Based on a description of 7 Layers of the Emergent Conversation by Brian McLaren, the author of this pseudo-parody (get it?) outlined the seven layers below.
Somebody has said…Islam has its five pillars. Buddhism has its eight-fold path. Evangelicalism has its four spiritual laws. And now the Emerging Church has its seven layers of conversation.
[The author] added [his] own titles and used the imaginary “Seeker Community Church” to illustrate each point….
Layer 1: Style – Seeker Community Church realizes they’re ineffective at reaching the coveted 18-32 year old demographic. They send a few staff members to a conference and they come back with goatees and candles.
Layer 2: Evangelism – After trying every facial hair permutation, Seeker Community Church discovers that to actually communicate the gospel to a younger generation they’ve got to learn to speak their language. They hire a former youth pastor to start an evening worship service with an “x” in its name.
Layer 3: Culture – It gradually dawns upon Seeker Community Church that the new challenges they are encountering are not limited to the younger generation. The entire culture is shifting away from the modern presuppositions their church was built upon. Some of the language and practices of the “x” service trickle into the rest of the church.
Layer 4: Mission – The emergence of Postmodernism causes Seeker Community Church to reevaluate the effectiveness of their mission strategy. Altar calls and gospel tracks are left behind in favor of community groups and relationships. Conversion is accepted as a journey and not merely a point of decision.
Layer 5: Church – Seeker Community Church begins to wonder if a multi million-dollar building housing a theatrical production every weekend is the only way to do church. Drawing from new and ancient forms of church, they launch alternative communities—one meets in a bar on Sunday night, and the other is a liturgical gathering. The church also partners with an inner city monastic group to reach street kids.
Layer 6: Gospel – The leadership of Seeker Community Church is stunned when the senior pastor confesses, “I’m not sure I’ve really understood the gospel.” He begins to wonder why Jesus never said God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life? And why Paul never asked anyone to invite Jesus into your heart? He starts to realize that the Good News is much more than he’d ever imagined.
Layer 7: World
– Maybe the mission of the church isn’t simply to become a bigger church? Maybe, like Jesus, the church is to engage the larger world to reveal that the kingdom of God has drawn near? To their amazement, Seeker Community Church discovers significant swaths of the Bible (such as the Pentateuch, prophets, gospels, and epistles) talk about justice, poverty, and compassion. The church begins to speak about social issues and participates in efforts to combat poverty, AIDS, and global injustice.
So, how emergent are you?