Saturday, November 01, 2003

Who is Steve Taylor?

I live with three neat women and enjoy dub music, coffee, reading and wine (Kiwi whites and Australian reds). I love vegetable gardening and come to Australia fascinated by what might grow in this (new for me) climate. I come to Uniting College at the start of 2010 excited by a College and Synod willing to go on an adventure that seeks to make central God’s mission as it takes shape in Western culture.

Apparently I have an accent, which is news to me, but coming from New Zealand, and being trained as a Baptist pastor, it is to be expected.

Teaching and research
From a background in horticulture, I became fascinated by growing people as well as plants. I began ministerial training at Carey Baptist Culture with a mission focus, only to be blindsided by Lesslie Newbigin and the mission challenge of Western culture.

I planted a church (Graceway Baptist), which could be described as “emerging” before it was a US brand. This was mixed with post-graduate study, a Masters in contextual mission as it applied to theology and a PhD in contextual mission as it took shape in new forms of church. That mix, of experience and study, morphed into The Out of Bounds Church? Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change, (Zondervan), 2005.

In 2004 I became Senior Pastor at Opawa Baptist with a call to help them transition into a new mission future. The result was six wonderful years, developing a multi-congregational model that allowed a mixed-economy approach to church, creative “spirituality-2-go” resources and a local community focus. Structurally the team became multi-staffed and we undertook a major building project.

Throughout my fifteen years of pastoral ministry I have lectured, first at Carey Baptist College, then at Laidlaw College (Christchurch). That included pioneering in-service training in areas of missional leadership.

Increasingly I have found myself working with a variety of denominations around issues of mission, change and leadership. These include Anglican, Baptist, Churches of Christ, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Uniting Church. I also write monthly film reviews, for Touchstone and blog regularly (since 2002), at

As the MMin/DMin Coordinator, I am responsible for post-graduate research for those involved in Christian ministry. My personal research interests includes reading popular culture, how indigenous cultures read the Bible, missional leadership, cultural change, gospel in post-Christian context and emerging church.

Print Publications


“U2,” A Concise Dictionary of Religion and Popular Culture, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, forthcoming.

“Baptist Worship and Contemporary Culture: A New Zealand Case Study,” Interface, edited by David Bebbington and Martin Sutherland, Paternoster Press (forthcoming).

“The Emerging Church in New Zealand,” Gospel After Christendom: Essays in honour of Eddie Gibbs, edited by Ryan Bolger, Baker Books, forthcoming.

“Public Lament,” Spirituality and Practice of Lament, edited by Tim Bulkeley and Miriam Bier, Pickwick, forthcoming, (co-authored with Liz Boase)

““Bullet the Blue Sky”: the evolving live concert performances,” Exploring U2: Is This Rock ‘n’ Roll? edited by Scott Calhoun, Scarecrow Press, 2011.

“When land is layered: Jacob in conversation with coloniser (James Cook) and colonised (Te Horeta Te Taniwha),” The Gospel and the Land of Promise: Christian Approaches to the Land of the Bible, edited by Philip Church, Tim Bulkeley, Tim Meadowcroft and Peter Walker, Pickwick Publications, 2011.

“What reaches emerging young adults?” Australian Leadership 3, 6 (March-April 2011) 10-12.

“Reading “pop-wise”: the very fine art of “making do” when reading the Bible in bro’Town,” The Bible in/and Popular Culture: A Creative Encounter, edited by Phil Culbertson and Elaine Wainwright, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, 2010, 157-172.

“A Pneumatology for an Everyday Theology: Whither the Anonymous Spirit in Luke 10:1-12?” The Spirit of Truth: Reading Scripture and Constructing Theology with the Holy Spirit, edited by Myk Habets, Wipf & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 2010.

“Creating space for innovation,” Curating Worship, edited by Jonny Baker, SPCK, London, 2010, 129-138.

“A Uniting Church and Emerging Church?” Cross Purposes: a Forum for Theological Dialogue 21 (August 2010), 3-8.

“A Kiwi Emerging Church? Yeah Right!” in New Vision, New Zealand Vol III (2008), ed. Bruce Patrick, Tabernacle Books, Auckland, 2008, 311-324.

“Even The Dogs Eat the Crumbs That Fall From Their Masters’ Table”: A Contemporary Reflection on The Sacramentality of Communion” Colloquim 39, 2 (November 2007), 209-225.

“Emerging, established or re-emerging? A Trinitarian reflection on church and ministry today,” Ministry Today, 2006.
“A Branded Spirituality: Global Youth Culture and a Branded Identity,” in Culture Yeah Right! Ed. J.Sewell, CYMA, 2006.

Participation and an atomized world: A contemporary reflection on Christ as representative New Adam” in Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross, edited by Mark Baker, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 2006, 103-110.

“The Post-Evangelical Emerging Church: Innovations in New Zealand and the UK,” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, 6, 1, (2006): 49-64 (co-authored with Matthew Guest)

The Out of Bounds Church? Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change, Zondervan, 2005.

“Looking closer at Sieger Koder’s The Last Supper: Who will take this cup?” in Farben des Lebens, Schwabenverlag, 2005, 154-160.

“Midwiving and the practices of Theological Education,” Ministry, Society, Theology, 19, 1 (2005): 173-188.

“Choosing Creativity,” Reality 63 (June/July 2004). (co-authored with Lynne Taylor)

“Co-authoring Christianity” Stimulus (July 2004): 10-15.

“Open Letter to Mel Gibson,” Reality 62 (April/May 2004).

“Doing practical research downunder: a methodological reflection on recent trends in Aberdonian practical theology,” Contact 142, 1 (2003): 2-21.

“Celebrating a Postmodern Pentecost,” Reality 57 (June/July 2003).

“Romeo and Juliet and alternative worship,”, (October 2002).

“Review. Beyond Foundationalism. By Stanley Grenz and John R. Franke,” New Zealand Journal of Baptist Research 7, (2002): 106-7.

“Scars on the Australasian Heart: Anzac Day as a contextual atonement Image,” New Zealand Journal of Baptist Research 6, (2001): 48-74.

“Contest, conquest or combination? Te Kete Tuaatea of Cityside Baptist Church,” APRU Doctoral Conference Proceedings, 2001, (CD or

“It’s Church Jim, But not as we know it.” Reality 42 (December 2000/January 2001): 35-40.

“A New Generation … A New Millennium.” Reality 41 (October/November 2000): 12-18.

“Pai Marire: Mission and Cultures in Technicolour,” New Zealand Journal of Baptist Research 2, (1998): 25-46.

Posted by steve at 06:56 PM


  1. [...] Personal. Relevant. Motivational. Accountable.  What a great model, I thought, when I heard Steve Taylor talking about what they do at Opawa Baptist Church.  Wanting to find out more, I searched [...]

    Pingback by a model of missional discipleship – Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of South Australia — January 27, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  2. [...] Personal. Relevant. Motivational. Accountable.  What a great model, I thought, when I heard Steve Taylor talking about what they do at Opawa Baptist Church.  Wanting to find out more, I searched [...]

    Pingback by a model of missional discipleship – Growing Disciples — December 20, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  3. [...] to Dr Steve Taylor, Principal of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, for the invitation to speak to his [...]

    Pingback by Playing the Guest, not the Host | Tall Skinny Kiwi — October 14, 2013 @ 9:58 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.