- Postmodern era is really a time of profound change. It has been said that many leaders are finding it hard to engage postmodern culture because they have not understood the concept or the opportunities that it presents. Others have confused postmodernity as an intellectual movement and postmodern culture with its particular value set, like tolerance and moral relativity, and then tossed out the baby with the bathwater - although this is true to a certain extent, I know there are kingdom minded leaders (both in emerging church and in established church), who are making great efforts to engage the postmodern culture.
- This chaotic and uncertain process leads to a neglect to re-evaluate one of the critical pieces in discovering new forms: leadership. While it is critical that we hold on to biblical values and purpose (function) it is equally important that we don't idolize the old forms. Forms change, the message remains the same - I agree that the old forms shouldn't be idolized. Although the gospel is always the same, the ways to share / express / preach it (forms) can change. In fact, I believe that the gospel has to be contextualised in the postmodern era in order to be relevant.
- If we view the kingdom as transforming culture (a process that will only find its full expression and completion with the return of Jesus), then we are not only free to explore culturally relevant ways of expressing our faith, we are actually compelled to continually re-evaluate, re-imagine, and re-tell our story in ways that our listeners can understand and embrace - The kingdom is here but not yet, but it is certainly transformative, so I agree that we should explore culturally relevant ways of expressing our faith. Hence re-evaluation, re-imagination and re-telling stories should be encouraged. This is a time when the need for, and relevance of, the gospel has seldom been great, but the relevance of the Church in the West has seldom been less.
- When cultures collide, as modernity and postmodernity are currently doing, those who find themselves caught in the collision can feel that their world no longer makes sense. Old paradigms collapse, and the frame of meaning is lost. Those who are meaning makers tend to be listeners and observers, and they join the process of communal searching and learn to ride the shock waves. They contextualize meaning and discover a new way of making sense of the new world. They arrive at a liminal place—a place between the two cultures where new possibilities arise - I certainly find myself amongst those who feel that the old and new paradigms of modernity and postmodernity confusing. I long to be one of the listeners and observers in order to arrive at a liminal place. The current credibility gap has made it hard to communicate the gospel with clarity and authenticity. Paradoxically, this is the case even though it is currently a time of almost unprecedented openness to the issues of God. At the moment, I am in between two worlds.
- The challenge is clear: to effectively engage our culture while maintaining our biblical identity as the people of God, a people (community) on a journey. Our failure to do this, and to explore new ways of faithfully expressing the biblical call to discipleship (in both edification and evangelism as missional communities), will result in our becoming increasingly marginalized and irrelevant - I am committed to engaging our culture and exploring ways to discipleship in this postmodern era.
- The role of leadership, as always, is critical. But the word no longer carries the meaning it once had. We need new metaphors, and we need to recognize the communal context of leadership and get beyond the confused entanglement of leadership and authority - This is hard, but essential I think.
- we confront two critical challenges: how to address deep problems for which hierarchical leadership alone is insufficient and how to harness the intelligence and spirit of people at all levels of an organization to continually build and share knowledge. Our responses may lead us, ironically, to a future based on more ancient—and more natural—ways of organizing: communities of diverse and effective leaders who empower their organizations to learn with head, heart, and hand - I believe the inability to confront these two critical challenges are what cause the division between established mainstream church and emerging church in the Body of Christ. I agree that building and sharing knowledge is absolutely important, so is learning with head, heart, and hand.
Finally I am also keen to know how can the emerging church in a postmodern context learn from Paul about the establishment and growth of new faith communities. If you have any ideas, please feel free to drop me a comment or two.