51. terminiology


I was just looking at an email that my dad sent me back in March of 2007, just after I’d left my home church of fourteen years when a new pastor took over and was steering everything in more of a “megachurch” direction. (That, and the executive pastor was just an evil, evil man.) These were from some notes he took at a church conference.

The language that you’ll often hear in discussions like this about churches is Seeker vs. Missional. Considering that I’m looking for a new home church, this conversation is pretty relevant at the moment. I’d have to say that most churches now appear to follow more of the “Seeker” model. See what you think. Where does your church lie on this spectrum? I’m curious if the four models outlined at the bottom are the only ones, or if there are more. It seems too simplistic, reductionist, and even dangerous to boil it down that much. Is it the nature of Emergent churches to have liberal theology?

As Jack D. Caputo observes, “Nutshells close and encapsulate, shelter and protect, reduce and simplify, while everything in deconstruction is turned toward opening, exposure, expansion, and complexification, toward releasing unheard of, undreamt of possibilities to come, toward cracking nutshells wherever they appear” (from Deconstruction in a Nutshell).


  • Business model mindset
  • Market-driven (surveys, polls)
  • Gain larger following
  • Dispenses services
  • Pragmatic
  • Bring ‘em in mentality, events
  • Programs to attract non-Christians
  • Sharing vs. preaching teaching/sermon format


  • Theologically, biblically led
  • Counter-cultural
  • Theology impacts culture
  • Christians reach out to non-believers
  • No evangelical events, no surveys
  • Go-out mentality
  • Christians gather to worship, fellowship; scatter to evangelize
  • Every believer a missionary, each trained to that end

Under “Emerging v. Emergent” [Mark] Driscoll lists 4 current directions churches may take in addressing a post-modern culture:

  1. Emergent – very liberal theologically, people-driven pragmatic approach
  2. Emerging – house churches, basically moderate evangelicalism
  3. Evangelical with upgrade to music (“edgy”)
  4. Missional – reformed theology (above characteristics)

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