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The Gospel after Christendom

New Voices, New Cultures, New Expressions

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"The broadest and most accessible global survey of emerging missional churches available today. It is filled with good analysis and insights as well as challenges to the imagination."--David Fitch, Northern Seminary
Emerging and missional church movements are an increasingly global phenomenon; they exist as holistic communities that defy dualistic Western forms of church. Until now, many of the voices from these movements have gone unheard. This volume assembles some of the most innovative church leaders from around the world to share candid insider stories about how God is transforming their communities in an entirely new era for the church.

The Gospel after Christendom continues the themes that Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs established formally in their critically acclaimed Emerging Churches and situates new church movements within this rubric. It explores what is happening today in innovative church movements in continental Europe, Asia, and Latin America and in African American hip-hop cultures. Featuring an international cast of contributors, the book explores the changes occurring both in emerging cultures and in emerging and missional churches across the globe. Professors and students in college and seminary courses covering church and mission, contemporary ecclesiology, congregational studies, emerging churches, and missional churches will value this work. 


Introduction  Ryan K. Bolger
I. Peoples
1. Iglesias Emergentes in Latin America  Osias Segura-Guzman
2. Emerging Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand  Steve Taylor
3. Emerging Missional Churches in Australia  Darren Cronshaw
4. New Expressions of Church in Scandinavia  Ruth Skree
5. New Expressions of Church in the Low Countries  Nico-Dirk Van Loo
6. Fresh Expressions of Missional Church in French-Speaking Europe  Blayne Waltrip
7. Emerging Christian Communities in German-Speaking Europe  Peter Aschoff
II. Cultures
8. New Monastic Community in a Time of Environmental Crisis  Ian Mobsby
9. Mission within Hybrid Cultures: Transnationality and the Glocal Church  Oscar Garcia Johnson
10. Distinctly Welcoming: The Church in a Pluralist Culture  Richard J. Sudworth
11. Our P(art) within an Age of Beauty  Troy Bronsink
12. Mission Among Individual Consumers  Stefan Paas
13. Mission in a New Spirituality Culture  Steve Hollinghurst
III. Practices
14. Rethinking Worship as an Emerging Christian Practice  Paul Roberts
15. Formation in the Post-Christendom Era: Exilic Practices and Missional Identity  Dwight J. Friesen
16. Towards a Holistic Process of Transformational Mission  Tobias Faix
17. Leadership as Body and Environment: The Rider and the Horse  MaryKate Morse
IV. Experiments
18. The Underground: The Living Mural of a Hip Hop Church  Ralph C. Watkins
19. Bykirken (The City-Church), Pray and Eat  Andreas Østerlund Nielsen
20. House of Sinners and Saints  Nadia Bolz-Weber
21. L'Autre Rive (the Other Bank or Shore)  Eric Zander
22. With: An Experimental Church  Eileen Suico
23. The Jesus Dojo  Mark Scandrette
24. St. Toms: From Gathered to Scattered  Bob Whitesel
25. Urban Abbey: The Power of Small, Sustainable, Nimble Micro-Communities of Jesus  Kelly Bean
V. Traditions
26. Indigenous and Anglican: A Truly Native Church Emerges in the Anglican Church of Canada  Mark MacDonald
27. Turning the Ocean Liner: The Fresh Expressions Initiative  Graham Cray
28. On the Move: Towards Fresh Expressions of Church in Germany  Markus Weimer
Conclusion  Ryan K. Bolger
Afterword  Eddie Gibbs


"Here's proof that the emerging missional conversation is transcending the traditional ecclesial and cultural boundaries that so often limit the church's ability to speak to itself and have an impact on the world. Featuring voices from Latin America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and North America, The Gospel after Christendom is a compendium of ideas, warnings, inspirations, and suggestions that will move this important conversation forward."

Michael Frost, author of The Road to Missional, coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come, and vice principal, Morling College, Sydney, Australia

"Ryan Bolger's The Gospel after Christendom is the broadest and most accessible global survey of emerging missional churches available today. Reading it encouraged my soul. It is filled with good analysis and insights as well as challenges to the imagination. Between its covers lies a glimpse into the future of the church."

David Fitch, author of The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission and B. R. Lindner Professor of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary

"The Gospel after Christendom is a deluge of lived imagination. It is what the 'church planetary' looks, feels, and acts like now that life as we have known it has been utterly swept away."

Sally Morgenthaler, author of Worship Evangelism

The Author

  1. Ryan K. Bolger

    Ryan K. Bolger

    Ryan K. Bolger (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate professor of church in contemporary culture at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. His research focuses on the emerging and missional church...

    Continue reading about Ryan K. Bolger


"[This is] one of the widest angles to date on what it means to be the church in a post-Christedom context. Bolger succeeds in compiling a mosaic of essays describing how the good news is being embodied among different peoples . . . while addressing six cultural themes. . . . Having each scholar share how they engage in the practices of worship, community, mission, and leadership gives the book continuity and concreteness. By listening to the stories of eight experiments (case studies) . . . the reader is enabled to see, feel, and taste how to be the church within specific contemporary contexts. . . . Having the contributors comment on each others words increases the value of the book, while having sidebar quotes from various works of Eddie Gibbs honors his legacy."

J. R. Woodward,

Religious Studies Review

"The [book's] repetition of themes--integrated relationality, communality, and flattened authority--provides solid ground for understanding the emergence of church in post-Christian contexts. To those who study emerging and missional churches in postmodern, post-Christian contexts, the findings of Bolger's book are not surprising, yet the international, multi-contextual stories demonstrate the global necessity to think differently. . . . One of the more innovative pieces to the book is the dialogical notes of the authors interacting with each other. Some of the included commentaries proved quite helpful to nuance, buttress, or even counter an author's work. . . . Bolger's book is a welcome piece to the development of emerging churches globally. . . . Bolger has been on a path to discover the emerging reaction to its current post-Christian context. This book is a good volume in the study and a good primer from which to launch further study."

Kevin Book-Satterlee,

Englewood Review of Books

"The Gospel after Christendom provides a well-rounded and diversely-voiced look at the new expressions of church in a post-Christendom global environment. This book is appropriate for the professor, denominational/organizational leader, and active practitioner. . . . The beauty of this book is that it gives an excellent overview of the prominent issues for the Church in a post-Christendom world by both discussing the issues and providing pictures of how some new expressions have been developed, adapted, and innovated to those issues. The stories provided here are unique and help move the conversation about practices into some new areas. The book flows remarkably well for the large number and diversity of authors and includes sidebars which extend the conversation across each chapter. . . . The book is an important contribution to those focused on where the Church is going and how it might best get there."

Brian C. Hull,

Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"[This book] provides much food for (theological) thought--no, make that a feast."

Robert J. Doornenbal,

Journal of Reformed Theology

"A few years ago, Bolger gave us what was at the time, without a doubt, the definitive study of emerging churches (Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures). Here, he revisits this important project, offering a glimpse into other places, other voices. . . . This is a very broad survey, and each author is weighing in on topics that are worthy of our consideration. . . . Is this a report from at least a portion of the future of the Church? Absolutely. Bolger is to be commended for this broad anthology. . . . This is essential reading."

Byron Borger,

Hearts & Minds BookNotes blog

"An ambitious attempt to conceptualize, synthesize, and internationalize the Emerging Church Movement (ECM). . . . For those accustomed to thinking of the ECM in terms of its American expressions (with a few token Canadian examples thrown in), The Gospel after Christendom offers welcome perspectives from Latin America, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, French-Speaking Europe, German-Speaking Europe, and the UK. It also reflects Bolger's concern for mission. . . . I recommend the book as a solid introduction to the Emerging Church Movement, one that has an admirable international scope."

Gladys Ganiel,

Building a Church without Walls blog