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:: Sunday, August 15, 2004 ::

Emerging Reading List
Book 1: The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations
Post 1: Listening Skills

I've been reading a lot of people (books, blogs, etc.) on the subject of the emerging church, so what Dan Kimball says does repeat a lot of what I've heard already. Dan joins the ever-growing chorus of voices that say, "Hey folks! People's assumptions are changing! You can't just do it the same way anymore!"

One of the most valuable aspects of the whole Emerging Church discussion is that it has forced us [i.e., Christians] to listen to everyone else again. It's not enough, any more, to get our understanding of our culture in digest. We cannot, for instance, depend primarily on books people have published on "how to do ministry" because people just think differently than they did even a few years ago. Moreover, our culture has become so diverse that it's hard to predict what someone is actually going to believe about something in particular - beyond the pluralism that is basic to the scene.

Instead, we must listen to people. We must seek out people who are unaffiliated with church and find out what they really think. And to do so, we actually have to get to know them - so many of us are so sick of surveys and people prying into our "personally identifiable information" that we won't share what we really feel and who we really are unless we can establish trust.

Thus, what was once "good practice" in ministry - listening to others, learning about them personally, and relating the good news of Jesus Christ to them personally - has become ministry's sine qua non: the thing without which it doesn't work, neither does it exist.


:: Matt 8/15/2004 08:03:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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