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

Eddie Gibbs , Ryan Bolger
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jan 2006
This is a major study of changing church patterns in the West. In many parts of Europe and North America, the decline of the major traditional denominations continues unabated. But it seems that people these days are not less religious: rather their religious beliefs are rooted in personal experience rather than in community identity and loyalty to historic institutions. For the first time, religion is being chosen rather than received and this change has contributed to the growth in frontier fellowships, commonly known as the 'emerging church'. This book is intended to offer a multinational, Spirit-inspired testimony to the insights of these 'new, fragile, vulnerable' groups and churches. Filled with the latest research on what's happening on both sides of the Atlantic, it also features fascinating interview testimonies from forty-nine emerging church leaders on the cutting edge of ministry, including: Jonny Baker (Grace, London), Phil Bail (New Generation Ministries, Bristol), Kester Brewin (Vaux, London), Mal Caliadine (Tribal Generation, Sheffield), Steve Collins (Grace, London), Simon Hall (Revive, Leeds), Paul Roberts (Third Sunday Service, Resonance, Bristol), Pete Rollins (Ikon, Belfast), Dan Slatter (Warehouse, Chichester), Andy Thornton (Late, Late Service, Host and Vaux, London), Dave Tomlinson (Holy Joes, London), Sue Wallace (Visions, York).

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Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures + Mission-shaped Church: A Theological Response + Mission-Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of a Church in a Changing Context
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (1 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281057915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281057917
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

EDDIE GIBBS (BD, London University; DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) is British by birth and formerly served as a missionary in South America. The author of several books, including the critically acclaimed ChurchNext (IVP (UK), 2000), he is the Donald A McGavran Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. RYAN BOLGER (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of church in contemporary culture at the School of intercultural Studies and the academic director of the Master of Arts in Global Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful but unselfcritical 14 April 2009
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This book is touted (by Brian MacLaren, no less) as the best guide to emerging churches around.

It's an engagingly-written book, based on interviews with 50 EC leaders in US and UK. Although it therefore incorporates a range of opinions and experiences, the whole thing is given a measure of coherence by the thoughtful commentary of the two researchers/authors.

Gibbs & Bolger summarise the characteristics of emerging churches in their conclusion (pp235ff):-

"Emerging churches are not young adult services, Gen-X churches, churches-within-a-church, seeker churches, purpose-driven or new paradign churches, fundamentalist churches, or even evangelical churches. They are a new expression of church. The three core practice are identifying with the life of Jesus, transforming secular space, and commitment to community as a way of life. These practices are expressed in or lead to the other six: welcoming the stranger, serving with generosity, participating as producers, creating as created beings, leading as a body, and taking part in spiritual activities."

"The example, of Jesus, as he engaged his culture with the kingdom, is exemplary for emerging churches. The gospel, as he announced it, was to participate with God in the redemption of the world. It is this gospel that emerging churches embrace."

"Modern culture created a secular realm and chased all spiritual things to the margins of society, first relegating them to church and religion and then to the individual's heart.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific introduction to the subject 26 Jan 2006
I'm amazed this one hasn't had a slew of reviews - perhaps people are busily digesting its content!
This is the best introduction to the subject of the emerging church around, and - believe me - I've read a few. Eddie Gibbs has been around long enough to know what he's talking about and together with Ryan Bolger have produced a book that is both weighty and readable. Based on personal interviews with around fifty emerging church leaders from around the globe (mainly from the USA and UK to be fair) it is liberally sprinkled with helpful quotes and anecdotes from the 'coal face' of the emerging church movement.
So what you get are not only well thought through theology from Gibbs and Bolger, but really great life-experience from the likes of Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Jonny Baker and loads of other familiar names from emerging church websites and blogs - with a special mention to my mate Anna, one of few women to be interviewed (a surprising oversight)
Passionate about Jesus and the Kingdom, visionary about community and leadership, and open minded about structures and worship forms - this is a book that deserves to be read by a wide audience within the Church.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By Richard M. Seel VINE VOICE
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An excellent book. Gibbs and Bolger very firmly identify emerging churches with postmodern church and then offer nine areas which they have in common. The book is based on a five-year project in which they interviewed 50 emerging church leaders in UK & US. A feature of the book is the mini-autobiographies of those leaders, which gives added depth to the work.

Gibbs & Bolger identify three core practices: identifying with the life of Jesus; transforming secular space; and commitment to community as a way of life. These lead to six other shared areas: welcoming the stranger; serving with generosity; participating as producers; creating as created beings; leading as a body; and taking part in spiritual activities. The book is enlivened throughout by frequent quotes from the practitioners.

The treatment is sympathetic and perceptive and offers excellent theological reflection, noting, for instance, a shift from a 'gospel of salvation' to a 'gospel of the kingdom' in emerging churches - fuelled in part by N. T. (Tom) Wright's work, particularly in "Jesus and the Victory of God".

If you want to 'get' emerging church, read both this and Doug Pagitt's "Reimagining Spiritual Formation" and you'll have a pretty good sense of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and trustworty 13 Jan 2009
Just like the other two who've commented so far, this is the best book I've read on the subject. I got nowhere reading the blogs by the leading thinkers,(probably because I haven't got to grips with blog sites yet!) but this has given me excellent material for a college assignment. It was recommended to me by an MA student, and I am SO glad he did. WEll written, easy reading, objective, plenty of examples, and good summaries and comparisons that answer the questions I needed answering. (Another good read may be the New Conspirators by Tom Sine which I'd rate a smidgin lower than Gibbs & Bolger). Well worth reading and digesting.Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures
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