'the best book yet on the emerging church' is andrew jones comment on the back of ryan bolger and eddie gibbs new book emerging churches. i think he's right. this really is a must read. one of the reasons is that it is a research book. it has taken 5 years to produce from lots of visits to emerging churches in the uk and the usa and interviews with people involved in the movement. (it is a shame that the research was unable to include other places in the world - especially new zealand and australia but that was down to the budget). from listening to the voices from below eddie and ryan offer the following defintion of emerging church:
emerging churches are communities that practice the way of jesus in postmodern cultures
and they identify nine practices of emerging churches - emerging churches 1) identify with the life of jesus 2) transform the secular realm 3) live highly communal lives. Because of these they 4) welcome the stranger 5) serve with generosity 6) participate as producers 7) create as created beings 8) lead as a body 9) take part in spiritual activities.
i am one of about 50 people who were interviewed as part of the research which i am sure gives me a biased view of the book. there is an appendix with the faith journeys of all the people interviewed at the back.
the quote i wrote for the book was:
Gibbs and Bolger have produced a very welcome and comprehensive piece of research into UK and US emerging churches. The book captures the spirit of the emerging church movement wonderfully well from the underside. I love the way it gives voice to leaders from within the movement and helpfully draws out and gives shape to the practices of emerging churches. It is a refreshingly sympathetic and positive critique from two researchers who have clearly been inspired and filled with hope as they have sensed the Spirit at work beckoning the church into the future.
the book is out in the usa published by baker publishing and will be published in the uk in february by spck.