Emergent's growing influence has been surprising of late, even to those of us who have been hanging around this conversation for years. The requests for co-sponsored events, publishing partnerships, new networks, media requests and even the flood of emails from the website have been overwhelming to a volunteer organization.
Those of us who gathered last week in Northern Minnesota realized that we are facing an important moment: the Emergent conversation is gathering steam, and we need to continue to grow organizationally so we can respond well to the momentum. Thus, most of our conversation was around how can we structure orselves so as to allow the many individuals who are already contributing to Emergent at various levels better opportunities for engagement and connection. To that end, we've decided to redouble our efforts at connection: we're expanding the Coordinating Group, expanding and strengthening the Board of Directors, and developing a Board of Reference. We're also working on plans to partner with individual contributors, church partners, and organizational affiliates. All of these plans will be laid out more fully in Emergent/C's over the summer. But our first announcement comes in the form of the following press release:
Emergent Appoints Tony Jones As First National Director
Minneapolis, MN. June 8, 2005 – Emergent today announced the appointment of Tony Jones as its first National Director. The group, which describes itself as “a growing, generative friendship,” has been increasing in both size and positive influence within the North American Church and, increasingly, the Church around the globe. Jones said, “I wholeheartedly believe Emergent will play a catalytic and generative role in the life of the American Church for years to come.” The appointment of Jones is recognition of the need for coordination of the vast volunteer efforts of Emergent. Jones's role will become progressively more full-time. He will commence this role October 1, 2005 and move completely into the role by June 1, 2006.
Emergent began as a movement of those seeking to understand what the Christian Church should look like in our time. Birthed by church practitioners first as the Young Leaders Network and then as the Terra Nova Project, Emergent has grown to embody a large segment of the American Church. A recent event on the issues of liturgy and worship brought in people from across denominations and sects of the American Church, including the Roman Catholic Church, the evangelical church, mainline Protestantism and Greek orthodoxy.
Brian McLaren, Chair of the Emergent Board of Directors and well-known author, expressed enthusiasm about the appointment: “We’re thrilled that Emergent has come to this important new chapter in our development, and equally thrilled that Tony has agreed to take on this new role.” Named by Time magazine as one of the top 25 Evangelicals in America, McLaren sees this appointment as essential for Emergent’s continued growth, “Tony Jones brings pastoral, organizational, theological, and personal skills that will help us continue to excel, not only in our core mission, but also as an organization that is receiving more and more public attention.”
Tony Jones, 37, has been involved with Emergent since its inception. ”Over these past seven years,” Jones said, “Emergent has become my spiritual and theological home.” He holds a Bachelors degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH and an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Jones served as the Executive Director of YouthWorks! Missions (1993-1997) and was a pastor in Minnesota for the better part of a decade (1997-2003). He is currently a Doctoral Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and a sought after speaker on the issues of postmodernism and the emerging church. Jones is the author of five books including Postmodern Youth Ministry and The Sacred Way. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Julie, and three young children.
ABOUT EMERGENT: Emergent gathers reflective practitioners and engaged scholars for conversation and missional action around the issues of Christian theology, practice, spirituality, justice, and church life. The network, developed in the 1990s, includes a wide range of Christian leaders from progressive evangelical, mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic backgrounds.
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