Definitions of three words I think, as Christians, we need to know.
Thanks to Mike Cope for the first two (which I think I now understand).
“Missional” — a term that has popped up that I describe as “the church has left the building.” It’s what we’ve always believed at our best. The priesthood of all believers. You aren’t just a public school teacher whose job is to support the ministers at church; you are a minister! You are a representative of Christ in your job, in your neighborhood, in your family. You have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others. The term tends to sit over against “consumerism” — a tendency in the megachurch movement (among other places) to say “here’s what we can offer your family if you’ll come here.”
“Postmodernism” — whew! Big word. Lots of meanings swirl around. At its best, it is a reaction against the world of modernism, where everything gets reduced to scientific formulae, scientific confidence, and scientific pride. Postmodernism (again, at its best) is a way of saying that not all answers can be found in the confident tools of a few. There is mystery in this world. There is a place for deep humility. (At its worst, postmodernism can be a way of describing a sense that there is no truth.) A great place to investigate is Stanley Grenz’s book A Primer on Postmodernism. Christ-followers have both much potential agreement and much potential disagreement with various parts of what’s called postmodernism.
And Scott McKnight for the third (which I still don’t get)
“Emerging churches” are communities that practice the way of Jesus in postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices . Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly comunal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritial activities.
As one of my memorable students used to say as soon as I handed him a paper, “I need help.”