Sunday, June 05, 2011

some new church tensions I can’t resolve

1. If team Taylor are part of starting something fresh expression wise in the Southern suburbs, then it would be great to have a few local folk to be part of it (especially given we’re still pretty disconnected migrants). But folk we talk with who want something new could also be used quite profitably to prop up some existing struggling causes. Shouldn’t we just do that? (Or might some new models actually provide some new options that become helpful for existing causes?)

2. Personally, I have a demanding day job. So do lots of other folk. So the idea of “spare-time” church makes sense of current realities. But would “spare-time church” be lifegiving? Or would it simply end up a bunch of tired folk gathered tiredly? (But doesn’t that sound like a good few established churches anyhow)?

3. Given that I am quite well-known in terms of Fresh Expressions, how to start something that has lots of permission to experiment, risk and fail?

Posted by steve at 09:47 PM

Saturday, May 28, 2011

a magic mission morning

I was up early, leaving home at 7:20 am on a Saturday morning, to drive to Murray Bridge. I was giving the opening plenary (60 minute) address for the Lutheran District of South Australia and the Northern Territories, followed by a 60 minute elective.

The first talk sought to place fresh expressions with the frame of global mission and contemporary theology. The second talk (with over 100 folk turning up) focused on leadership in mission today, along with information about Fresh expressions and mission and ministry training being offered here in South Australia today – the mission-shaped ministry pilot being offered later this year, the new pioneer stream in the Bachelor of Ministry, the new Missional masters.

It was a simply beautiful drive. Salmonella Dub (Longtime) on the stereo.

Don’t you fall from grace
be cool with your space
check your place
in the race

Mist in the hollows of the Adelaide Hills. Sun stroking the tree tops. A chance to be with part of God’s wider church, to talk mission, to simply participate in the ongoing mission of God.

It was the second time this week that I have addressed a mainline denomination about fresh expressions, mission and leadership. It follows the spending of Thursday and Friday with 16 folk from 4 denominations and 4 states, all key folk in their denominations, all highly skilled ministry practioners, together plotting mission training. An enormous privilege to be among such insight, experience and passion.

It sort of feels like God is up to something, in Australia and across a number of denominations and church systems.

Posted by steve at 10:42 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

fresh expressions regenerate discussion

re-generate is a series of pub conversations, begun in the creative mind of Craig Mitchell, providing an interactive space around the meal table for those wanting to be involved in being church that is thriving and connected to the culture. (I’ve been the speaker at a couple here in Adelaide, then hosted another with Jonny Baker in March).

There was another on Monday night, not with a speaker, but an open invitation to any Adelaide locals who have begun to create or lead a fresh expression, those who have an urge to do so, and those who have an interest in this movement to come and share their experiences and dreams.

About 20 people gathered. Over food we shared what had drawn us to the table. As the night evolved it seemed there were two groups of people: those looking for ideas or stimulus for their life of their congregation; and those already engaged who want to wrestle with issues like funding, sustainability, the journey to faith, developing leaders, etc.

The upshot was enthusiasm to begin a series of regular pub conversations based around participant questions (people add their questions to a bowl from which we could draw a topic for the following gathering – wonder who suggested that idea :)).

The next one is planned for early June (details coming) and will focus on two issues
– how to fund a fresh expression
– how to sustain a fresh expression

The hope is that it’s not just Uniting church and perhaps the fact that it’s question based from those who gather will help to include other denominations.

It was an exciting night to be part of!

Posted by steve at 02:41 PM