Evaluating The Changing Face Of Worship In The Emerging Church In Terms Of The ECLECTIC Model: Revival Or A Return To Ancient Traditions? -- By: Noel B. Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 05:1 (Mar 2008)
Article: Evaluating The Changing Face Of Worship In The Emerging Church In Terms Of The ECLECTIC Model: Revival Or A Return To Ancient Traditions?
Author: Noel B. Woodbridge


Evaluating The Changing Face Of Worship In The Emerging Church In Terms Of The ECLECTIC Model: Revival Or A Return To Ancient Traditions?1

Noel B. Woodbridge2

Abstract

The desired approach to worship in the Emerging Church is a revival of liturgy and other ancient traditions, brought back with life and meaning. The aim of this paper is to answer the question: Is Emerging Worship a modern-day revival or is it merely a return to ancient traditions? In particular, an attempt will be made to evaluate some of the common values or characteristics of Emerging worship gatherings in terms of the ECLECTIC model. The paper concludes with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of Emerging Worship and provides recommendations regarding the application of Emerging Worship in today’s church.

1. Introduction

1.1. The Emerging Church Movement

The Emerging Church Movement (or the Emergent Church Movement) is described by its own proponents as, “a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (About Emergent Village 2007).

While practices and even core doctrines vary, most emergents can be recognised by the following values (Taylor 2006):

  • Missional living: Christians go out into the world to serve God rather than isolate themselves within communities of like-minded individuals.
  • Narrative theology: Teaching focuses on narrative presentations of faith and the Bible rather than systematic theology or biblical reductionism.
  • Christ-likeness: While not neglecting the study of Scripture or the love of the church, Christians focus their lives on the worship and emulation of the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Authenticity: people in the post-modern culture seek real and authentic experiences in preference over scripted or superficial experiences.

In the diagram below Kimball (2003:95) clearly points out the difference between today’s “Consumer Church” and the “Missional Church” of the Emerging Church Movement:

1.2. Understanding Emerging Generations

To understand the characteristics of worship in the Emerging Church, one needs to know, in advance, who are the major players of the Emerging Church. In other words: Who are the emerging generations? The emerging generations have been variously described as: The post-modern generations, the next/young ge...

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