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institutional church – emerging church March 14, 2007

Posted by Cobus in church, Emerging Church, theology.

I visited a friend today, who is the reverend of one of the more conservative congregations of our denomination in Pretoria, but I have a lot of respect for him, and he is really trying to figure out the future for his congregation as well. We started talking about the emerging church a one stage, and then he got me thinking.

He told about someone who told him that the emerging church, and emerging congregations, is not an institution, and that it will never become an institution. Now, a lot of us are mad at the institution. Is that what bind us into the emerging conversation?

When Tony first asked for money for Emergent Village, I was kind of dissapointed, don’t ask me why, but I guess I expected them to… I don’t know, not need money??? Maybe I believed they won’t become another institution. But it looks like Emergent Village is an institution. A totally different insitution than the church I was used to, but still they need some structure, a budget, leaders. The basis for an institution is there, not true? But that’s not really a problem is it. The problem is when the institution start standing in the way of the mission of the church, God’s mission which we are supposed to be part of.

Now, if the emerging church conversation, or at least the South African part, is gonna be formed by people who are simply anti-institutional, then we are going to walk into a wall (and most propably the wall will be our own institusionalization (sorry for the big word which is most propably spelt wrong)). The emerging church conversation should be about finding our true identity, following in the footsteps of Jesus, joining Him in His mission to the world. Sometimes our institutions will need to change, because they may be preventing us from doing this. Sometimes some of us would need to get out of the institution completely. But a simple reaction against any form of institution won’t get this conversation far in my opinion.

Therefore, a lot of people are sitting in congregations, taking part in the conversation, dreaming about there congregations becoming missional communities. Trying to figure out how to be church today, how to be church tomorrow. They are part of this conversation too, because they are trying to find the way of Jesus in the same way others outside the tradisional institution is trying to find it.

Other posts on this blog you might want to read if you this intrigued you

Some research on emergence in South Africa needed. Share your ideas…

Emerging the DRC? Or closing the DRC doors?



1. institutional church #1 - posting the question « emerging South Africa - March 26, 2007

[…] so I’m touching the institutional church again, posted some thoughts a while ago, but decided to spend some more time pondering this whole question. OK, this is my […]

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