Emerging-Missional worship is reflective of the movement’s dedication to relationship built upon open and honest conversation. This is a different sort of expression, to say the least. Worship, throughout most of modernity, and ages prior, has been more reflective of a conscious and deliberate construction of relationship around celebrated doctrine, correct or otherwise. Modernity’s relational construct focused almost entirely upon correct belief; this focus was subsequently applied to relationships shared between individuals within the community, and relationships shared between those individuals and God (individually and cumulatively ala sacred community). This left virtually no room for honest exploration or discovery.
The cumulative ecclesial effect and methodological difference between the two approaches is huge â€“ enormous. Yes, both are dedicated to doctrine, but one approach chooses not to prioritize doctrine to the extent that it actually becomes a blanket monstrosity that covers, envelopes and suffocates everything, including potential relationships with people who do not even know who Jesus Christ is, much less fancied and recorded proper Christian doctrine and belief regarding his Person, Work and Church.
The Body of Christ has suffered dearly as a result of the misapplication of an otherwise edifying and necessary aspect of holistic Christian faith and practice. Hear this: doctrine is not only edifying, but also very, very necessary. A Christian expression lacking a clear and sturdy doctrinal foundation is nothing more than a glorified sandbar, built up by a fickle cultural current, that merely sits there, shifty and stylized in glory, but slowly sinking. Doctrine â€“ Biblical doctrine â€“ is very, very important. It should not, however, be the overriding priority of our Christian faith and practice. It should not be a holy veto to the Christ ordained act of engaging the world and living in authentic relationship with others! It should not stifle community! It should not void the relational adventure with God! Said another way, doctrine is the “why we do what we do as Christians,” not the “how we do it.” When this statement is properly de-convoluted, grasped, and put on the ground in real-time and in tangible forms, missional potential and mind open up and bloom as never before because the missional-minded no longer feel limited by doctrine but empowered by it! Yes, the vehicle can change, and drastically so, but the message remains the same. This may sound simple, but it is beyond profound, and very difficult to live in real-time because more than a few modernâ€“leaning aficionados and institutions frown grossly upon it, and with vengeance too! Still, the Emerging-Missional expression is breaking through in worship (i.e., all that we do as Christians), and the celebration sounds are really beginning to rise above the distracting din of modernity’s tired, discordant, and misapplied dedications.