Monday, May 17, 2004

question re pxt

Is the term – pxt - pictures on cellphone - just a New Zealand term, or is it appearing in other places in the world?

Posted by steve at 09:59 AM

Sunday, May 16, 2004

broken worship

Text: [So spacious is Jesus, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place without crowding … all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe get properly fixed together in vibrant harmonies. The Message, Colossians 1]

Backlight a cross: Give everyone a broken tile : Invite them to name brokenness – theirs, a friends, the earths : Ask them to place (skilful use of double-sided tape) their broken tile on the backlit cross.

Posted by steve at 10:22 PM

Friday, May 14, 2004



:: the hoiho (yellow-eyed) penguin

Christians must work to create conditions in which human beings and the whole created world live as God intended.
:: NT Wright, Colossians and Philemon, IVP, Leicester, Eedmans, 1986, 80.

Posted by steve at 02:54 PM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Marriage, Civil Union, Omnibus Bill

Did a rant on radio recently about marriage, the Civil Union and Omnibus Bill.

Now I want to stress that these are my personal thoughts. They do not represent any group I work for. And I also want to stress that these are my thoughts in progress. I am still listening, still thinking, still processing. But at this point I like the legislation …
continues under heading of What is marriage; and What is justice


Posted by steve at 09:58 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

contemporary preaching

below are some questions I have as I draft the outline of a course I am putting together on preaching in the postmodern – how to use the Biblical text with integrity in our world. I’d value any feedback …

NB: the course assumes an awareness and competency in expository preaching and is aimed at those who want to explore other approaches that both maintain the integrity of the Biblical text, yet communicate in our postmodern world.

What are the challenges for preaching today?

What place authority in the matrix of text, texts, preacher and community?

What approaches to contemporary preaching have you experienced and appreciated? (My list includes inductive, dialogical, case study, multiple approaches, video sermons, storytelling old and new?)

What wholistic approaches to text have you found useful? (My list includes emotional exegesis, group lectio divino, multi-sensory, creativity workshops)

How can sacred space, including the arts, the visual and the environment shape our environment today?

Posted by steve at 02:34 PM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I taught Ben the NZ idol


Congratulations to Ben Lummis the NZ idol. (For more on this news, go here.)

I taught Ben at Excel School of Performing Arts. Not in anything NZ idol-useful, not in singing or dancing. Only in New and Old Testament. So if you want any gossip on Ben and Ruth, or Ben and Luke … drop me a line!

Posted by steve at 10:26 PM

hot text seat


So if you have a “hot text” slot, you need a hot text chair. Saw a bright red version of this, marketted down, at freedom furniture. Could this appear on Sunday, as a visual way of introducing :hot text?

Posted by steve at 09:56 AM

Sunday, May 09, 2004

hot text

I have been at Opawa Baptist Church 3 months this week. I took the first structured step toward a more communal approach to worship this morning.

I suggested the idea of a regular “hot text” slot, 5 minutes where a community person tells us their favourite Bible verse or song, and how God found them through that text.

This was a deliberate strategy to move toward a more communal voice in our worship, and the telling of God stories in our midst. It was also a missional move, allowing our spirituality to be told.

I passed around sheets of paper, and over 40 people signed up. I now need to find a “safe chair” in which people can sit in, to tell their hot-text God story. Today Opawa took a step toward a new future.

Posted by steve at 09:47 PM

spiritual friends

in Colossians 1, Epaphras is noted as a good friend of the church.

on the way into church this morning, everyone got given a piece of green paper (colour of growth), with a question printed on it “who has been a good spiritual friend for you?”.

at the front of the church we had made people chains – about 180 “people” lined the steps of the stage.

people were invited to write on the paper the name of someone who had been a good spiritual friend. Moby’s Everloving, off the Play album, was on. the kids collected up the pieces of paper and stuck them on the white people chains … it was a neat visual picture, a sea of white people and green friends, over 140 “good spiritual friends” were honoured at Opawa today.

this week I will send thankyou letters to names i recognise, honouring their gifts in our midst.

Posted by steve at 09:40 PM

Saturday, May 08, 2004

visitors and safe space

I am pondering writing some “worship leader guidelines” for how we treat visitors. How do we ensure by the words we say that church is a “safe space” for first timers?

1. Introduce ourselves – “my name is Steve …”
2. Give visitors verbal freedom to just watch – “If you don’t want to participate then just say, “no thanks”” OR “The offering is for those glad of the vision of this church”

additions, deletions, suggestions welcome …

Posted by steve at 02:14 PM

irrelevant worship

I speaking today at a local Pentecostal Bible School. My topic is culturally relevant worship in New Zealand. My headings will include
what is worship
what is relevant worship
EPIC worship (thanx Len)
an exercise in multi-sensory worship

One day I would like to be asked to speak on culturally irrelevant worship in New Zealand.

Posted by steve at 11:33 AM

idle musings on creativity and community

“We need to hear stories. Why should we wait until a funeral and a euology to hear the stories of God in people’s lives?” Comment made last week.

“I am so looking forward to church on Sunday. We never know what is going to happen.” Comment made this week.

Readers of this blog over the last 5 months will know that I have been in transition. I have moved from planting an emerging church, Graceway, to a 93 year old congregation, Opawa Baptist.

My move has been made for many reasons. One is a growing conviction that creativity and spaces to hear the stories of life, and of God in life, stretch across generations. That modernity has robbed all of us, not just younger people, of some important ways of accessing God.

I was getting sick and tired of hearing that participation and creativity only worked in church plants with people under 40. That what I did at Graceway was somehow good for youth, or good outside the mainstream.

I am in very early days at Opawa. We are still in honeymoon. Neverthless, I am constantly surprised at the warmth, excitement and acceptance of creativity and community across a wide spectrum of people.

Posted by steve at 11:27 AM

Thursday, May 06, 2004

filling a hole with the gifts of God

I am trying a new approach to preaching over the next few months.

The situation is that the church’s youth pastor has resigned, leaving a preaching hole in the evening service. The evening service fills a unique place in our church life – the music has a loud, hard edge and it is mostly a younger set.

I have limited time but I didn’t want a string of guest preachers. So I am going to pick up the preaching (meaning I speak 2x a Sunday). And I am trying 2 innovations.

a) a researcher :: the church is paying someone to research my sermons. The researcher (my wife) is paid to read and summarize some background reading for me each week, to surf for images and material and will input some creative ideas into the pot. The dream is to shift this creative input to a “creative team”, but in these early days, modelling is one way to suggest change.

b) digestion :: will become the name of the preaching slot, and digestion will be the aim of the service. (There is a video loop of humans digesting food to introduce the first night). I will preach the same text in the morning and evening. In the evening I will summarise the text (for people who just come in the evenings) and then introduce some participatory interaction. The aim is to not just talk about the text, but to allow us as whole people to engage with the text. Possibilities this week include praying with pastels, and next week building the mosaic of God.

Posted by steve at 10:04 PM

Spirituality of humour

Most of us don’t laugh enough. Most churches don’t laugh enough. A spirituality of humour is in important part of being human.


For those near Auckland, Peter Majendie is one of the funniest people I know and a great storyteller. He is doing 2 shows at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.

A Deaf in the Family
Wed 19th, Fri 21st May, 7:15 pm

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE.

One man stand-up storyteller with a reflective view of life as an 8 year old through the eyes of a 50 year old. Powered by his hearing-aid batteries, Pete’s stories of New Zealand life and culture are tinged by deafness and no small amount of cynicism. (With deaf sign interpreter Friday).“Brilliant … Certainly engaging” – The Christchurch Press.

Posted by steve at 10:03 AM