Monday, January 23, 2006

How Leadership Network established Emergent

This is the 3rd in a series of posts that reveal some of the interesting highlights of Leadership Network's launching of the emergent movement.

Particularly noteworthy is the 2004 post below, which indicates that Leadership Network was actively involved in the financial and publishing aspects of setting up this movement. Which raises a key question: For what purpose did evangelical business tycoons and megachurch leaders finance and organize the creation of this youth leaders' movement? In other words, how did it suit THEIR purposes?

2002 “To Everything There Is a Season. In 1993, Leadership Network was located in Tyler, TX, and our primary focus was a national network of senior ministers and staff of large, and mainly, suburban churches. In August of that year, a new guy literally rode into Tyler and the life of Leadership Network. Brad Smith joined our team, coming to us from The Leadership Center at Dallas Seminary. Brad brought with him a passion for building relationships with leaders and a commitment to making the church effective in an ever-changing culture. . . . Leadership Network moved to Dallas and has grown to be a primary resource to which 21st century congregations and church leaders turn for information, innovation, and networking. Under Brad’s leadership, our services expanded to include networking the next generation of church leaders through the Young Leaders Network and the Terra Nova project. We launched the Leadership Training Network that has focused on equipping and releasing the laity in ministry and service. Our large church forums have grown to include urban as well as suburban churches and a new network is focusing on missional church leaders who are pioneers in community transformation.” “IDEAS: Building the Externally Focused Church (BEFC) - Key Church Learnings With nearly 100 in attendance, the BEFC Briefing was a success. The event was a joint effort of Leadership Network's Missional Church Network, Terra Nova Project and Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Releasing capacity (people, resources, etc.) was the underlying theme of the briefing. The BEFC participants toured the Windsor Village campus and saw firsthand the fruit of Windsor's community transformation initiatives, which is called the Power Connection. With a membership north of 15,000, Windsor Village is the largest United Methodist Church in the denomination and also has the highest weekly attendance. Under the leadership of Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell (author of The Gospel of Good Success) Windsor offers it members nearly 100 "ministry" opportunities and has birthed eight independently operated non-profit (501c3) corporations.” [Ed. note: The LN publication cited here is “Equipper.”]

2004 “Several years ago, Leadership Network began to see a shift in the ways the church was growing. We gathered young leaders from around the nation to discuss how differently they perceived the world and the relevant issues of the church. The topic hit a nerve and we began to hold conferences and identify the key spokespeople for this emerging expression of the church. Some of you may have attended one of those Terra Nova conferences or a Young Leader event where Rex Miller spoke. When we heard him present his "Millennium Matrix" we felt he offered a framework and a significant tool for sorting through the wide-ranging issues and debates being raised over emerging theology, expressions of worship and generational differences. That tool provides a bridge for the different camps in this ongoing debate to work together in defining how the church can adapt and remain relevant and true to its mission and beliefs. To view this tool, click here. Through his work Rex was beginning to offer new models to help churches adapt to the emerging social and spiritual realities. We liked the fact that those models transcended the normal discussions over style, traditions or brands of church, and instead provided insight and a map for mainline churches, contemporary churches and emerging churches. We initially interviewed Rex for the Spring 2000 issue of our NEXTpublication. The response to that interview generated so much interest that we asked him to write a book to answer questions and address more of the practical implications of how the church can adapt to a rapidly changing culture. Leadership Network then partnered with Jossey-Bass publishing and, together with Rex, proceeded to publish his book this past July. Recently we sat down with Rex to talk about his book, The Millennium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past and Reframing the Future of the Church.” [Ed. note: Be sure to click on to see the graphic, a chart that portrays an emergent view of evolutionary church history.] [All emphases above are added]

The Truth:

"Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession." (Proverbs 28:10)

Tomorrow -- important new information about how Emergent was formed!