We are at the point where we have no desire to be "emergent". Rather, we want to be more than what we are. We want to find what is just past what we have right now. We want to see what happens when we let the restless evangelicals push the envelopes that they have been stuck in for so long.
Thing is - this is what makes us more emergent than ever before. It strikes me that, no matter if we start a new emerging service or not - I am what I am. The way I understand the gospel, the way I live in the way of Jesus, the context of my conversations, my approach to my understanding of all theology is different. And the modern church (read: my denomination) is not creating new categories other than fear of postmodernity.
So, we are trying to engage conversation with those who are like us - and in leadership positions - and there ain't many around Albany, Oregon. Many churches are sticking with status quo, but that just isn't what I want to tell Jesus I did with my life.
So we are looking outside of our town to help us engage the conversation - with the hope of finding a true (Albanian) expression of being a missional congregation. Right now we are answering a bunch of questions found in Kimball's book Emerging Worship. But we are purposely avoiding the chapters on ideas and common values in emerging churches. I know them. We know them. But the way that we have been trained tells us to model and to copy (pragmatism) - but we are refusing.
In that light - I read this quote last night and it really speaks to where we're at right now. It's an exciting time.
We need to recognize this and understand this. It is not dependent on people coming to our building and sitting in our meeting. After we think through the other building blocks, we can begin to design a worship gathering. To do this backwards is dangerous and will ultimately produce consumer-Christians who 'go to church' (a worship service), are not engaged in the mission, and don't see themselves as the church.
You may say, 'We know our mission isn't to start a worship service.' You need to probe and ask if you really do know that. What comes to your mind when you imagine 'success'? Is it a view of people all gathered in a worship service you have created? Or is it a view of a community of worshipers being missionaries in their world, being a part of community in smaller settings, and then coming together for a worshi pgathering? There is a huge difference between the two! Probably what comes to your mind and heart first is what you are building on.
-Dan Kimball, Emerging Worship, p.33/34