Imago Dei Community and Thoughts on the Emerging Church

Yesterday I went to Imago Dei Community with Rose and some friends. It was the first time I had been there in over 3 years. I rarely get a chance to visit another church, so it was quite a treat to see how Imago “does” church during the Christmas season (you can listen to Rick McKinley’s message on the incarnation, specific revelation, and being a neighbor here).

Imago is located in the heart of East Portland is a known as a haven for many “young people” of east Portland. They are also a founding church behind Advent Conspiracy, which most churches are a part of in some way now, and one of the more well known “emerging” churches if you still refer to churches as such.

Here are some of my observations:

  • They meet in an old high school’s auditorium. It was around 32* all day in Portland, and the auditorium wasn’t much warmer. Most people were in coats the entire time. I guess the heat was on, but the place is too drafty. Kind of adds to the ambiance in some way though.
  • They haven’t re-invented the wheel. They still do music, they still pray, they still do the usual 30 to 40 minute sermon/message, and they still do announcements.
  • They don’t do loud music, they don’t do brand new music, they don’t have bright lights on the stage/dimmed lights on the crowd…and yet “young people” (use as you see fit) still flock to this church.
  • Rick McKinley is a great leader. He doesn’t have an overwhelming presence or speak with a ton of fervor, but he speaks with vision and purpose. I even felt this during the announcements he gave. They were all connected to the bigger story of Imago as a whole, and the Gospel story.
  • Loved this from Rick: “The specific revelation of God in Jesus becomes the specific revelation of God through us.”
  • I’m all for having style on the stage, but the white dog next to the bass player is just weird (look closely at the picture above). You too can buy the same thing at your local Urban Outfitter. That’s lame.
  • I appreciate their desire to be relevant to the culture around them in their own way, and yet faithful to the tradition of the Christian faith. This is not an easy path to walk and it is one that challenges me greatly. But, I felt they walked that path with excellence.
  • In many ways the emerging church type movement is a combination of many other church moments. It has roots in seeker sensitive, liturgical, and charismatic worship movements and seems to combine those in various ways. Emerging churches might be able to reach more people than the churches who find themselves rooted in one of those other movements because of this.

When was the last time you visited another church?