Wednesday, April 14, 2004

mark this gap

I believe that on the edges, in the fragments, among the absence is where God is most. Words that are much easier to write than to live. Leaving graceway, the emerging church I planted in Auckland was really hard. What was God doing with me? What was God doing with Graceway? what would leaving mean?

This, perhaps is part of an answer. (I scored this interview off mootblog).

Mark is the new pastor of Graceway – a Baptist new form of being church and alternative worship community in Auckland. I met Mark the last time I was in OZ when I was moving around doing Godly Play as a form of worship. Mark has a background in theological studies and in particular servants, a christian liberational project in asia.
Mark has taken over after the input of Steve Taylor who has finished his PhD and Mike Crudge who is now touring around spiritual tourists and students in North & South Island.
Mark, things are changing on the Auckland scene – with Mark Pierson going off to Melbourne, Steve Taylor off to Christchurch and Mike touring – sounds a tough time to start being a minister when everyine else seems to have gone liquid – what led up to this decision and what is Graceways vision now that Steve has moved?

Hi Ian!, I think i remember telling you that I was never going to be a Baptist minister- oops. i am now! Things are going ok. Really I’m just kind of settling into the job-seeing how things work etc. there seems to be a pretty good feeling around the place so far, and i haven’t had an affair with secretary yet- oh yeah we don’t have one!

Answering your question, a tough time in one sense, a good time in another. Now is a good time for new leaders to come through to start/keep on dreaming and doing stuff. There is sooo much scope here in Auckland to be involved in missional work. On the other hand losing Mark and Steve is like losing for want of better example, lets say Martin Johnson- a leader who has been there, done that, and then inspires those around them to do the same. And although they are still around in one sense it’s not the same. The void will be there for some time and will be recognisable. I’m not trying to downplay what others are doing or contributing- just wanting to acknowledge the huge contribution made by these two.

My own decision to step into this role came out of a year that didn’t really happen to plan- to cut along story short, i had plans of being involved in the community in which i live as a youth/community worker- it was all go then went pear shaped. I went to the Philippines- wanting to listen to the stories of the poor and hear from God in that context. On my return, I flt a strong sense of call to graceway- one thing led to another. Here I am.

My vision for graceway…ah, um. Good question. I could get very spiritual at this point and say ‘my vision, don’t you mean God’s?’ but you would probably see straight through that! My vision is developing- in process. Steve, Lynne and God, did a great thing at graceway. Weathered some heavy storms and kept it alive. I want to honour what they have done, build on it and help to make the changes and adjustments as they are needed. I guess i have been thinking along the lines of ‘authentic worship- authentic mission’
the idea that as people are given the space to worship in authentic ways- then i think we will be more inclined to engage in mission which is authentic. Sounds hugely idealistic now that i write it down but we’ll see how we go.

Regarding my role- i don’t want it to be about maintaining structures- doing what we have always done just because.. but more of a facilitation role- helping the community to function well. Maybe a d.j. rather than a rock star- how bout that, i like that. There are plenty of rock stars around, you know what i mean?

I come from a fundamentalist background, so I don’t have a lot of time for bollocks. i’ve seen too may damaged and battered people to want to be involved in the power games. In saying that i personally haven’t had any problems. I’m happy to be part of the Baptist movement and I’m happy to be part of a larger grouping- in fact i think it’s essential. Independant churches are independant of who exactly? I think i’ll just do what i do hang out with my mates and let other people get on with what they are doing- i have never been a great fan of conflict!

A big part of what I will be doing is resourcing- ideas, gatherings, events- why reduplicate stuff all the time- i’m fully keen on sharing! I guess this where the net is a huge resource. It is always goo to network. I love networking, having coffee, talking. If people are here or there we need to connect- it is so important to me!

Posted by steve at 11:12 PM

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