Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Defining Labels For The Emerging Church

As Baptists we are pretty good or bad, depending on your perspective, of labeling just about everything and everybody. Sometimes this can be helpful, but much of the time it ends up being counter-productive because it causes us to too quickly think we understand, or to agree or disagree. The end result often is misunderstanding and miscommunication because we have relied on labels that simply mean different things to different people.

I first encountered this many years ago when I relocated in ministry from Texas to South Carolina. The labels and definitions that I thought I understood were suddenly being used to communicate things very differently in my new place of ministry. And this was confirmed for me again as I moved to Georgia, back to Texas, and then to Arizona. Of course this took place over a number of years while Southern Baptist life continued to change and labels were taking on new nuances. My ultimate choice has been that I just try not to use them.

My point here is simply this…we must be careful how we use labels.

Well, it seems we are at it again these days as we try to understand, define, describe, and label the Emerging Church. What in the heck is the Emerging Church anyway? Maybe you are like me. I can’t define it very well, but I usually can recognize it when I see it.

Read the news story In New Orleans Stetzer Explains Emerging Church. It was helpful to me and perhaps will be to you as well.

Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!

Pat