miteypen

The Emergent Church

In Religion on March 17, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I recently went to church at Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had never been to a church like this before, although I’d heard about them. Cornerstone calls itself an “interdenominational” church. It has a website that is very informative and includes downloadable sermons and music. Take a look–I think you’ll be intrigued.

How did I personally respond to this experience? I liked it. It appealed to the side of me that has tired of old-hat worship services with out-dated hymns, strident organ music and worn-out liturgies. I loved how easy it was to go to church in jeans, grab a cup of coffee and find a seat in the dark auditorium (complete with cup-holders) where I could sing and pray in relative anonymity. I was impressed by the professionalism of the presentations: filmed interviews with church members spread out on the huge screens at the front of the auditorium and the original music and catchy lyrics performed by–of all things–a band! The minister himself was both dynamic and down-to-earth, sharing his innermost thoughts and personal stories and relating them to the life of Jesus as expressed in the Bible. I was relieved that his message didn’t include the claim that God will richly bless those who give  liberally, like some ministers and televangelists do. (Read a critique of “Seed Faith Giving” here.) I was also relieved to hear a strong emphasis on small groups for personal sharing and growth.

I’m not ready to give up on stained glass windows and my favorite hymns–or all liturgy, for that matter. But I can see why this new kind of church is popular–and it is: many of these churches draw worshippers in the thousands. (It took us 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot after the Saturday night service–I can’t imagine what it’s like on Sundays!)

Some people call churches like these, the emergent, or emerging, church. Here is a PBS video about this phenomenon:

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