Friday, May 27, 2011

landslide victory for fresh expressions in Australian churches

Recent results indicate a stunning mandate for change in the Australian church climate.

Some 66% of church attenders agreed that the traditional established models of church life must change to better connect with the wider Australian community (only 11% disagree).

For an even larger majority, this was personal. 82% claimed that they would support the development of new initiatives in ministry and mission in their church (3% disagreed).

This is a stunning mandate for change. It should encourage every church minister, and every church leader, to consider how they provide responsive leadership, seeing to establish a fresh expression or new initiative in their church in the next years.

Update: Some interesting pushback over at Hamo’s blog.

(Data from the Innovation data from the 2006 National Church Life Survey.)

Posted by steve at 10:21 PM

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

cities as contested spaces and some church possibilities

Outstanding presentation by Jason Ting, from Planning SA, this morning at the Church in the City 2010 conference. Under the theme “Cities as contested spaces” he made the following points.

1 – Our cities are growing – A world milestone a few years ago, with more than 50% of world’s population in urban settlement

2 – Our cities are aging – 75% of elderly live in cities and this needs to be placed alongside a rising age dependency ratio (the number of people retired compared to the number of people working)

3 – Our cities are diversifying – (even) Adelaide is diversifying. In Australia, 85% of immigrants choose to live in cities.

4 – Our cities are becoming more expensive

5 – Our cities are sprawling – Australian cities are 3 to 4 times the size of comparable population sized cities in Holland

6- We fragment our space – He apologised for 20th century urban planning frameworks, which had separated residential from industrial from economic. This was driven by the human love affair with the car.

7 – We sanitize our space – The irony that especially the middle-class like to keep spaces clean. However graffiti and grunge for some, including youth, means edgy and exciting

8 – We commodify our space – Public spaces are often paid spaces. For example shopping centres which do not encourage seating in order to move on “non-paying” customers.

He then argued for three innovations:

  • Spatial innovation – What spatial entrepreneurship could church contribute to? Possibilities include places to sit, to cycle, to walk, spaces that are not commodified.
  • Social innovation – Possibilites mentioned included urban community farm, deck chairs in parks, pedestrian friendly footpaths (outdoor table tennis tables that I saw near Liverpool Station, London)
  • Spiritual innovation – how can churches encourage diversity in this area?
Posted by steve at 12:40 PM