Wednesday, April 17, 2013

talking sustainability and mission

A cancelled appointment, combined with a decision to start early, has meant a valuable few hours in a cafe working on my

Sustainability and the mission of God: a case study of fresh (and failed) expression

presentation for the upcoming South Australian Mission Studies Network Gathering.

It’s a chance for me to present some of my sabbatical data, to be accountable for the gift of time I get given, plus an ongoing chance to process the resultant book project. Today involved trying to extract some clarity from what is currently 32,000 words, spread across 11 chapters.

Here are the six headings/highlights which I hope to address.

1. Defining mission and fresh expressions

2. Describing fresh expressions today
Hearing from the House of Lords. Seeing the impact of fresh expressions in three Dioceses

3. Discerning Rowan’s theo-ecclesio-missi-ology
The impact of Rowan Williams doing theology, being church, practising leadership on the evolution of fresh expressions and the development of Fresh Expressions.

4. Tracing Fresh Expressions
Eleven key leadership strengths supplied by one Bishop, one Archbishop, one funding body, one book, one DVD. Note – eleven, but not twelve!

5. Learning Ten years on
The stories of ten new forms of community and the four ecclesial layers that emerge when fresh becomes failed, yet failed becomes fresh

6. Four insights for sustainability and mission

  • the power of top down and bottom up
  • the place of the whole body in mission
  • the potential of buildings when mission trumps worship
  • sustainability in a divine economy

The event is open to all mission-minded individuals, including scholars, reflective practitioners and teachers.

Monday 22nd April @ 12.30 pm (until 2:00 pm) in S1, Adelaide College of Divinity, 34 Lipsett Terrace, Brooklyn Park, SA. BYO Lunch but Tea and Coffee provided. To RSVP by Friday 19th April or want further information, then contact David Turnbull on 8373 8775 or dturnbull at adelaide dot tabor dot edu dot au

Posted by steve at 11:29 AM


  1. […] […]

    Pingback by In sure and certain hope… | Andrew F Dutney — April 22, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  2. […] Steve Taylor, The Principal of Uniting College For Leadership & Theology in Adelaide recently lead a session on Festivals and Gatherings in the Old Testament at the National Rural Ministry Conference, (I’ll write up some of my thoughts on that presentation since then later).  While he was there I asked him how his recent trek visiting fresh expression and emerging churches went & if there were any interesting insights. He spoke about the attrition rate of fresh expression churches, (something that Andrew Dutney talks about here) and that there was a lot of material in his interviews that raises questions about how the institution sees the value of fresh expressions and the value of these communities and experiments, some of which we know won’t become “institutions” Andrew Dutney speaks of the need for the church to embrace the concept of life and death, and of resurrection in our communities, of possibilities and questions raised around palliative care for communities who are at the end of their life and how we might provide care for these communities.  Andrew asks how healthy communities might be able so sit alongside dying congregations, and, while I like the idea wonder if “healthy” and “dying” should be seen as opposites, after-all, healthy people die, and death isn’t an illness as much as it is a part of life… When speaking to Steve in Barmera I recalled my experience of the TOLLS community and it’s life and “death” and how the institution and a variety of others seemed to see it’s “death” as a failure, or as a sign of disease. My recollection is that our death was, for some surprising, others it seemed natural and for many it was something that was grieved and then moved on from, but that’s natural for almost any death. Given the time again I think we’d do it slightly differently but it’s death was inevitable at the time, many/most of the community had moved on and sustaining the community beyond the virtual was becoming impossible. The resurrection that many of the community experienced is something that the church and arts communities are still experiencing, many of us who had lost interest or faith in the church, burnt out or without vision found ourselves healing, energised, with new visions and ideas of community, many of us who were seeking a community that accepted us were embraced and found ourselves starting new communities or participating in new ventures all over the world.  I think sometimes we forget that death is natural, instead of something to put off, run away or hide from. Sure, sometimes death is sudden and unexpected and sometimes death is caused by ill-health but death is also sometimes natural, healthy, timely, expected and even embraced. Sometimes individuals can die well, reconciled to those around them, sometimes the death leaves lingering questions and broken relationships… but it’s natural. The institution of the church has fooled itself (like many of us) that death is unnatural and something that we can elude, that with the right cream we can hide our wrinkles, the latest in medical science we can put off death by a few years.  So we use words like “self-sustaining” and “financially viable” in our evaluations of new things, fresh expressions, our obsession with eluding death means we value that what might be unhealthy and avoid that which might be natural, but healthy. […]

    Pingback by On Death & Dying – On Resurrection | Digital Orthodoxy — April 25, 2013 @ 12:01 am

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