Emergent Church

Andrew has blogged a lot about the impact of Web 2.0 style thinking on the Church, and I would totally agree that we can learn a lot from the ‘governing dynamics’ that are making these new ‘applications’ take off.

Flicking around some sites on this, I came across this diagram, which holds some amazing parallels for us:


Just to highlight some of the balloons:

  • Radical Decentralization
  • Radical Trust / Trust Your Users
  • User as contributor
  • Rich User Experiences
  • Play
  • Emergent: User behaviour not predetermined
  • Small pieces loosely joined
  • Harnessing Collective Intelligence

This is precisely what I am trying to argue in the book, and expand upon here on this blog. All the above reads like a manual for Church 2.0 – or whatever you want to call it. For me, much of what links many Web 2.0 applications, like Flickr, Delicious etc. is the idea of the meta-tag. It’s these tags that allow data to be sorted in multiple intelligent ways, and for radical cross-referencing of ideas that seem totally disperate on the surface.

Linking together some of the posts I’ve written about the place of the Spirit in the Emerging Church, and Leadership, I think there are very strong ideas to take from the principles the map above outlines. It’s as if the Spirit is the Web which allows these mini-apps – our gifts – to run, and leadership – which I defined previously as ‘disturbing and facilitating communication’ is the database of tags that allows cross-referencing, and thus emergence, to occur.

And the core attitude that runs through it? Trust. Trust that the ‘little people’ out there in the congregation are not dumb, but wise. And their collective intelligence is better than anything one single person can be uploaded with at seminary. It’s this radical trust that the Spirit enables in people. That’s why the powerful hate it, and long to divide and rule. Well, thankfully, the web seems to be finally putting pay to that. And hopefully the body of Christ – the emergent virus of the Spirit – won’t be far behind.


3 responses to “Emergent Church”


    So… does anyone else think that God should just be more intergrated into everything?
    Obviously this means our Church life winds up looking exactly like any other persons life… but is that really that bad?
    Intergration. Absorption.
    Hell, us Church people need a good roughing up (in a non-sexual sense).

  2. I love what you have to say about trust. This is what the spirt of God is doing in culture, he is allowing us to become open, allow us to trust each other. Finally, the church is becoming an organic scale free network for the spirt to flow through loving trusting relationships.