Preaching and the Emerging Church -- By: John S. Bohannon

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 23:2 (Spring 2006)
Article: Preaching and the Emerging Church
Author: John S. Bohannon

Preaching and the Emerging Church

John S. Bohannon

Ph.D. Student in Applied Theology (Preaching)
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587


A recent Google search engine investigation on the subject, emerging church, identified in excess of 554,000 references.1 Scanning promotional catalogs of religious book distributors or inquiring online about emerging church books will reveal a plethora of recent and new releases engaging the emergent conversation.2 In 2003 over one thousand pastors attended the Emergent Church Convention held in San Diego while in comparison the traditional National Pastors Convention, held simultaneously, ushered in a fraction below two thousand.3 The emerging church is unquestionably a growing movement or conversation within Christianity today.4 For many church leaders, despite this growing influence of the ECM, the question of what the emerging church is has not yet surfaced, or if it has, the answer remains vague, unresolved, or a mystery.5 Similarly a unfamiliarity exists in understanding the role of preaching within the ECM, which could be attributed to the limited amount of homiletical conversation in emergent published literature, web sites, or blogs—thus leaving more questions than answers.6

Therein lies the aim of this work, which will seek to inform Christian leaders about the emerging church movement by providing a basic understanding of the ECM, which will then lead to an analysis and assessment of the role preaching plays within the emergent conversation. To accomplish this goal, this work will first provide a brief profile of the ECM in order to gain an understanding of its diverse and broad influence. Secondly, an overview will be given of the emerging church’s philosophy and methodology of preaching, assessed through the writings of three emergent leaders.7 Finally, an evaluation of the strengths and potential weaknesses of the emerging church movement’s preaching ministry will be discussed.

The Emerging Church Profile

Defining the emerging church movement presents a unique challenge. Chameleon could be a common expression used to describe such a diverse movement

that has, according to Michael Moynagh, “many bedfellows.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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