Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bolger and "Seeker" Churches

Ryan Bolger is a missiologist who serves as assistant professor of church in contemporary culture at Fuller Seminary in California. His blog is a regular part of my viewing, and an October 12 post titled "Please, no more doing church for 'them'," is worth a read regardless of your perspective on the emerging culture and emerging church. I recommended this article to a few of my contacts, some of whom are missionally minded, and a few who are more at home with attractional church, and received a few complaints from those in the latter group. But aside from some of the concerns from attractional church adherents, I'd like to encourage us not to miss two important points raised in Bolger's post.

First, Bolger points out that for most churches the worship service is the focal point for trying to connect with the community. Bolger rightly points out the inappropriateness of the assumption behind this practice, namely that "following Jesus is about going to church." Never mind the fact that church's will more often than not miss really connecting with the community with this assumption because they are largely out of touch with the subcultures they would like to reach, as Bolger also reminds us. Beyond this, an emphasis on the worship service as the defining point of Christian spirituality represents another example of truncated Christian spirituality in America, if not the broader Western world.

Second, Bolger argues that we need to shift to truly being missional in the Western world by engaging the culture in "the world" and embody the Kingdom of God beyond the "sacred space" of the church building. Such a state of being and acting moves us beyond the sacred/secular split of modernity, and provides an ongoing place for contact.

Regardless of whether you agree with Bolger's conclusions or not, I hope the reader will not lose sight of these important considerations, and will consider Bolger's thesis.

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