three trends in the changing church

September 9, 2008

I’m reading Craig van Gelder’s the ministry of the missional church at the moment. Starting in chapter 1, he points to three trends in which the changing conversation about the church find expression:

The purpose-driven church: Obsessed with finding strategies to help the congregation become more effective or successful. Justified on the grounds that such strategies is necessary within the changing context, we need to remain relevant.

The emergent church: Addressing the same changing context, but doing so by trying to recapture the ethos and practices of the church of the early centuries, and to bring these to bear in within the postmodern condition. A fairly accurate summary I would say.

The missional church: Not focusing on the changes in society primarily, but rather a conversation about the nature of church. This conversation about the nature of the church is seen as necessary before talking about the purpose of the church, or how to address changing contexts.

What would emerging-missional then mean? And would you get something like purpose-driven-emerging? Or purpose-driven-missional? Is it really possible to be purely part of only one trend? Is it possible to have a pure emergent trend?

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One Response to “three trends in the changing church”


  1. […] between emerging and missional might not be that easy. Leading missional thinking Graig can Gelder clearly destinguises between missional and emerging, and sorry Dan (if ever you should read this), but he is using your book as reference for what […]


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