May 6, 2004, 7:02 am
Filed under: uncategorized

Vision in the Emerging Church

At various points in the journey of faith for me over the past couple of years, I’ve become very discouraged and have lacked hope. In part this has come as a result of the raw and vulnerable nature of having stripped down so many assumptions about who God is, who I am (given who God is), what the church is (given who God is and who I am), and what our mission is (given all of the above). The lack of hope for me has come because of a lack of vision.

I’ve had the necessity of vision pounded into my head relentlessly from multiple directions over the years. Of course, the Bible says that people perish where there is no vision. In the business world, Stephen Covey popularized vision through his 7 Habits of Highly Effective people seminars and books. I do not disagree in the least with the importance of vision. But we in the emerging church have some problems related to vision. Let me take a stab at three.

1. Foundations. Because we have tried the ways of the modern church of the western world and found it lacking in so many ways we lack a stable base from which to operate. This screws us up in the present as we continue to figure out what our life in the Kingdom is all about. But it also messes with our ability to look ahead. We’re so concerned with faltering as we put one foot in front of the other that we can’t get our eyes up to go farther down the road.

2. Fear. We resist the idea of trying to envision the places we hope to go and how to get there because we don’t want to make the same mistakes of those who have gone before us. We don’t want to be guilty of building faulty systems and then make things worse by declaring allegiance to those systems. So instead, we get locked up in a cycle of frustration.

3. Creativity We have not taken the time to put our imaginations to great use. What will the emerging church look like in twenty or thirty years? Heck, what’ll it look like in five? I have yet to talk to a person who has said, “Here’s what I’m dreaming about.”

These thoughts are largely derivative, I know (especially #3 – straight from Todd Hunter this past weekend). And they aren’t very thoroughly tested by me or others. But they’re a starting place. Feel free to add to them, modify them, or chuck them. I’m sure I will (at least two of the three, anyway).


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