There’s a really interesting generalisation in this chapter about emerging church ‘worship’ in the UK context. The writers assert that it’s largely dance driven (backed up by examples from ngm, NOS and so on). In many ways, what they describe is a largely urban based, not only in terms of music, but where and how the groups meet. I think there’s a real need to explore what the emerging church looks like in contexts outside of the city. It’s a little bit like how for a long time we’ve been focused on creating great social action projects in the big cities – which have had an excellent outcome on the communities that they’ve touched…sometimes, however, this has helped to communicate the message that cutting action mission and social engagement can only happen in urban, economically deprived areas.
I empathise greatly with the ‘God favouring the poor’ line of thought, but am perhaps more comfortable with a position that says that God favours all of humanity. What I’m attempting to do here is to say that I truly believe that God is doing incredible things through the incredible explosion of inner-city ministry that is making up for the move to the suburbs that many churches undertook as city centres changed over the years.
So what would emerging look like in the villages? What does emerging look like for those who love Coldplay or Bloc Party or any guitar driven group out there at the moment. I think the reality is that emergent isn’t described by any particular urban/rural context or style, but by a concept, a passion that is more about engaging with each other and with God. Basically, worship (in a purely musical sense) comes second to assisting people to encounter God through whatever method works best for them. As much as places like Hillsong and Abundant Life have raised the standard and professionalism of worship across the globe, in many ways I’d be more comfortable with a bunch of mates sat in a living room, with one guy with an old guitar strumming, whilst fresh (i.e. created by someone there) poetry is read and God is met.
Anyway, not sure what I’m trying to say apart from that emerging can’t be about one particular genre or culture, but about helping a generation disconnected from God reconnect…both churched and unchurched. As we’ve been discussing across at Andrew’s blog, that means emergent can be conservative evangelical, charismatic, liberal, orthodox, dance focused, guitar driven, silent…whatever is relevant and authentic to those gathered. I think people will forgive any style issues if they sense what’s at the heart of the gathering…