Monday, January 31, 2005

jet lagged among the emerging church

The first (and last) time I spoke in the US, I was heading up a flight of stairs to a seminar room. I was tired. I was jet lagged. I was withdrawn.

This young emergent guy was walking behind me. He began “paying me out,” muttering under his breath, just loud enough for me to hear – hurry up, haven’t got all day – come on.

I suddenly realised,in my tired funk, he was talking to me. I turned to look at him and the young emergent, cast me a disdainful look and surged past, beret cool. It is a memory I still carry with me, that awareness of being fragile, alone and an outsider in a very different space.

Posted by steve at 11:04 AM

Sunday, January 30, 2005

are supermarkets emerging church

I read this quote recently; Recently I spoke to an architect at a local firm who works exclusively on churches. He’s designed two megachurches in the metropolitan area, and told me that certain elements are commonly used to make megachurches look and feel like shopping malls. Like any successful business, location, convenience and service are key. Article here

And my skins crawls. I hate the way that church is linked with supermarket and convenience and money.

Hang on though, I often preach about the need for the church to be closer to the culture. And emerging church is meant to embrace postmodern culture. Supermarkets are part of postmodern culture. So, why are some parts of the culture OK, and others not?

Steve the puzzled emergent

Posted by steve at 03:46 PM

Friday, January 28, 2005

spirituality and film web resources

Posted by steve at 05:54 PM

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Spirituality and film

At the movies we cry and laugh and see ourselves culturally. In 2004 the Academy laid out the red carpet of welcome to the New Zealand film industry, through films such as Whale Rider and Lord of the Rings. In 2004 we saw the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion.

What was the impact? What other ways might Christians connect with film? In Acts 17, Paul stands in Athens and cites contemporary poets. If Paul wanted to connect with contemporary culture today, might he start with the latest blockbuster? How would he watch movies and think on what is true, noble, pure?

The BCNZ course Spirituality and film takes the movies that make us laugh and cry, and, with eyes wide open, chases a “reel” Christian spirituality.

Wednesday evenings, semester 1, 2005.

Posted by steve at 04:51 PM

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Original Out of Bounds church

Surrounded by a 10ft chain fence, a locked gate and “out of bounds” notices the church opens for just one service a year. The vicar is fed up with the time it involves and the local parishes want rid of the burden of maintaining it.

The Church of St. Giles is the parish church for the ghost town of Imber, an isolated village on Salisbury plain was requisitioned by the War Office a week before Christmas 1943, and the area made permanently out of bounds to the public.

For more

Posted by steve at 03:55 PM

Fuller schedule: Tuesday, February 1

10:00 – meet with a group of students for a discussion on the
emerging church, organized by Ryan Bolger. ( 1 hour, I believe)

1-2:45 – meet with Doug and the faculty of the SIS for their
regular Faculty Lunch/discussion time.

3-6:00 – invited by Eddie Gibbs to join his class on the emerging

Posted by steve at 03:45 PM

The unveiling of a new book

(My book, the out of bounds church? learning to create communities of faith in a culture of change goes from the printer to Zondervan HQ for the start of distribution today.)

Today feels like the first time I was naked with my wife; very exciting, but a high level of performance anxiety.

Posted by steve at 02:57 PM

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Emergent tribes

Preparation for the San Diego -U.S.-trip

If I were to sketch a range of distinct emergent tribes, I would note …

Evangelicalism with a navel piercing – This tribe gathers to sing and preach. The theology seems familiar, even when done with candles, a trendy piercing, loud bass beat or bleached hair.

Art collective – tends to be visible monthly, around highly creative worship. The use of video, contemporary music and hip graphics ensure a service of the cool. Followed by the requisite pub visit.

Nu monastic – a recent innovation. It needs a place, whether café, tea rooms, free wi-fi or art gallery. From an incarnational location, emerges a life that embraces regular prayer ritual, committed relationships and creativity. Can be very expensive.

House church – very difficult to see publicly. More often found in a lounge, over food, desperately seeking community. Structure and leadership are dirty words that are replaced by vulnerability, relationship and the Kingdom of God.

What tribes, what detail, am I missing?

Posted by steve at 10:13 PM

Monday, January 24, 2005

Planting native trees

We inducted a developmentpastor, Jason King, on Sunday. We then gave the new Opawa concrete slab and brick barbeque a test run in its role as community builder in our midst. An excellent, excellent day.

The new development pastor, as part of the induction, gave the church a tree, a New Zealand native, which he then planted in the church garden beside the barbeque.

A symbol
… of the desire to be planted native with us
… of the need to be watered and tendered, especially in the transplant stage
… of the desire to provide shelter and shade in response to being cared for

I thought it a superb symbol of pastor-in-community.

Posted by steve at 08:54 PM

Sunday, January 23, 2005

bloggers in the flesh

the great unveiling will occur.

Bob the Corner Carlton is organising that moment, when bloggers will step,
from behind their screens,
and become en-fleshed

this naked ritual will occur at the emergent convention bloggers’ forum – lunchtime Thursday (2/3).

drop a comment to Bob at if you are personally willing to participate,
to appear un-virtually-veiled,

Posted by steve at 02:37 AM

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Dan says

-change is harder than creation

-what’s church in a society that no longer has a Protestant guilt about not going to church?

-we’re connecting with people to call them to a new way of being

soundbites from Dan@signposts

Posted by steve at 10:23 PM

Friday, January 21, 2005

enjoying having phil and dan, signpost bloggers with us. we flew them over from melbourne to help us as opawa church leadership process some issues around change and multiplicity in mission.

Posted by steve at 10:47 PM

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

what are the theological models that guide chaplaincy? Steve Taylor will lead a workshopping seminar to identify one’s theology of chaplaincy, reflect on one’s theological bottom lines and how to walk with others of different faiths and persuasions.

beyond religious trappings – Chaplaincy course. Wednesday, 6th April, 4 hours, Community of sacred name, Christchurch.

Posted by steve at 03:22 PM

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Centres and margins

Last year I began in ministry at Opawa Baptist Church. Called as change agent, it was in many ways a surprising move, both for me and for the church. It was a very stretching, but a hugely exciting year.

Looking back, it felt like some sort of move from margin to centre. (Not totally, but that is for another post). My first 9 years of ministry were planting an emerging church. It was lonely. There were very few models. I was often treated with suspicion by other church leaders. I felt on the margins. It was hard. But it was fantastic. I learnt so much. So much of what God has blessed in my new context has been ministry patterns, ministry ideas, forged on the margins.

Ironically, I wonder if my move from margin to some sort of centre is a moving in the opposite direction to the church in wider society. While I move from margin to centre, the church generally is moving from centre to margin. Church in the West is in decline.

And now, suddenly, I find myself at some sort of the centre. After 25 years of decline, the place where I minister has found new life. New faces, new gifts, new worship. And at this centre I get love. Lots of love. There is something hypnotic about speaking to lots of people. To seeing a place grow, to be part of energy and momentum, is a wonderful thing.

It would be very easy to settle for the drug of the centre. To imbibe the love. Yet all my instincts tell me the margin is the place of creativity. A theology of exile finds God in the wasteland. And my call to this place was as a change agent. It was to lead this group from attraction to mission. It was to clear space for the margins, to tend new life among the dispossessed in the wasteland.

I wonder if accepting a changing culture, accepting the marginality of the church, is hardest for pastors of growing, attractional churches. How to hear the margins when one stands at what seems a centre?

At the centre is where I am called to be for this season. So are their disciplines of marginality that need to be practised by those at the centre?

Posted by steve at 11:00 PM