With the Christian church in the west in decline, some churches are undergoing difficult transitions as they seek to become relevant, to both themselves and their surrounding cultures. Evangelicalism and the Emerging Church details an ethnographic study of a Vineyard congregation making sense of their Vineyard roots and their growing relationship with the self-proclaimed "emerging church" network. Through a rich account of congregational life and tensions, universal issues are raised such as relating to religious parentage, creating safe places for spirituality, Christian growth and maturity, communication with contemporary culture, and the challenges of identity reconstruction. This book is the first to conduct an academic study of a Vineyard congregation in the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
Contents: Approaching the emerging church; Becoming familiar with Jacobsfield vineyard; Hearing the stories of Jacobsfield vineyard; identifying a central theological question; Reflections for a wider context; Appendices; Works cited; Index.
Cory Labanow is a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Practical Theology program at the University of Aberdeen. In addition to formal theological training, he has an ongoing history of voluntary service in various church networks. Currently he works as a special education teacher in an urban high-need school in New York City.
’As an ecclesiastical subject matter, the emerging church has received considerable attention over the past decade; yet much of this interest has occurred on popular levels, remaining largely theoretical in scope. Cory Labanow’s study, Evangelicalism and the Emerging Church, stands in contrast to this trend as it attempts to engage emerging church phenomena through the medium of a congregational study in an actual emerging community - employing various ethnographic tools, such as participant observation and in-depth interviews, for data collection. This extensive and detailed investigation into an emerging church community should be engaged and appreciated as a strong contribution to the rapidly increasing field of congregational studies.’ Practical Theology '... Evangelicalism and the Emerging Church would be of interest as a project model for doctoral students in the discipline of practical theology. Second, for both academic and practical ministers interested in the emerging church phenomenon, Labanow's work offers first hand insights into an emerging church in the western world seeking relevance in a contemporary culture. This is a pioneer research of a Wineyard church in the United Kingdom and is worthy of the attention of those interested in ethnographic study of the emerging evangelical church. ' Pneuma 'Evangelicalism and the Emerging Church is a very good example of how to marry together congregational analysis and theological reflection so as to do good quality, potentially transformative, practical theology.' Modern Believing '...Labanow is methodologically self-aware and carefully situates his qualitative and quantitative ethnography in a framework that will be helpful for understanding how this area of study...now differs from that undertaken in the more professional Doctor of Ministry programs...' Religious Studies Review