Thursday, August 02, 2018


Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 5.25.43 PM

Go to the edge
Gain perspective
See more clearly
Seek light for a next direction
For Presbyterians embedded in a local context 
with a heart for their community
Who need a next step in mission clarified
The Lighthouse
Is a 48 hour set of steps
That yields 2 pathways and 1 next step
Unlike talkfests
We offer a working process that takes your opportunity to a next outcome

I’m stepping into an innovation space tomorrow, curating a weekend with two colleagues. We have 18 people joining us, as part of intentional processes in innovation incubation within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Over the weekend, we will weave 6 innovation images from Scripture (for more see Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration) with insights from Maori innovation (Artefact) and social innovation incubator processes.

It is the second weekend we’ve done and 2 weeks ago a participant from Lighthouse 2017 sought me out to say that the youth mentoring programme they had workshopped at Lighthouse 2017 was now running “And wouldn’t have happened without Lighthouse. So thanks.” It is that type of grassroots action we hope to innovate, as well as helping people find new travelling companions in the task of mission and nurturing the reforming DNA of being Presbyterian. It runs as a gift from Presbyterian Development Society and their passionate commitment to the communities of Aotearoa.

Posted by steve at 05:30 PM

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Listening in mission 1: the value of chat

listeninginmission KCML in 2017 are offering a listening in mission practical learning course. It is an experiment for us, testing ways we can provide life-long learning opportunities for ministers in context.

The listening in mission practical learning course involves a listening project, in which participants gather a team of 4-6 from their church and engage in a provided guided listening project. So it is based on action, the church doing something. This is supported by a set of online sessions, in which there is listening to Scripture, engagement with readings in mission, sharing of resources, support and prayer. In other words, reflection.

After a no-strings attached introductory webinar on May 3, to allow folk to check if this was for them, the cohort got underway yesterday evening. The aim was to create links between the project and Scripture and mission and to be a practical resource for each other as we seek to get the listening project going.

For me it was a such rich and sustained engagement in the realities of mission and ministry. I loved the way conversation moved so freely between the readings, the listening practical project and our role as ministers. I loved the exchange of ideas as various folks shared from their current practice. It felt at times like being on holy ground.

Once again, it was a joy to teach without leaving my desk or entering a classroom. Instead, online technology makes possible a very different sort of experience. On the video, I saw children come in for a quick cuddle and partners begin to check about dinner arrangements. This was learning in lounges and around computer desks, threaded through with everyday realities. So different from a classroom.

One of the learnings for me in this particular experience of online learning is the value of the chat function. The online platform we are using has video, voice and a chat function. Three of the KCML Faculty are involved (all from different physical locations). With this shared leadership model, it means that while one is talking, the others can engage on chat. Key discussion themes can be highlighted and 1-1 questions engaged. Even better, the platform we are using allows us to copy and paste the chat.

So every class has the online participation through video, voice and typed chat. It also has the audio saved, to be listened to again afterward. And the chat, which serves as written notes, allowing further reflection on learning. The result is a rich set of layers for learning.

Posted by steve at 03:37 PM

Monday, April 04, 2016

Knox online mission teaching

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership went online today. The topic focus was Mission and the church. Video conferencing was used to connect interns together and for two hours, Scripture was read, in conversation with readings from Newbigin and the context in which the intern is ministering.

ibook-g4-1-1243494-640x480 It is an experiment we are trialing this year, in 1 of our 7 courses, made for a number of reasons.

First, traditional education tends to offer theory, which is then applied, often in an assignment. The Mission and the church class has a major assignment which involves working with a group from the local church over a number of weeks in exploring what God is up to in the local neighbourhood. The use of video conferencing was a way to try and place the local context more front and centre, in a different way than in a classroom. Essentially we have halved the face to face contact time and replaced it with in-context tutorials.

Second, some recent educational research has argued that the closer a student is to their context, the more likely they are to begin to experience change, as they seek to integrate content with their current lived experience. In other words, the face to face class removes a student from their context, while e-learning allows them to stay in context, increasing their range of connections they make.

Third, the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership internship offers three block course intensives a year. Providing online engagement in between intensives increases interaction between lecturers and interns. It also provides another way to strengthen relationships between interns. (“Is that what your office looks like” was one comment heard today).

Fourth, technology is an increasing part of life today, so it is good for interns (and lecturers) to be invited to learn and grow, to experience forming and being formed through digital means.

Fifth, online technology offers some avenues for Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership to be more engaged in training nationally, including connecting with those in rural areas. If we can do this with interns, could we down the track also do it with lay folk and ministers in context? So this type of experiment allows us to learn and grow, testing our capacity, exploring ways to enhance access to ministry and mission training.

Today had some hitches. As was to be expected. But the conversation I was part of was one of the most honest and sustained exploration of ministry and call that I have experienced in quite some years. To read Scripture, to pray and be prayed through digital technologies, was a rich experience.

Posted by steve at 08:06 PM

Thursday, June 30, 2011

tech tools in ministry: writeboard, kindle and snapz pro

Over the last 6 months, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about and then putting to use in ministry, a number of new tech tools;

  • writeboard for worship planning
  • kindle for speaking
  • snapzpro for teaching

For those interested, here’s a run down … (more…)

Posted by steve at 09:34 PM

Monday, February 07, 2011

kindling a new wave in mission?

Interesting news just out that Amazon are launching Kindle singles. I love the tag line –

Compelling Ideas Expressed at Their Natural Length.

The current book has a certain genre – it needs to be so many words to be taken seriously and to make economic sense. Yet quite a few books I read are simply puffed and padded to meet the genre. Much better surely to let the idea dictate the size, rather than the various expectations.

They are talking about prices of less than a dollar and seem to be suggesting that anyone can submit a piece for inclusion as a Kindle Single.

So the Kindle single concept opens up the market for a different type of writing, the short story, the pithy essay, the developing case study, the storytelling of local mission in local communities, the short course – and thus some new possibilities for sparking mission thinking, reflecting, storytelling.

(Hat tip mighty (:) ) skinny Kiwi). For other commentary see Wired and Tech news.

PS What I don’t like about Kindle is the way that it is so linked to one seller. Why can’t we have open source e-reader? Wouldn’t that be a good investment for a number of sellers to pool R & D over?

PSS What would also be really useful is if Kindle allowed books to be unbundled. I sit here preparing distance material. Often I want folk to read not the whole book, but one or two chapters. It makes no sense to pay for the whole but I’d love to pay for a chapter plus distribution rights that I could then distribute to students.

Posted by steve at 05:51 PM

Friday, September 05, 2008

airline ticket virus scam

That’s strange, I thought, as the email popped into my box. I know a group is buying me a airplane ticket but I’m pretty sure that airline doesn’t fly in Australia.

Subject: Online order for flight ticket [number]

Thank you for using our new service “Buy airplane ticket Online” on our website.
Your account has been created:

and an attachment! as a ZIP file, not a PDF.

Never click on attachments from strangers is the golden rule! So a quick check on google and sure enough — . What a pleasant world we live in!

Posted by steve at 02:39 PM

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

technical query

Does anyone know if it is possible to place already existing digital images (JPEGs) onto a cell phone, in order to PXT that digital image?

(I know I can take a digital picture of the existing image with a phone, but that would lose quality. I know you can select and send PXt’s from the Vodafone gallery. But I already have the image (40 actually, one for each day of Lent 🙂 that I want to send out)

Posted by steve at 03:59 PM

Saturday, August 18, 2007

counting worship attendance

Tomorrow as part of our morning congregation, we dedicate Grace Ngaire Russell. Her immediate family moved from the UK to NZ two years ago and as we were planning the dedication a few weeks ago, they were telling me about their use of the webcam to keep in touch.

“Oh,” I said, “The church is on broadband. Why can’t your family in UK watch the dedication live through the internet?”

A few tech experts, and a few technical trials over the last 2 Sundays, means that in a few hours, DV and TV (God and technology willing), UK-based Russell family members will be clustered around their computers watching worship at Opawa Baptist Church.

Which only leaves the question: How do we count church attendance as we move into a cyber future?

Posted by steve at 06:32 PM

Thursday, May 03, 2007

dumb tech question

I am off to Aussie tomorrow, to speak at various things in Melbourne and Adelaide. I have a video clip that I really want to play at each of these gatherings (it sort of stirs up my Aussie mates you know). It is on Youtube and I can not presume that all the 12 places I am speaking have wireless. Is there a way for me to download unto my laptop a Youtube video?

Update: Hey thanks heaps everyone. All sorted. For those who are interested, this is the video that I, as a Kiwi, am keen to use in Aussie :). It’s called – Someone always wants to steal your stuff.

Posted by steve at 09:10 AM

Monday, July 12, 2004

tech question

can I download quick time movies, on a PC, without having to buy Quick Time Pro?

Posted by steve at 05:57 PM