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Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures [Paperback]

By Eddie Gibbs (Author) & Ryan K. Bolger (Author)
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Item description for Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures by Eddie Gibbs & Ryan K. Bolger...

Across the religious landscape, profound changes are creating new spiritual maps and reconfiguring churchgoing constituencies. These changes are taking place in the United Kingdom and the United States as a growing number of frontier churches successfully take root. Whereas many traditional denominations are losing young people, these emerging churches are successfully recapturing nonpracticing Christians and the never-churched.

Emerging Churches provides the first comprehensive examination of the emerging church phenomenon in the West. It considers emerging patterns in leadership, worship, mission, spiritual practices, and cultural engagement.

This book was born out of extensive observation and field research in the United States and the United Kingdom. It includes interview testimonies from forty-nine emerging church leaders on the cutting edge of ministry, including Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Dave Tomlinson, Karen Ward, Dieter Zander, and Spencer Burke. Because of its research-oriented approach and important subject matter, this book will appeal to both professional and academic audiences with an interest in understanding changing church paradigms in the West.

Publishers Description
The "emerging church" movement is perhaps the most significant church trend of our day. The emerging church offers and encourages a new way of doing and being the church. While it largely resonates with an eighteen-to-thirty-four-year-old audience--the first fully postmodern generation--it is also gaining popularity with older Christians and encompasses a broad array of traditional and contemporary churches." Emerging Churches "explores this movement and provides insight into its success.
Filled with the latest research and interesting, anecdotal testimonies from those on the cutting edge of ministry, this book provides pastors, church leaders, and interested readers with an insightful glimpse into the thriving churches of today--and tomorrow.

From Publishers Weekly
Mention "emerging churches" around a random selection of today's church leaders and half will have no idea what you are talking about while the other half are busy trying to plant one. This book informs the uninitiated while also helping overeager planters understand that these unique communities, as their name implies, emerge gradually, many times without the help of the institutional church. Fuller Seminary researchers Gibbs and Bolger spent five years collecting data in both the U.S. and U.K. and interviewing 50 leaders-most under the age of 40-to uncover important patterns among emerging churches. They emphasize the life of faith as Jesus demonstrated, employ a "going out" attitude toward the world rather than expecting people to "come to" their communities and consider all of life sacred. Also, these communities prefer relationships to meetings, so there may be no set worship gathering time or, indeed, no fixed place to meet. The authors paint emerging churches as attractive, hopeful and ever-evolving, populated by some of the most vibrant, open-minded and service-oriented young Christians. Readers who are attached to "church business as usual" will be shaken up by this book, while those ready for a change will find it energizing. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures by Eddie Gibbs & Ryan K. Bolger has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 08/29/2005 page 51
  • Library Journal - 02/01/2006 page 82
  • Christianity Today - 10/01/2009 page 64

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   345
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.07" Height: 0.89"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2005
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0801027152  
ISBN13  9780801027154  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Eddie Gibbs & Ryan K. Bolger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Eddie Gibbs (DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) is director of the Institute for the Study of Emerging Churches at the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts and a senior professor in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is the author of numerous books, including Emerging Churches and the critically acclaimed ChurchNext (winner of a Christianity Today book award), and is cohost of the popular Church Then and Now Web site.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Emerging Church
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures?

A Needed Emergent Addition  Mar 25, 2007
As someone who has tried to keep up with the happenings of the Emerging Church and its growing library over the last several years, I found Gibbs and Bolger's book to be a needed addition to the burgeoning bibliography of Emergent reading.

The strength in the book lies when Gibbs and Bolger attempt to show what the Emergent Church does as opposed to what its doctrines are. There are plenty of books each trying to claim a doctrinal place for Emergent, but few that show us what an Emergent church actually looks like. Gibbs and Bolger do this very well.

Some reviews below this one give good overviews of the book. There are only two flaws which kept the book from five stars in my book. First, I feel that Gibbs and Bolger are a little too quick to wrap the Emergent church into the evangelical wings of Christianity. This may be the church's eventual place, but for now, I feel it is a little too early for any group to lay claim to what Emergent is doing. Secondly, and this is really a critique of ALL Emergent church books, everybody in the book is just too white and male. While they do a great job of balancing views from Europe and America, there is still a lack of voices from women or from those who aren't out of the Caucasian evangelical communities of the past fifty years.

However, on the whole, this book does a great job of what not many other Emergent church books are doing...finding a framework for definitions of what Emergent is instead of what people want it to be.
so far, the best of a dozen  Feb 22, 2007
I'm on a quest to understand the shape of the emerging church, & this book booted me forward a few spaces. Here's how:

The authors spent some serious effort researching emerging churches in the UK & the US, and I trust their observations. So when they say, "these 3 things characterize virtually all emerging faith communities", I believe them. (They also note 6 other common characteristics / values / involvements of EC's.)

The 1st person bios of several dozen emerging church leaders - comprising the 2nd part of the book - were pure gold. These stories did more to give me a sense of the ethos of emerging churches than anything I've read (or observed) so far.

The authors had to, of course, narrow down their definition of an "emerging church" in order to do their research. But in my view, this skewed the characterization of the typical EC community toward the urban, artsy, techy scene.

So much of what emerging churches are trying to do resonates with what I've been thinking, & feeling - even as a 40 something - for years. But I must also note that reading the bios (actually, the text too) helped me get a handle on my concerns as well - the main one being the way culture is honored over most everything else; sometimes, it seems that being true to one's subculture, being "real", is considered more noble & worthwhile (certainly more groovy) than forsaking all to follow Jesus.

I'm grateful to the authors, & reccommend this book highly.
Excellent intro to emerging church topic!!!  Jan 9, 2007
This book is the result of a five year research project by the two authors whereby they attempt to describe/define emerging churches. The authors identify nine characteristics, or core practices as (1) identifying with Jesus (2) transforming secular space (3) living as community (4) welcoming the stranger (5) serving with generosity (6) participating as producers (7) creating as created beings (8) leading as a body and (9) merging ancient and contemporary spiritualities.

List strengths of book.
The authors illustrate the nine core practices by allowing practitioners, those that are doing the work, to give examples of how the practices are being lived out. Another strength is the book shows that the emerging movement is very diverse and is not centered on one person or organization. Lastly, the book concludes with over 100 pages of personal stories and examples of emerging leaders and the work they are doing.

List weaknesses of book.
First, the book may come off to some as being overly sympathetic to the emerging movement. Second, the research is limited to churches in the UK and the United States, while the emerging movement is a phenomenon that is much more far reaching.
Emerging Church conversation continued...  Jan 8, 2007
This is best book about the emerging church that I have read thus far. Gibbs and Bolger did extensive research in the US and UK to form the basis of their book, and bring the leaders of approx. 50 churches into conversation about what makes an emerging church emergent. I highly recommend it, especially for folks who have read Dan Kimball's "The Emergent Church" and want to know more!
Interesting Read, but a little one sided for a PHD project  Dec 25, 2006
I wanted to understand the "emerging church movement" from a friendly or inside perspective and this book is great for that purpose. I think it is too fond of the movement from the outset to be considered completely objective, but it does provide a lot of background explanations and uses a lot of actual quotes and examples from the movement.

As a side note, I find a lot of things that I agree with in these writings in terms of shortcomings with today's church and even today's believers; however I do not think that redefining Jesus, the kingdom of God, or scripture to better fit our needs is a good way to do anything but fall even farther away from Jesus.

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