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The Church in Transition

Tim Conder
The Church in Transition
sneak Peek

The Church in Transition

Tim Conder

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The Journey of Existing Churches into the Emerging Culture.

In our fast-growing post-Christian, postmodern culture, the church often finds itself marginalized and ineffective in mission. The new emerging church is both hopeful and frightening compared to more traditional forms of Christianity. However, these "two churches" need each other. THE CHURCH IN TRANSITION presents honest stories of the failures and successes of a variety of transitioning fellowships.

Through transparent personal stories and incisive insight, author and pastor Tim Conder encourages church leaders to embrace the changes necessary to transition their congregations toward effectiveness and authenticity in the emerging culture.


- Publisher 1. Presuppositions And Prejudices 2. Dialogue On Culture And Gospel 3. Dialogue On Christian Distinctives 4. Dialogue On Christian Tradition 5. Transition In Worship 6. Transition In Spiritual Formation 7. Transition In Leadership 8. Transition In Community Formation 9. Transition In Mission 10. The Journey Into The Emerging Culture

- Publisher The Church in Transition: The Journey of Existing Churches into the Emerging Culture Copyright 2005 by Tim Conder Youth Specialties products, 300 South Pierce Street, El Cajon, CA 92020, are published by Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Conder, Tim. The church in transition : the journey of existing churches into the emerging culture / by Tim Conder. p. cm. ISBN-10: 0-310-26571-1 (pbk.) ISBN-13: 0-310-26571-5 (pbk.) 1. Church renewal. 2. Christianity and culture. 3. Postmodernism--Religious aspects--Christianity. I. Title. BV600.3.C67 2006 262'.001'7--dc22 2005024204 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version (North American Edition). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Web site addresses listed in this book were current at the time of publication. Please contact Youth Specialties via e-mail (YS@YouthSpecialties.com) to report URLs that are no longer operational and replacement URLs if available. Creative Team: Doug Davidson, Laura Gross, Brad Taylor, Mark Novelli, and XXX Cover design by Holly Sharp Printed in the United States of America CHAPTER ONE EMERGING CULTURE, THE EMERGING CHURCH, AND CHURCH IN TRANSITION Recently, a national newspaper ran a front-page story about a Christian leader who sought to distance himself somewhat from the religious right. He expressed some remorse that he'd chosen political sides earlier in his ministry. Today, in an era when some theological conservatives refuse to share the podium with any who disagree with their views of salvation and theology, this leader now opens his events to sponsorship and participation by the full spectrum of Christianity. "If I took sides in all these different divisive areas," he contends, "I would cut off a great part of the people that I really want to reach." In the article, he carefully explains how the term evangelism-presenting the good news of the hope God offers humanity- differs from evangelical-the label chosen by some theologically conservative Christians. This leader remains passionately committed to proclaiming the gospel, as he has done throughout his long career. Yet he recognizes that a rapidly changing culture demands new approaches to ministry. Who is this prominent leader? Perhaps an emerging church or post-evangelical voice such as Brian McLaren? Or a social activist such as Jim Wallis? No. This article was about Billy Graham.2 Although Billy Graham's goal to spread the good news has not changed over the last half century, his ministry now exhibits relaxed associations and shifts of method. Graham's subtle adjustments reflect dramatic changes in our culture during this timespan. Billy Graham recognizes that we live in an exciting time of transition and adaptation, where dominant worldviews, philosophies, and even theologies are either yielding or at least making room for a new era. This time of transition into a new cultural era has great implications- both opportunities and challenges-for Christianity and the church. 2 "The Gospel of Billy Graham: Inclusion," taken from www.USAtoday.com posted on May 15, 2005. THE SIGNS OF CHANGE: THE EMERGING CULTURE One of my neighbors recently stopped in for a long cup of coffee. As often happens, our conversation turned comfortably toward spirituality and religion.

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About "The Church in Transition"

The Journey of Existing Churches into the Emerging Culture.

In our fast-growing post-Christian, postmodern culture, the church often finds itself marginalized and ineffective in mission. The new emerging church is both hopeful and frightening compared to more traditional forms of Christianity. However, these "two churches" need each other. THE CHURCH IN TRANSITION presents honest stories of the failures and successes of a variety of transitioning fellowships.

Through transparent personal stories and incisive insight, author and pastor Tim Conder encourages church leaders to embrace the changes necessary to transition their congregations toward effectiveness and authenticity in the emerging culture.

- Publisher

1. Presuppositions And Prejudices 2. Dialogue On Culture And Gospel 3. Dialogue On Christian Distinctives 4. Dialogue On Christian Tradition 5. Transition In Worship 6. Transition In Spiritual Formation 7. Transition In Leadership 8. Transition In Community Formation 9. Transition In Mission 10. The Journey Into The Emerging Culture
- Publisher

The Church in Transition: The Journey of Existing Churches into the Emerging Culture Copyright 2005 by Tim Conder Youth Specialties products, 300 South Pierce Street, El Cajon, CA 92020, are published by Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Conder, Tim. The church in transition : the journey of existing churches into the emerging culture / by Tim Conder. p. cm. ISBN-10: 0-310-26571-1 (pbk.) ISBN-13: 0-310-26571-5 (pbk.) 1. Church renewal. 2. Christianity and culture. 3. Postmodernism--Religious aspects--Christianity. I. Title. BV600.3.C67 2006 262'.001'7--dc22 2005024204 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version (North American Edition). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Web site addresses listed in this book were current at the time of publication. Please contact Youth Specialties via e-mail (YS@YouthSpecialties.com) to report URLs that are no longer operational and replacement URLs if available. Creative Team: Doug Davidson, Laura Gross, Brad Taylor, Mark Novelli, and XXX Cover design by Holly Sharp Printed in the United States of America CHAPTER ONE EMERGING CULTURE, THE EMERGING CHURCH, AND CHURCH IN TRANSITION Recently, a national newspaper ran a front-page story about a Christian leader who sought to distance himself somewhat from the religious right. He expressed some remorse that he'd chosen political sides earlier in his ministry. Today, in an era when some theological conservatives refuse to share the podium with any who disagree with their views of salvation and theology, this leader now opens his events to sponsorship and participation by the full spectrum of Christianity. "If I took sides in all these different divisive areas," he contends, "I would cut off a great part of the people that I really want to reach." In the article, he carefully explains how the term evangelism-presenting the good news of the hope God offers humanity- differs from evangelical-the label chosen by some theologically conservative Christians. This leader remains passionately committed to proclaiming the gospel, as he has done throughout his long career. Yet he recognizes that a rapidly changing culture demands new approaches to ministry. Who is this prominent leader? Perhaps an emerging church or post-evangelical voice such as Brian McLaren? Or a social activist such as Jim Wallis? No. This article was about Billy Graham.2 Although Billy Graham's goal to spread the good news has not changed over the last half century, his ministry now exhibits relaxed associations and shifts of method. Graham's subtle adjustments reflect dramatic changes in our culture during this timespan. Billy Graham recognizes that we live in an exciting time of transition and adaptation, where dominant worldviews, philosophies, and even theologies are either yielding or at least making room for a new era. This time of transition into a new cultural era has great implications- both opportunities and challenges-for Christianity and the church. 2 "The Gospel of Billy Graham: Inclusion," taken from www.USAtoday.com posted on May 15, 2005. THE SIGNS OF CHANGE: THE EMERGING CULTURE One of my neighbors recently stopped in for a long cup of coffee. As often happens, our conversation turned comfortably toward spirituality and religion.
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Tim Conder

Tim Conder (MDiv - Gordon-Conwell Seminary) has served as a pastor and an elder at the Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, NC for the past fifteen years. He now pastors Emmaus Way, an intentional missional community in nearby Durham while remaining a standing elder at Chapel Hill Bible Church. He is the author of The Church in Transition. He also serves on the leadership team of Emergent and on the Board of Directors for Mars Hill Graduate School. He and his wife, Mimi, have two kids, Keenan and Kendall.

Table Of Contents

  • Contents
  • Foreword 7
  • Introduction 11
  • Chapter One 17
  • The Church In A Changing Landscape
  • Chapter Two 37
  • Seven Deadly Fears And Seven Essential Conversations,
  • Part 1: Culture And The Gospel
  • Chapter Three 59
  • Seven Deadly Fears And Seven Essential Conversations,
  • Part 2: Scripture And Ethics
  • Chapter Four 77
  • Seven Deadly Fears And Seven Essential Conversations,
  • Part 3: Christian Traditions
  • Chapter Five 95
  • Changing Your Worship Service:
  • Why The Obvious Starting Place Is Usually Not The Best Starting Place
  • Chapter Six 105
  • Transition In Spiritual Formation
  • Chapter Seven 127
  • Transition In Leadership
  • Chapter Eight 143
  • Transition In Community Formation
  • Chapter Nine 165
  • Transition In Mission
  • Chapter Ten 189
  • Transition In Worship: 'so What About Worship, Anyway?'
  • Chapter Eleven 197
  • The Journey Into The Emerging Culture

Excerpt

Excerpt from: The Church in Transition

CHAPTER ONE The Church in a Changing Landscape EMERGING CULTURE, THE EMERGING CHURCH, AND CHURCH IN TRANSITION Recently, a national newspaper ran a front-page story about a Christian leader who sought to distance himself somewhat from the religious right. He expressed some remorse that he'd chosen political sides earlier in his ministry. Today, in an era when some theological conservatives refuse to share the podium with any who disagree with their views of salvation and theology, this leader now opens his events to sponsorship and participation by the full spectrum of Christianity. 'If I took sides in all these different divisive areas,' he contends, 'I would cut off a great part of the people that I really want to reach.' In the article, he carefully explains how the term evangelism---presenting the good news of the hope God offers humanity--- differs from evangelical---the label chosen by some theologically conservative Christians. This leader remains passionately committed to proclaiming the gospel, as he has done throughout his long career. Yet he recognizes that a rapidly changing culture demands new approaches to ministry. Who is this prominent leader? Perhaps an emerging church or post-evangelical voice such as Brian McLaren? Or a social activist such as Jim Wallis? No. This article was about Billy Graham.2 Although Billy Graham's goal to spread the good news has not changed over the last half century, his ministry now exhibits relaxed associations and shifts of method. Graham's subtle adjustments reflect dramatic changes in our culture during this timespan. Billy Graham recognizes that we live in an exciting time of transition and adaptation, where dominant worldviews, philosophies, and even theologies are either yielding or at least making room for a new era. This time of transition into a new cultural era has great implications---both opportunities and challenges---for Christianity and the church. 2 'The Gospel of Billy Graham: Inclusion,' taken from www.USAtoday.com posted on May 15, 2005. One of my neighbors recently stopped in for a long cup of coffee. As often happens, our conversation turned comfortably toward spirituality and religion. He was raised in the church, yet has often told me of his deep concerns about institutional Christianity. He and his wife and two children are all quite engaged spiritually, and he leads a weekly prayer and meditation group for teenagers in his home. Their family is very involved in local social issues, as well as hunger relief projects around the world. He and I share many of the same values and dreams for our community. And my wife, Mimi, and I have been influenced and motivated by their holistic vision of childrearing. He told me he'd be supportive if his children chose, as he put it, 'to follow the teachings of Jesus.' But he added that any future forays into Christian community for him or his wife would have to differ greatly from the doctrinal inflexibility and relentless guilt that characterized their childhood church experiences. Despite the pain that surrounds his own church experience and his own interest in Buddhist spirituality, this friend continually encourages friends to attend---and also tries to make community connections for---a Christian community I help lead. My friend's perspective reveals a deep distrust of institutional Christianity and a gentle rejection of the Christian story as the sole resource for truth and meaning. He and his family are open to a diversity of perspectives and relationships. In reaction to our highly individualized society (dominated by individual rights and consumerism), his family exhibits a strong yearning for community. Holism and social activism take prominent roles in their perspectives and family expectations. The array of values represented by my friend (community oriented, spiritually seeking, politically active, and open to Christianity but suspicious of the institutional church) demonstrates many of the impulses of a new, emerging culture. Social scientists believe the primary worldview of the last several centuries is yielding to a new worldview and culture. The American consciousness is no longer dominated by a Christian consensus on morality and truth. We're moving from a culture with a single dominant story (the Judeo- Christian metanarrative) to a more heterogeneous 'post-Christian' society characterized by numerous, competing stories and rivaling views on ethics and truth.3 While interest in spirituality remains high, persons in this emerging culture look to a variety of sources for spiritual meaning. Their spiritual searches often come with a wide range of prejudices (some accurate, others less so) about historical and institutional Christianity. Sadly, rather than seeing the church as the light of the world, many people in the emerging culture see the church primarily in terms of its grave moral inadequacies. This emerging culture is shaped by a philosophy known as postmodernism, which encourages the pursuit of truth along new avenues of inquiry. According to theologian John Franke, postmodernity interprets truth and reality with predispositions of 'finitude' and 'suspicion.'4 The postmodern mindset tends to reject global, one-size-fits-all-communities-and-contexts explanations of truth. Since the human ability to know truth is finite, postmodern thinkers tend to be wary of any person or institution that offers or demands a universal and infinite view, suspecting such perspectives are often rooted in a desire to control, manipulate, or even do violence to others. Postmodernism also explains some of the impulses of this emerging culture. Emerging culture persons prefer spiritual worldviews to the mechanistic and scientific explanations of the previous age's modernism. Though individualism remains a hallmark of American society, in the emerging culture the yearning for community is growing, as community experiences are viewed as a source of truth. The individual objectivity of modernism is yielding to a postmodern subjectivity. The postmodern world is one of local communities, contexts, and explanations. It's a world in which experience can trump objectivity and mystery is more comfortable and trustworthy than certainty. 3 Although the U.S. may not experience a post-Christian society to the same measure as Western Europe (we do have a different history), the signs of a post-Christian world are everywhere. 4 I am indebted to Franke's work on truth and meaning in postmodernity on numerous counts. Franke offered this characterization in a learning community on 'Truth' at the 2005 Emergent Convention in Nashville. Many see this time of cultural change primarily as a threat to the Christian church. While I believe the growth of the emerging culture requires changes in the church's thinking and practice, I also believe the emerging culture offers a great opportunity for the church to rediscover some of its historical roots and escape some of its contemporary ruts. As we will see, this culture's greater openness and appreciation of mystery can encourage us to embrace our finitude and become more committed to worship an infinite God. It can motivate us to seek God and express the gospel more holistically. We may listen for God's voice in our experiences, with our intuition, through contemplative practices, and from the artistic gifts and experiences of those in our communities. This alone can rescue our view and understanding of God from shallow affirmations and stale---even if they're true---propositions. The emerging culture opens doors of exploration and paths of faithfulness that excite and inspire me. I will make the case that great commitments to community and interdependence can allow us to experience God more fully and to reflect more accurately the character of God within culture and creation.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 235621
  • Product Code 0310265711
  • EAN 9780310265719
  • UPC 025986265717
  • Pages 224
  • Department Academic
  • Category Church
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Emergent Ys
  • Publication Date Mar 2006
  • Sales Rank #22497
  • Dimensions 228 x 152 x 12 mm
  • Weight 0.326kg

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