As we enter the 21st century, a vital new expression of Christianity is growing in the United States and worldwide. This movement even has a name. It is called "the Emergent Church."
This movement expresses what I call "progressive evangelicalism," because it emphasizes traditional evangelical beliefs - affirming the doctrines of the Apostle's Creed, a high view of Scripture and the importance of a personal transforming relationship with a resurrected Christ - yet rejects the structures and styles of institutionalized Christianity.
The Emergent Church turns away from spending money on buildings. Instead, most congregations meet as "house churches" or gather in makeshift storefronts and warehouses.
Tony goes on to offer a great synopsis of the heart of what God is doing in this movement:
Emergent churches espouse a decentralized grassroots form of Christianity that rejects the hierarchal systems of denominational churches. Each emergent congregation makes its own decisions by consensus.
Leadership is fluid, with all members sharing authority and participating in the mission of the church. Task forces are assembled to undertake such specific programs as feeding the homeless, establishing a partnership with a Third World church, developing an after-school tutoring program for disadvantaged children or organizing people in a poor neighborhood to solve pressing social problems.
The missionary programs of such congregations are committed to direct involvement with those they decide to serve. These churches want little to do with bureaucratic organizations with professional administrators. Members of these congregations want to be involved personally with those in need. They want to know the names and faces of the people they serve.
Emergent congregations must not be confused with those nondenominational mega-churches that seem to be popping up increasingly in communities across the nation. In fact, the two are markedly different. Emergent churches often express a disdain for the "contemporary-worship music" heard in many mega-churches.
The worship in emergent churches often includes classical music, and such congregations often follow a more formal liturgical style that may even incorporate such ancient forms of praying as that of monastic orders. The people who join emergent congregations are often folks who have tired of what goes on in churches that have "contemporary services."
Tony goes on to describe a "postmodern mindset" that includes some agendas that are not necessarily shared by all... But, nevertheless, his article is excellent and you can read the entire article here.