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On Not Forsaking Denominations: Can Established Traditions Birth Emerging Churches/Missional Communities?

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I’ve noticed that there’s an impulse to reject denominations among “missional/emerging types.” This is especially true regarding the older more conservative evangelical denominations. Often denominations like these can’t get out of their own way to allow “fresh expressions” of missionality to take shape within their churches and church planting structures. They are often blind to the ways Christendom has become entrenched in the ways they administer the churches. They have rules that aggravate. They have doctrinal formulas that were formed out of a different place and time. They focus on the differences, the denominational distinctives, that really don’t mean much anymore. All of this turns off even the most dedicated of young missionaries to the territories of post-Christendom.

And yet I think these denominations could play (must play!) a role in just the kind of renewal we seek. We see emergent presbyterians, anabaptist emergents (submergents) and indeed many many other emergents as Tony Jones has outlined. The conservative evangelical denominations however seem strangely left out. Yet I think denominations like the Salvation Army (check out Pernell Goodyear’s church) and other holiness denominations that have deep roots in ministering wholistically to the poor will be a significant place for the kind of renewal the missional movement is leading.

This is why I wrote THIS PIECE for Fuller Theological Seminary‘s Theology News and Notes. Its about my own unusual and good relationship with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, my home denomination, a conservative evangelical denomination if there ever was one. The whole issue is on the emerging/missional church within denominations. You can read my piece here. Check out the entire issue! Thanks to Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs. They did a great job!

How has your experience been within your denomination? Have they been supportive? Would you recommend your denominational heritage for those seeking to explore missional/emerging church?

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