finally Matt Stone also adds some helpful refection on Tony’s video here
Tony notes that Australia is very similar to America in many ways, except when we say unchurched, we genuinely mean unchurched, not just dechurched. Yes, true, very true. Hopefully that observation will help more people understand why we place much more emphasis on mission and much less on welcoming post-evangelicals.
I’m left wondering if this is not one of the keys to understanding the differences between the ‘emerging/missional’ conversation as it has played out in our different contexts.
An alternate title for this post could have been ‘Missional versus Emergent’ but that perhaps takes the dichotomy too far. Maybe that’s the point of this whole post - that at the end of the day we are coming at the same issue but in different contexts and that results in subtlety different approaches getting primacy. I suspect there are others who have a better perspective on this than I do – I’m off to google now to see if I can find them, feel free to link me in the comments if you can add some perspective.