The Emerging Church Movement: A Sociological Assessment

Gladys Ganiel, Gerardo Marti

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    With so many voices, groups, and organizations participating in the Emerging Church Movement (ECM), few are willing to “define” it, though authors have offered various definitions. Emerging Christians themselves do not offer systematic or coherent definitions, which contributes to frustration in isolating it as a coherent group – especially for sociologists who strive to define and categorize. In presenting our understanding of this movement, we categorize Emerging Christianity as an orientation rather than an identity, and focus on the diverse practices within what we describe as “pluralist congregations” (often called “gatherings,” “collectives” or “communities” by Emerging Christians themselves). This leads us to define the ECM as a creative, entrepreneurial religious movement that strives to achieve social legitimacy and spiritual vitality by actively disassociating from its roots in conservative, evangelical Christianity. Our findings are extensively developed in The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity (Marti and Ganiel 2014).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-112
    Number of pages8
    JournalCurrents in Theology and Mission
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Emerging Church


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