Don’t try to Graft new shoots

A lot of our approach has been about how do you grow church from scratch with young people. This is not to say we do this in a vacuum and we seek to reimagine drawing on Bible, Culture, and Tradition (more here). New seeds are planted in fresh soil and tender new shoots/groups emerge. To nurture these saplings one thing we have learnt is that using the word ‘church’ WITH the young people to describe/question what is emerging is helpful, both as a reference point and resource. It helps create the space to dialogue about what is emerging, connecting it tradition, and with care can be used to help co-create and shape the new community. As many of these groups start from scratch without preconceived ideas of faith, as the new community emerges young people begin to connect with others within the christian tradition attending more mainstream expressions of church. At one level this is a really helpful part of the journey as it brings a sense of other, and resource (drawing on the tradition part of the triangle) as the emerging community begins to find it’s feet. A problem is that the more traditional expressions may fail to understand and value the emerging church and so seek to graft on the new sapling to what is already happening. At its heart this attempted graft is generally well meaning but inevitably a top down approach, that undervalues the journey taken so far with the emerging community and the bottom up approach to leadership, truth, that initially enabled the co-creation of the new community.
How can we encourage a generosity of spirit in the more mainstream churches, that will enable emerging expressions to emerge in the way they need to?

2 thoughts on “Don’t try to Graft new shoots

  1. its funny i was speaking about this to someone yesterday having just re read pedagogy of the oppressed again in the last week and reflecting on the processes of learning, the place of church as organisation/institution and the sense of top down approach that could stultify, rather than encourage.

  2. Complex movements have many interrelated causes. The Emerging Church is no exception. Some broad reaching issues catapulted its rapid ascendency and acceptance in Evangelical circles. Among them we find, for instance, the sense of inner dissatisfaction about the present status of evangelical theology [6] (persistent doctrinal divisions) and ministry (young evangelicals leaving the Church) [7] combined with the “eureka” conviction of having found the key to overcome these issues by using new resources available in the supermarket of ancient traditions and postmodern culture. The emerging movement does not emerge from Scripture.

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