2/16/11

IS EMMAUS ROAD A "GENTRI-CHURCH"?

Read this blog post from FCS (focused community strategies) by Bob Lupton. Does this description of the "gentri-church" apply to Emmaus Road and our ministry context?

3 comments:

Anna-Marie said...

The term "gentri-church" sounds a little elitist to me especially since the meaning of gentrification has a negative connotation. Although I do understand that Lupton's term meant gentrification WITH justice. I prefer the term: "neo-urban church".

We seem to have some of the good characteristics of Lupton's gentri-church: We do have eclectic music, we do engage in dialogue vs. indoctrination. We seem to have a balance of exploration and pedagogy.

We do embrace diversity. We do reject judgmentalism and small mindedness...we are definitely utalitarian, using converted commercial space in New Horizons (which I actually find refreshing about E.R.).

Our membership profile is more heterogenous than a gentri-church's. I think we are community-centric, especially during Groundwork Sundays, Food Groups and Search and Rescues with UGM.

There is one thing that really bothers me about this article: it is that Lupton lists worldly talents as spirit gifts to do justice in a gentrifying environment. We should not confuse natural things with spiritual things.

Though it is well and good to have legal expertise, political connections, finance capabilities, etc...all this is in vain if we do not fall on our knees and partner with the Holy Spirit who can give us a lasting vision and gives us spiritual gifts (e.g. word of wisdom, faith, gift of healings, etc...) that can truly impact people's lives.

If we just operate on natural talents, programs and plans without inviting Holy Spirit in it, then church members will burn out and we will not produce lasting fruit.

When we can use our natural talents along with Holy Spirit's spiritual gifts, then people will get to see God's love through as and we will see a community transformed.

joe said...

Anna-Marie, Thank you for your comments. I can't stand all these big words that really mean nothing. I 100% agree with the last 3 paragraphs you wrote. I can't stand this name gentri-church. To me, it represents something other then God. Gentri-church, dentri-church, bentri-church, whatever happened to "the church"? We are the church, the body of Christ, all these names mean nothing. I wish we would quit trying to fit in and decide to be all that God wants us to be as we are and right where we are. There are enough names of churches and Christian organizations to cross the globe 50 times and look we still haven't taken the world for Christ. We're Christians, followers of Christ and all part of His body. I think we all need to spend more time face down. InHisService, Joe.

Anna-Marie said...

Amen to that, Joe! We are THE church and we have to stop fighting over doctrine...and like you said, spend more time face down, contend for the nations and our community and become The Bride that Jesus wants us to be and that creation has been yearning for...

The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.