Monday, June 12, 2006

Iris Ministries -- an excellent guide for the emerging church

Hiedi Baker and her kids

Of all the ministries on earth, NONE have done more to challenge, insipire and delight me than Rolland and Hiedi Baker's Iris Ministries. For those interested in what the emergining church looks like, I encourage you to go to their web site, and read of all the incredible happenings that occur as long as you keep things simple and centered on Jesus.

The emerging church is often criticized for being overly concerned with "experiences." Why that's a bad thing in the eyes of the critics is difficult to explain, but a short, blunt answer is that they fear emotionalism. And "experiences" lead to emotionalism.

One look at the picture posted here, and you can certainly see the emotionalism displayed on the faces of Heidi and her kids! Why, it kind of looks like joy...

Looking at the different web sites of the various "leaders" of the emerging church, I sometimes notice a sort of elitiest, intellectual bent. There is a lot of concern about post-modernism, engaging the culture, networking, and all that sort of nonsense.

While all that is good and fine, and makes for interesting press copy, the simple truth is that the emerging church had best keep things very simple, and very authentic. Iris Ministires and their work in Africa is an excellent example of what I'm getting at.

When I first started reading the gospel for myself, I did not need a theological dictionary and a history of philosophy to know what Jesus was communicating. He used incredibly plain language, and used it very powerfully to create simple images that even people 2,000 years later can relate to in a very personal way. Not one iota of theological mumble-jumble in Jesus' approach....some riddles yes, but even those are not difficult to decipher as long as you have the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Again, the emerging church needs to learn the lessons that Iris Ministries demonstrates so well in their work in Africa: keep it simple, and keep it real. What more could you want?

(Check out the Iris Ministries BLOG!)


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