Words and terminology are tricky stuff, especially in this day and age as new phrases are frequently coined and its difficult to know which one to use or not to use (I know, another alternative is just not to care about all this and use whatever terminology you like… but what’s the fun in that?!). This year we have come to learn that the term “emerging church” no longer is helpful, at least according to TallSkinnyKiwi (I wrote a post about that a while back)… and maybe he’s right. Another term that some people, including myself, feel a bit hesitant to use or at least use a bit reluctantly is “church planting” (have a look at this post).

Nevertheless, there are quite a few other terms around, and some have been around a few decades: missionary congregations, missional church, new ways of being church, emergent church, mission-shaped church, fresh expressions, organic church, house church… not to mention gen-x church, post-modern church, post-whatever-church… (at this point I know there are people who yawns and wonder, “can’t we just simply call is church?” … again, what’s the fun in that, I ask?…).

Well, I came across a post written by Stuart Murray (author of Post-Christendom: Church and mission in a strange new world and Church after Christendom … I highly recommend these books, if you haven’t read them yet). He gives a brief historical perspective to some of these words that we use and put them into context.

Stuart Murray is also involved in a couple of organizations that inspire me, The Anabaptist Network and Urban Expressions, the latter being an “urban mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams pioneering creative and relevant expressions of the Christian church in under-churched areas of the inner city.” Good stuff.

And back to the whole issue of words and terminology… What do you say: which term will be the new buzz word for 2009? Any suggestions?

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