I wrote a brief summation report on emergentia… thought I’d share it here. It’s not particularly beautiful, but it sums things up fairly well.
Over 40 leaders from Nazarene churches around the USA gathered in Portland, Oregon this November for emergentia. The gathering was specifically focused on the practical and theological groundings for doing ministry in an emerging culture. The conference focused on conversations including: “Theological Underpinings: Embracing Wesleyan Theology in an Emerging Culture”, “Called to Plant: How do I start a new work?”, “Starting Ministries to Emerging Cultures within Traditional Churches” and “Evangelism in an Emerging Culture: From Response to Evaluation”.
The event started the first night with a time of sharing stories. It struck me as incredibly beautiful as I heard laypeople and pastors say again and again in their own words as part of their own story how desperately they wanted to remain connected to the Church of the Nazarene. Most grew up in the Nazarene church and are trying to figure out how to help the church better reach an emerging culture that has mostly moved away from the established church. The stories oftentimes included broken hearts and dreams as a part of their journey, but they also included hope; hope that the Nazarene church would continue in its tradition of bringing the good news to the marginalized, to those who most desperately were seeking connection to a larger story found in God’s love and grace.
Emergentia, in partnership with Nazarene Youth International and USA/Canada Mission Evangelism NewStart, was hosted by Community of Adsideo a two year old Nazarene church in the heart of the Sellwood community in Portland. In addition to the formal conversations, the conference attendees got an opportunity to see the ministries of Community of Adsideo, all integrally connected within the neighborhood, and also to join with them as they served at the Portland Rescue Mission and worshipped together on Friday night. Friday night’s service was a beautiful expression of God’s work through Adsideo in that neighborhood. Interwoven within the music worship and the artists working, several people from Adsideo shared their stories of hope and redemption in Christ.
The response by the attendees was overwhelmingly hopeful in the Nazarene church’s support of ministry to an emerging culture and their place within the church.