Know your emergent church leaders: Dan Kimball

Building Bridges interviews Dan Kimball the author of the books “The Emerging Church and Emerging Worship. Dan says

“it is absolutely thrilling to see how God is moving among emerging leaders to rethink what ‘church’ is. I see a lot of community being formed among emerging leaders, and a lot of healthy and much needed discussion. This is so refreshing as it helps leaders not feel alone and not feel crazy. To see new communities of faith being birthed is also extremely encouraging, especially as the focus of these churches is not just on getting big or designing the bigger and better worship services but on being missional, building true community and being Kingdom-minded.

I see the call to be missional as a common link among emerging churches. It is also encouraging to see non-canned or prepackaged creativity being fleshed out again in these new worship communities expression of worship.”

Dan is dead right to say that community, mission and creativity are lacking from many traditional churches. I couldnt agree more that radical change is required. If saying that makes me “emergent” so be it. I am slightly less happy with the following quote, but again nothing here to raise the antibodies….

There are emerging generations who are not part of these modern churches and they are the ones we must be rethinking the culture and what the role of the church is in a missional way. Different types of churches are needed for various people groups who will think and form ministry much different than another. This doesn’t mean one type of church is right and the other wrong, or even one outdated and the other isn’t. Its about being missional in a multi-cultured America and a multi-world view America.

I read the first few pages of Dan’s book over at Amazon. There was a clear focus on relational evangelism- again nothing wrong there!

Interestingly Dan seems to have been received more readily than some “emergents” and the back cover has a recommendation from Rick Warren. Incidently, despite the reservations of some I would consider Rick to be relatively mainstream (I havent seen any evidence of Rick denying any classic evangelical doctrines, so lets be gracious given the times we live in!)

In contrast to some other emergents who speak of a whole new kind of Christian, Dan speaks of restoring “Vintage faith” which he defines as “of high quality, especially from a past time period n. the date or time period when something was originally produced or existed”. On his website he goes on “Vintage Faith is simply looking at what was vintage Christianity. Going back to the beginning and looking at the teachings of Jesus with fresh eyes and hearts and minds. Carefully discerning what it is in our contemporary churches and ministry that perhaps has been shaped through modernity and evangelical subculture, rather than the actual teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures. We need to begin asking a lot of questions again. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. Too much is at stake not to.”

So, from the basis of what I have seen there is little more I can say about his man or his beliefs. One thing is clear to me though, these people are not all the same- it is important not to tar them all with the same brush. So Dan, if you are out there reading at all, or if anyone knows more about you and what you believe, are you a neo-liberal or not?