God is doing something new through a new generation of conspirators. They are comprised by at least four streams: emerging, missional, multicultural, and monastic. You can read about what God is doing through a new generation of innovators in The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time.
The emerging stream had its beginnings with young leaders in Britain who wanted to create new ways to engage a postmodern generation. They have fashioned a range of imaginative new expressions - from cafes to art centers - that engage those that would never come to a traditional church. You can find a large number of emerging leaders all over the U.S. struggling to create new forms of church. They are connected to groups like Emergent Village, Soularize, and Youth Specialities.
There are a few theologians who question the biblical orthodoxy of some of these leaders. The emerging leaders I have had an opportunity to work with have a very high view of scripture. But they tend to approach scripture more as narrative - story and mystery with a welcome humility.
There are three major characteristics that impress me about the emerging stream that come directly out of their commitment to scripture:
First, they are not only concerned about orthodoxy but orthopraxy. They are interested in seeing a more authentic whole life faith than is often found in established. They are keen to see a faith that impacts every aspect of their lives and lifestyles.
Second, they want to be involved in expressions of church in which word and deed mission is central, not marginal. As a consequence, many emerging churches are often more outwardly focused on the lives and communities in which they serve.
Third, even though many of these young leaders come from evangelical roots, they have left the ideologies of the religious right and political right behind and have started doing their own thinking. As a consequence, they tend to embrace views that transcend right and left. They value family integrity and care for the vulnerable, but also are typically strong advocates of social justice and care of creation.
Next week: the missional stream.
Tom Sine founded Mustard Seed Associates in 1989. He has worked as a consultant in futures research and planning for numerous nonprofit organizations and speaks at gatherings all over the world with his wife, Christine. His newest book, The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, comes out next month. Join the New Conspirators, Feb. 28-29 and Mar. 1 at Bethany Community Church in Seattle and discover what God is doing through a new generation of risk takers. Join this festival of imagination and create new ways to be a difference in uncertain times: www.thenewconspirators.wordpress.com