Secular space was created when Western theology “reduced God to power and removed the sense that a good and beautiful God participates with humans. Unbelievers successfully created ‘safe zones’ so that God would not interfere with them” (See Emerging Churches, by Bolger & Gibbs, p. 192)
Modern Christians became comfortable in the ‘sacred spaces’ of the Church and their private lives. The witness of the Church was therefore weakened and reduced to a private decision, in a place set apart from the public domain. Emerging churches are countering this weakness by “removing the distinction of church and non church activities.” (Bolger & Gibbs, 107) They are synthesizing evangelism and service, avoiding differentiation between Christians and non-Christians. Emerging Churches are changing the focus from the external boundary of belief to the Person of Jesus at the center. They are more concerned about relating to Jesus in any setting, including night clubs and golf courses, than they are defining who is in and who is out.
Church communities today face a significant challenge, creating “bridges to span the sacred/secular divide.” (Bolger & Gibbs, 67) The way to do that may be for members of your church community to become the good news to their neighbors, encouraging and modeling gospel living to take place in secular spaces. The emphasis among Emerging Churches is to create “innovation” to “ensure authenticity.” (Bolger & Gibbs, 210)
Next week’s Emerging Church Pattern: Leading as the Body