Wednesday, October 06, 2004

missional impotence

postmodern culture=postmodern cultures. John Drane notes
: desperate poor
: hedonists
: traditionalists
: spiritual searchers
: corporate achievers
: secularists
: apathetic
So perhaps Hillsong exists as a form of contextualisation among corporate achievers?

To do so would be to affirm it, while at the same time encouraging mission innovation among the plurality of cultures. It is just so frustrating when its apparent numerical success is used to discourage other mission innovation.

In the movie Super Size Me, excessive consumption leads to a loss of sex drive and muscular vigor for the filmaker, Martin Spurlock. It seems that same thing is happenning with ecclesiological and denominational ponderings; that the drive to up-size in fact leads to a slackening in reproductive vigor.

Posted by steve at 12:09 PM


  1. Very good points; no doubt part of your “response.”

    Comment by Paul Fromont — October 6, 2004 @ 1:00 pm

  2. in my humble opinion, there is a real one size fits all mentality in many church communities today. the one size is generally supersize, and supersize just doesn’t fit many traditionalists or spiritual seekers or social dissidents.
    when i joined a successful baptist church quite a few years ago, there was an obvious temptation on their part to use me as an “alternative/hippie” pin up boy for their church. that’s what it looked like to non-christian friends of mine and how it felt to me. it debilitated the churches ability to engage with me naturally – they wanted their product to’look’ different and so to appeal to post-moderns but thier product was the same old thing dressed superficially in new clothes.
    we didn’t have a lasting relationship – and i reckon even though i’m still a bit on the crusty side, the anglican church i’m part of now embrace who i am a lot more (i hope i’m right).
    we do need to dream new ways of being gospel people, not to provide a new marketing aproach, but to be real for all those who don’t click with the big deal. and even if they and we are small in number, who cares, i’m not looking for a church nine miles wide and one inch deep.

    Comment by Andrew Mac — October 7, 2004 @ 10:25 am

  3. I understand what Andrew is saying. There is such a franchised approach to the baby boomer styled church. And I think much of it has to do with generational peculiarities. The boomers are well known for their marketing approaches which has crept into the church. Christian bookstores readily push the resources to emulate the ‘Hillsong project’ in your own church, and certainly that’s what’s done in the region where I live…just about every church that’s not traditional carries the Hillsong formula. Now I don’t want that to be a criticism rather an observation. And as an observation it means there is no push or acknowledgement for any other type of church to emerge. It would be good for people to think outside the box. If you fish for the middle class cultural set, then that’s all you’ll get.

    Comment by Garth — October 8, 2004 @ 12:57 am

  4. I’m pretty certain, though I can’t remember the source now, that British statistics show that smaller churches grow faster than big churches …

    Comment by Andii — October 8, 2004 @ 2:48 am

  5. Inasmuch as Hillsongs is “double coded” (in using comtemporary technology and music to sell rather medieaval theology) and open to the environmental context (establishing the first church near the largest car dealership in Australia) then it seems quite postmodern to me.

    It’s certainly not the old premodern model – one church for all unchanging over 200 years, nor is it “god of the gaps” modernism. Given how successful the Hillside model is in “postmodern” societies, it isn’t surprising that the model of church should itself exhibit postmodern features.

    Comment by sinner — October 8, 2004 @ 5:41 pm

  6. In response to the comment at the top of page:- “the drive to up-size in fact leads to a slackening in reproductive vigor”.
    Of course it does!
    Who (or what) is being reproduced?
    The brakes are put on by God because so often “new christians” are going in the wrong direction due to…
    have a look at if you would like to get provoked, hopefully to a healthy reflection…

    Comment by boltono — April 21, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

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