Sunday, July 31, 2005

fat freddys drop live review

Saw Fat Freddy’s Drop live at the Town Hall last nite. I first saw them live in 2003 and loved their unique mix of lanquid songs nourished by phat beats, and the spacious sounds within which are woven a unique blend of vocals to a unique mix of reggae, jazz, even soul. They are one of the best live music bands I have seen.

An opportunity for all my overseas readers to check out some of the best in current Kiwi music. European dates:


Posted by steve at 10:55 PM

Saturday, July 30, 2005

the real nature of apostolic leadership in a post-Christendom context

times of transition and rapid change require grieving. And there is the key. Women are much better at grieving than are men, who tend to simply amp up the energy.. full speed ahead, damn the torpedos.. we tend to reach higher rather than embrace the call to fall.. to look inside.. to slow down.. to weep. We aren’t good at liminality.

So.. here is an opportunity.. to learn from our women, to listen to those we love and cherish, and who cherish us in return.. to listen to those who are often pushed aside, those we have often thought weak. I think if we can learn from women how to grieve, we have a better chance of moving forward into the things the Lord wants to release to us. Women are the ones who give birth anyway..

Remember FOTR..Galadriel says that these are the times “when love is now mingled with grief”…


Posted by steve at 11:37 AM

Friday, July 29, 2005

slow learner

How to talk about church membership in our contemporary world? How to raise the bar around participation and values, while being open-handed and hospitable? I’m learning. Slowly.

I’m learning
1 … every few months to offer a newcomers cafe …. nothing structured, just a time to eat and a few get to know you questions.
2 … every few months to offer a membership evening.
3 …. to start by asking people what they are praying for about the church. You see, membership evenings can be “sales” evenings. But Opawa is actually a very human church. We’ve got lots of warts. Asking people what they’re praying for about the church gives me feedback on some warts, and reduces the “sales” pitch factor.
4 … to talk about the journey we’re on, including our Denominational past. I mean, we as humans, we’re all shaped deeply by our parents habits. Apply that to church and we have lots of strange corporate habits. So talking about our past might make it easier to understand our strangeness.
5 … offer concrete ways to participate. I give people a participation survey form. I try to keep it to one page, but offer lots of ways to get involved. This goes into a database. And it can be given back to them annually, to allow them change and flex and growth.
6 …. finish with Ello, kids lego. Invite people to use Ello to make their prayer for the church. People talk, people laugh, people explain, and it’s a spiritually real way to end.

(Context. I ran a membership evening last nite.)

Posted by steve at 06:01 PM

Thursday, July 28, 2005

postgraduate emerging church research

Bryan has emailed, asking for research citations (ie postgraduate research, not some lightweight fluff) regarding the emerging church, as he begins to prepare for his Ph.D. This is what I am aware of. Have I missed anything?

Baker, Jonny, “The Labyrinth. Ritualisation as Strategic Practice in Postmodern Times.” MA thesis, Kings College, 2000.

Flores, Aaron, “An exploration of the Emerging Church in the United States.” MA thesis, Vanguard University, 2005.

Guest, Matthew. “Negotiating Community: An Ethnographic Study of an Evangelical Church.” PhD thesis, Lancaster University, 2002.

Taylor, Steve. “A New Way of Being Church.” PhD thesis, Otago University, 2004.

Note of clarification: Thanks for the comments already. I too am aware of lots of books and journal articles, but in this post I am looking only for post-graduate primary research. Not to be elitist, but because this was the context of the email request.

Posted by steve at 04:03 PM

i kid you not

The exclusive brethren have their own website. It looks like a serious attempt to correct public misconceptions. They tell us that …

Virtually all marriages among the Brethren endure for a lifetime.
Over 95% of all Brethren Families own their own homes.
There is practically no unemployment among the Brethren.

I was using them in my being Kiwi, being Christian class as an example of extreme cultural withdrawal. But then to discover they have a website!

Wonder who built it? Wonder if they use technorati to keep track of referrals? Wonder if they’ll drop by to say hi?

Update: For a political comment on the Election Pamphlet funding by Exclusive Brethren business leaders, go here.

Posted by steve at 12:17 PM

note to self: perhaps i’m not mad

I’m noticing this kind of discussion happening over at Steve’s blog since he questioned the APEPT model of leadership as the only model portrayed by Paul in his ministry and letters. After his post Alan commented with:

“And I suspect many of you would not like to be part of genuine missional movements because of your reserve on so many things. How are we every going to change things if everyone is so touchy about basic biblical ministry?”

Its the words “basic biblical ministry” that send the same shivers down my spine … It’s the idea that someone is pointing out a truth that can’t or shouldn’t be questioned. It’s also that it seems that when one questions a model like APEPT it’s seen as an attack rather than someone asking questions that might need to be asked.

And the idea that by questioning it makes one touchy or reserved also worries me … That being said, I do like the APEPT model, but do believe that Paul offers us more models for leadership that come out of the community in which he is planting a church. Perhaps people like Steve are asking some questions that the others don’t want to hear or accept, and that is why they get such a weird response…

Perhaps he’s asking questions in much the same way that a Prophet would in the APEPT model? The Prophet is rarely liked, because they ask questions that the others don’t like.

[ironic musing: arguing against the APEPT model by using the APEPT categories?]


Posted by steve at 11:07 AM

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Biblical leadership

Further to my post on APEPT, let me quote Clarke…

church life in each of these communities [eg, Corinth, Romans, Phillipi, Thessalonians, Galatians, Philemon] varied considerably. As social groups, these churches did not fit neatly into a uniform, theological schema of Paul. It is also clear that each of these social groups was also part of the broader society in which the early Christians lived. They were, accordingly, influenced by the patterns of leadership which prevailed around them.” Clarke, Serving the community of God, p. 207.

“Although the early Christians had a range of models of leadership or community organization available for them either to adopt or adapt, it becomes plain that Paul associates himself with none of these. Instead, his perception of the nature of leadership within the Christian church derives from his understanding of the unique nature of the Christian church, and the basis on which that community is founded.” Clarke, Serving the community of God, p. 209.

My point is simply this ; APEPT is one of many New Testament ways of leading. And so I ponder; Why are we taking Ephesians on leadership and not say Thessalonians on leadership … lead a quiet life … work with your hands or Phillipians on leadership … live as citizens? Perhaps we are reading the Biblical text rather than letting the Biblical text fully read our leadering?

Posted by steve at 05:38 PM

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a foreign language day

Today I
: finished an article on the emerging church for the september/october edition of a magazine called australian christian women!
: received confirmation that an article I wrote on artist Sieger Koder for a German publisher has just been printed.

Yep, translated into two foreign cultures in one day!

I also did a re-write of a co-authored piece (The Post-Evangelical Emerging Church: Global Innovations in New Zealand and the UK) I am doing with Matthew Guest for the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church (who are doing a themed issue on the topic of the Emerging Church).

I’m now meant to be on holiday for the next few days, apart from being part of the first ever Holy-wood Free Film Festival, with spiritual films, film church and film debate. So I might not be around my blog much.

Posted by steve at 06:00 PM

I’m probably in trouble but …

I probably just got myself in big trouble, but I made the following comment here, in relation to the APEPT model and so note the comment here (as a sort of obituary perhaps!)

I think the APEPT model is one of the more problematic things I have come across in the emerging church conversation. Read Clarke’s Serve the Church. It looks at the early church within its social setting. It argues that every one of Pauls’ letters has a slightly different take on leadership and that is because Paul is contextual. Leadership structure emerges from the mission context. To impose APEPT is therefore not true to the full range of the Biblical material; it is privileging one letter over the other letters. More problematic, it’s imposing a theoretical model that distorts the true contextual missionality that is the New Testament texts.

Posted by steve at 04:39 PM

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thinking aloud

Every time I meet with the church board I have a thinking aloud section. This allows me to incubate vision and process ideas together, rather than being a top-down leader who presents ideas fait accompli/like it or leave it. Here is what I wrote today.

End of the year. How to end the year? We have our AGM which starts the year. But how do we evaluate the year and honour God for all that has been done? What is a sustainable (ie yearly) way for us to celebrate our life as a church?

I’ve begun to wonder about a day long “celebration”;
that starts and ends with worship (10:30 pm and 7 pm), that offers a barbeque lunch, that has coffee throughout the day, that has a bouncy castle and play area for the kids, that has a performance space where at regular intervals throughout the afternoon, people sing or do comedy, that has multiple “stations” set up through the church.
: each ministry department saying what they have done and what they need “resources” for next year
: with pictures and names of those baptized, come into membership, those who have left membership, newly planted congregations
: with video footage that we have collected
: with a thankyou space and cards to write to volunteers in our midst
: with a dream space for people to imagine about next year
: with time to walk through all the newly painted areas including the prayer room
: with an evaluation space where people can ask the Board questions
: ending with a praise and prayer wall, where people write up all that they are glad of, and all that they were dreaming of

This would enable people could take time, at their pace, to “wander” through the year. We could set the church up in “zones” based around our mission;
Enabling people to walk (blue)
: Evangelism
: Community ministry
: Worship

And grow with Jesus (green)
: Youth
: Children
: Spiritual growth
: Administration
: Property
: Small groups

Reflecting his love in our communities and beyond
: Missions
: Pastoral care

Posted by steve at 04:48 PM

visual worship worth bookmarking

Christ is the image of the invisible God; Colossians 1:15. And so some useful resources for those who take the Incarnated Image (whether visual/video) seriously at this site.

And this site also.

Posted by steve at 02:49 PM

Friday, July 15, 2005

trained to preach

On Wednesday and Thursday I hosted local Baptist leaders on the theme:
Mission and the DNA of the church.

Best quote for me, from a long-term minister, was this one:
I’m starting to realise that communication today involves preaching, being part of communal dialogue and allowing individual multi-sensory responses. But I was just trained to preach.

Posted by steve at 12:20 PM

Thursday, July 14, 2005

if i had time

If I had time I would write articles on:
: from movements to meme or why movements are an outdated overflow from modernity
: re:mission and Luke 10
: shaping indigenous worship, with particular reference to indigenous spirituality
: the simplicity of attraction vs. incarnation in contrast to the 6 epochs of mission history in the work of david bosch, transforming faith
: the missiology and resources behind a take a kid to faith service.

But I don’t. I have 2 day jobs and it’s hard enough doing that, let alone responding to the email — in the last week requests for advice from
: a denomination
: PhD students
: speaking resources for a ministry in the US
: a request to participate in a virtual seminary.

At times the amount of email generated around this site makes me it all feel unsustainable. Oh, you guessed, didn’t you. Yes it is raining today. But the irony, I’m listening to Lemon Jelly and it’s track 4 – don’t stop now!

Posted by steve at 02:28 PM

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

reading the [biblical] text in a postmodern world

Prodigal is rehashing some theologising I did around Winnie the Pooh and reading the Bible. For those who are about to dismiss me as sacriligious (assuming you haven’t already:)), I was struck by the relationship between the inspiration of Biblical text and community memory in the Piglet Big movie.


“… As they [Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore and Tiger] start a process of communal re-telling, so they find themselves in a process of communal re-living… As we tell the story, our lives are changed … Re-telling and re-living cannot be separated.”

For those interested in more, I did a sermon once on Bible Sunday, exploring Pooh, Piglet and reading the Bible.

Maybe we should show Piglets Big movie for a film:church at Opawa? And now I am eagerly awaiting Pooh’s Heffalump movie for more theological reflection ( Quick time promo here).

Posted by steve at 10:11 AM