07 Organizational: Emergent Movement Timeline

On This Page:

  • Key Dates, Events, and News Related to the Emergent Incorporated 501(c)3 and the Wider “Emergent Movement”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Key Dates, Events, and News Related to

the Emergent Incorporated 501(c)3

and the Wider “Emergent Movement”

The following timeline includes key information related to official activities of Emergent Incorporated, as well as major news items about Emergent Village and the “Emergent movement.” [Please note, Emergent is not the same as emerging.]

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


“Emergent Incorporated” was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2001, with Employer Identification Number EIN 62-1530002.

It apparently took over the structure of a pre-existing non-profit – Isaiah 40:31 Foundation, Inc., in Dallas, TX – whose IRS Ruling Letter was issued in October 1993. Other places indicate the IRS ruling date as 2003, so perhaps it started out under the auspices of another organization, and then filed on its own.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


*     *     *     *     *     *     *


*     *     *     *     *     *     *


An official name change from Isaiah 40:31 Foundation, Inc., to Emergent Incorporated first shows up on IRS Form 990 for Fiscal Year 2004.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


The IRS Form 990 for Fiscal Year 2005 shows a filing address change to Minneapolis, MN.

In 2005, Emergent Village hires Tony Jones as its National Coordinator (2005-2008).

Emergent Village holds its first theological conference.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Many books from eventual Emergent-friendly authors get published. Publishing houses of all types seemed to be getting on board with emerging and Emergent, creating a trend and also putting significant levels of funding into publicity for these books. This included a number of national book promotional tours. It seemed only the earliest of these did relatively well in terms of attendance and sales, so that part of the trend lasted barely a few years. Nevertheless, the mid-2000 decade was a heady time for Emergent authors.

Publishing houses that published authors who would be considered within the Emergent theological and methodological framework included: Abingdon Press, Baker Academic, Baker Books, Chalice Press, HarperCollins, HarperOne, Howard Books, InterVarsity Press, Jericho Books, Jossey-Bass, NavPress, Paraclete Press, Pinon Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Tarcher, Thomas Nelson, WaterBrook Press, Youth Specialties, and Zondervan. Also, a number of authors began self-publishing or having the non-profit ministry they were associated with publish their books. Later in the 2000 decade, eBook formats became more accessible and popular, and so e-books more frequent, especially for shorter works and essays.

This authorship and publication trend extended to several circles within the wider Emergent movement. These included men and women who served on Emergent Village’s Board of Directors and/or Village Council. Others would be considered friends of the movement. Some originally came from more evangelical backgrounds, others from mainline denominations. Some people may only have had one book published; others more well known like Brian McLaren have had 10 to 20 books published that they authored or edited.

Authors include: Jay Bakker, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Diana Butler Bass, Ivy Beckwith, Melvin Bray, Troy Bronsink, Julie Clawson, Dwight Friesen, Tony Jones, Heather Kirk-Davidoff, Tim Keel, Brian McLaren, Joe Myers, Mark Oestreicher, Doug Pagitt, Peter Rollins, Mark Scandrette, Chris Seay, Danielle Shroyer, Tom Sine, Mike Stavlund, and Phyllis Tickle. Quite a few of these authors will end up with the Daniel Literary Group, which began early in 2007.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Baker Books inaugurates its Emergent Village Resources series (2007-2011). The official name of the series was: ēmersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith. This was probably the most extensive single-publisher project that landed squarely within an emerging/Emergent target audience. It encompassed 12 titles in those five years. Many were printed in both hardcover and paperback editions, and almost all titles in the project have eBook editions available. Authors/editors included: Ash Barker, Ivy Beckwith, Kester Brewin, Jason Clark, Tim Conder, Kevin Corcoran, Dwight Friesen, Tony Jones, Tim Keel, Scot McKnight, Brian McLaren, Joseph Myers, Elisa Padilla, Doug Pagitt, Daniel Rhodes, Peter Rollins, Will and Lisa Samson, Ashley Bunting Seeber, and Phyllis Tickle

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


The last Form 990 or Form 990-EZ on record as having been filed was in 2008. (A type of Form 990 is required when total revenue is $25,000 or over. So the lack of a Form 990 on record either means low income, dormancy, or folding of the non-profit.)

The Emergent Village website page on Board of Directors notes that Board members currently serve a three-year term.

February through May 2008 was Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change Tour.

June 13 through August 4, 2008, was The Church Basement Roadshow. This was the first JoPa event, and it featured Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Mark Scandrette. All three had books out within a month or so when that event started. The tour had an intense schedule, with 32 stops during that period – typically about 10 in each of three US regions, with one or two weeks off in between regions.

  • June 13-24, 2008 – “West Coast” Tour Dates.
  • July 11-20, 2008 – “Heartland” Tour Dates.
  • July 25 – August 4, 2008 – “East Coast” Tour Dates.

October 30, 2008. A Letter From the Board to Friends of Emergent Village. This 2,500-word letter overviews results of a survey conducted among friends of Emergent Village. The survey offered four different scenarios of the organization’s future, and shared four decisions made in light of the survey results. Excerpts and analysis from Brother Maynard. Quote:

Out of their priorities emerged four decisions, (1) to discontinue the role of the national director (Tony Jones), (2) to increase the role of the website (which increases the role of Steve Knight), (3) to decentralize, and (4) to reconfigure the board in 2009. That’s a lot of sweeping change, but it’s noteworthy that it came about as a result of having achieved their original goals in forming the network.

October 31, 2008. According to an October 30, 2008, Theoblogy post by Tony Jones, entitled Changes, officially the final day of his position as National Coordinator for Emergent Village was the next day: October 31, 2008.

November 1, 2008. Press release: After an 18-month period of consideration, Emergent Village Makes Significant Changes in Structure. Quote: “Emergent Village today announced a major change in structure that will position it less like a traditional non-profit organization and more like a social networking organization.” Partial copy of the press release from Apprising Ministries.

December 2008. JoPa EventThe Great Emergence.

December 18, 2008. An article by Brandon O’Brien appears on Christianity Today’s website: Emergent’s Divergence: Leaders hope decentralizing power will revitalize the movement. Quote:

As one-time leaders of the emergent movement have recently distanced themselves from the term, the network itself dropped its organizational leader. The decision of Emergent Village’s board of directors to eliminate its national coordinator position marked the latest sign that the movement is either decentralizing or disintegrating.

Board members said they eliminated Tony Jones’s position October 31 in order to reclaim the Village’s founding purpose as an “egalitarian social-networking organization.”

[…] Christianity Today has a special section on the emergence of the emergent.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


April 2009. Apparently, sometime in about March of 2009, the old board of Emergent Village was disbanded. Also, a gathering referred to as “EVDC09” was announced as forthcoming on April 24-26. Approximately 20 Emergent leaders old and new, would gather to figure out the future of Emergent Village, with Pamela Wilhelms and Dwight Friesen facilitating. According to another Emergent Village blog post with additional information, 23 attended and another 9 were invited but unable to attend.

Attenders: Kelly Bean, Melvin Bray*, Troy Bronsink*, Randy Buist, Brittian Bullock, Julie Clawson*, Makeesha Fisher, Dwight Friesen*, Tim Hartman, Jon Irvine, Wendy Johnson, Steve Knight, Amy Moffitt, Sarah Notton, David Ramos, Eliacin Rosario-Cruz*, Laci Scott, Danielle Shroyer*, Anthony Smith, Tim Snyder, Paul Soupiset, Mike Stavlund, Michael Toy, and Pam Wilhelms. [*These six attendees, along with Laura Fregin, constituted the first Village Council/Board of Directors in 2009.]

Other Invitees: Ray Aldred, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Tripp Fuller, Lilly Lewin , Damien O’Farrell, Liz Rios, Will Samson, Nanette Sawyer, Efrem Smith, Richard Twiss, and Randy Woodley.

This blog post at Emerging Women offered details of the meeting, plus links to other posts: Makeesha Fisher, Part 1a. Tim Snyder. Julie Clawson. Sarah Notton. Amy Moffit. Mike Stavlund. Michael Toy. Troy Bronsink. Brittain Bullock. Kelly Bean. Mike Stavlund.

May 2009. Despite Emergent Village’s commitment to a “flat” leadership structure, to maintain its IRS non-profit status still required having a functioning board of directors (e.g., regularly scheduled board meetings, published minutes, etc.). Coming out of the EVDC09 meeting, a Village Council was formed in May 2009 to oversee coordinating committees on arts, cohorts, communications, and events. According to an Emergent Village website Leadership FAQ, the Village Council also served as the Board of Directors for the EV non-profit.

June 5, 2009. Tony Jones posted So, You’re Disappointed with Emergent …

June 7, 2009. Tony Jones posted Death of Emergent Round-Up.

August 2009 – February 2010. The divorce of Tony Jones from his then-wife Julie was finalized November 16, 2009. Before that, however, Julie started using social media to challenge the seeming hypocrisy and lack of conscience by him in particular and Emergent in general at his apparent infidelity. Her early attempts were met with public silence or deflection by Tony, and aggressive defense from his avid supporters. About a dozen blogs engaged in fast-paced threads where a few deleted Julie’s comments (whether posted with pseudonym or actual name), and a few others refused to delete or edit comments from her, her supporters, Tony, or his supporters. But additional behind-the-scenes pressure was put on some bloggers to convince them there was no affair, to delete Julie’s comments, and to stay out of Tony’s private life.

Some of the bloggers involved in this “social media eruption” got drawn in, even if they hadn’t meant to be, simply for posting something about Emergent and then their blog becoming a battleground for the opposite factions. Others were responding intentionally to the situation at hand, taking to task Tony Jones and his supporters. Regardless of the reasons for involvement, the key bloggers involved were: Josh Brown (iamjoshbrown), Ken Cook (neothoughtsofken), Phil Johnson (teampyro), Andrew Jones (tallskinnykiwi), Tony Jones (tonyjones – on beliefnet; and tonyj), Bill Kinnon (kinnon.tv), Reformata blog, Remonstrans blog, Ken Silva (apprising), Matt Stone (mattstone), and Brother Maynard/Brent Toderash (subversiveinfluence). For blog post titles and links, see the page on Social Media 2009-2010 – Exposure of the Personal Issues.

Several additional blogs were posting about related isses at that same time, which may have been sparked in part by the controversy. For instance, Jamie Howison (stbenedictstable) posted about sexual misconduct and clergy, and Scot McKnight posted a series on marriage and divorce (jesuscreed).

October 2009. JoPa EventChristianity21. See also this JoPa Group site: Christianity21.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Pete Rollins holds his Insurrection Tour.

Dan Kimball and Scot McKnight start new post-emerging network – The Origins Project – with a planning meeting in January 2010. It launched in July 2010. This is included here as a contrast; a number of leaders of this new network might still have considered themselves with the “emerging” framework at that point, or post-evangelical or missions, but didn’t feel a fit with Emergent.

September 2010. JoPa EventsFirstThird and Big Tent Christianity.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Dr. David Fitch and others work toward what will become Missio Alliance, with its first national event eventually held in April 2013. Many of the leaders of this network don’t fit with Emergent, and not quite with The Origins Project either, which was launched in 2010. They are more missional in their primary outlook.

June 15, 2011. Patheos Launches Progressive Christian Portal. It is very Emergent heavy.

June 23-26, 2011. First Wild Goose Festival. Tony Jones in charge of speakers.

November 23, 2011. Emergent Village’s “The Voice” blog switched over to Patheos – Emergent Village Voice – with an inaugural post from Andrew Jones: Growing Café Churches Singapore Style. A blurb on the blog says:

Welcome to the Emergent Village Voice.

This blog is an experiment. We are seeking to include as many voices as are willing to join together and tell stories, create ideas, and generate friendships that will compel us to the future.

You will hear from Christians and Jews; denominationalists and free-range spiritualists; conservatives and liberals; the faith-filled and the faith-hesitant.

We are a collective of people who are not only concerned about the “right and left” but now and the future. Emergent Village is a community that wants to make something together. We invite you to join us.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


May 2012. JoPa EventsFunding the Missional Church and Church Planters Academy, May 2012. See also this JoPa site: Church Planters Academy.

Autumn 2012. Jericho Books launches as an imprint of Hatchette Book Group. This publisher will feature a number of authors associated with Emergent Village and/or the wider Emergent movement.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


January 2013. JoPa EventEmergence Christianity: A National Gathering with Phyllis Tickle and Friends. See also: Phyllis Tickle Emergence Christianity book launch in Memphis.

August 2013. JoPa EventChurch Planters Academy, August 2013. See also this site: Church Planters Academy.

August 2013. The official Leadership for Emergent Village does not seem to be listed anywhere obvious, and a brief skimming of the website FAQs and other probable pages (such as the Contribute page) showed no signs of Emergent Village holding non-profit status any longer.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


This is a year of transition, and the Emergent Village website goes defunct sometime before the middle of the year. How Emergent Village intended to function from there was unknown – perhaps decentralized even more and taking on other forms or hybrids.

February 23, 2014. Steve Knight posts Emergent Village Is NOT Dead. It’s Just Different Now …

March 19, 2014. The last WayBack Machine capture of the Emergent Village website.

March 31, 2014. The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity, by Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel (Oxford University Press) is released. This book repeats the false meme of Andrew Jones apparently attempting to bring down Emergent/emerging/emergence – and/or succeeding. Andrew Jones responds to correct the record with a TallSkinnyKiwi blog post, Emergent Dust Storm, on June 24, 2014.

July 2014. There is still a Emergent Village Facebook page (with 3,668 “likes” as of July 5, 2014).

September 5 through December 15, 2014. David Hayward posted a cartoon and critique of Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology? on his NakedPastor blog. This thread turned out to draw an epic 1,000+ comments in those 14 weeks. Julie McMahon, ex-wife of Tony Jones, about 10% of all the comments the first month, and shared bits and pieces of her experiences of alleged emotional, spiritual, financial, legal, and physical abuse from Tony. She challenged Tony and his “commender” supporters to apologize for their behaviors during the time of the Jones’ divorce and after, including if they had contributed to spreading “gaslighting” gossip that she was “batshit crazy.” (See this post on the misuse of descriptions or diagnoses of “mental illness” in order to pressure people into silence and/or isolate others from them.)

David Hayward welcomed Julie’s continued sharing of her story. He refused to censor or censure her. He also refused to succumb to requests or demands that he delete comments or the entire post – and he reportedly received a number of behind-the-scenes messages asking him to do just that. One result was that the bulk of Julie’s story appears in that thread, albeit in fragmented form where most “chunks” of information relate to specific points brought up by others in comments, or from messages she received. Another result was that the system of friendships and partnerships connected with Tony Jones was exposed to serious public scrutiny. That theme would continue early the next year with the announcement in January 2015 of the forthcoming WX15 event, facilitated by The JoPa Group.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


January 13, 2015. Announcement of forthcoming WX15/Why Christian? event, September 18-20, 2015. This venue, which features 11 women presenters, will be coordinated by The JoPa Group and curated by Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber. The home page states: “Why, in the wake of centuries of corruption, hypocrisy, crusades, televangelists, and puppet ministries do we continue to follow Jesus? Join us for three days of courageous storytelling to answer just this question.” The announcement set off a firestorm of protests and challenges. Both curators and many speakers frequently address issues of violence and abuse, especially toward women, yet the event is being facilitated through The JoPa Group, and there are long-standing allegations of both violence and abuse still unresolved and hanging over Tony Jones in his treatment of his ex-wife, Julie McMahon.

January 22-24, 2015. JoPa Event – Christianity21 Phoenix.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *