Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rural Emergent

I had a phone call this week from someone who is thinking about how emergent church/theology/thought applies to rural settings.

I have to admit, this was a subject of my own exploration as I thought about leaving the big city of Nashville and heading to this small town congregation to be a pastor.

What are your thoughts about how emergent church works in rural settings?


Chris Epting said...

My first thought is: it's tough! In my experience, so often rural churches are so fixated on "survival" or even good things like being a loving, pastoral community that it's hard to help them lift their vision to real "missional thinking." Missional as in "Jesus didn't come to found a church, but to usher in the Kingdom!"

Katie Z. said...

I agree that the survival mindset is a hard one to get past. At the same time, I think some churches who have just been surviving are ready to try anything! I've found that I can used emergent practices in worship to shift thinking - even if by millimeters at a time... and I keep praying that will nudge us towards being a missional church.

I have found that a few people get it - really get it - and they are the same few who are really pushing the church into the future. But I'm sure it's probably the same 10% that "get it" in larger churches as well.

Chris Epting said...

I think you're probably right. Some of the most creative experiments in what we call "total ministry" (the ministry of all the baptized -- lay and clergy -- working as a team) has taken place in small churches who "have just been surviving and are ready to try anything." And some (perhaps that magic 10%) actually get that it's about mission outside the doors of the church, Monday through Saturday, as well as Sunday mornings!