Saturday, September 26, 2009

we go to a new land downunder

“change or newness is most likely to come from having people work at both the centre and the edge” Jonny Baker.

Which serves to introduce a pretty big move for the Taylor family. Over the last days we have been announcing to church, jobs and school that we are moving to Adelaide, Australia at the start of 2010 to take up a role as Director of Missiology at Uniting College.

Organisationally, I am intrigued by their desire to make a clear focus on developing leaders for a missional church, and feel that my experiences and training might add strength to that. I like their suite of teaching: under-grad and post-grad; lay and ecclesial; distance and on-site. I am fascinated by the way they are seeking to make context their primary forming place (cf the classroom). I’d like to explore the possibilities of what could happen when the seminary of a mainline church places mission not as an extra or an addon, but at the centre of it’s intention.

At a personal level, the job offers me more time to write. It continues my lecturing focus and my leading focus, building a team of lecturers. It offers some new leadership stretch, including working on a personal dream, of gathering critical reflection around missional experiments (hopefully through post-grad offerings). There is encouragement to continue in congregational ministry, but that would need to be as part of a team, not as the primary can-carrier.

At an emotional level, it’s a big change and we’re all pretty nervous. But it’s very much been a family decision. We were very comfortable, very settled, loving our current life. But at Pentecost I preached on God as a God of surprise and that week took a call, asking me to consider the role. As we’ve prayed together as a family, there was an overwhelming sense that we need to trust (again) the God who has given us such good friends and church here in New Zealand.

Our “Opawa” announcement letter is here and includes more of our discernment process, including our kids participation. Everyone at Opawa has been so gracious and caring. However it is fair to say we are all pretty disappointed, because we as a church are in the midst of such a good season. So we are all pushed back to trust God.

So if you’re the praying kind – Taylor’s need to find a house, 2 new schools and move our lives across the Tasman sea. We also need to find a church community, ideally something nourishing for our kids, yet also something that lets Lynne and I play, cos we’re both keen to be part of (not carry the can for) a team in a missional context. Lynne will need to find a job once the children are settled. And Uniting
College/denomination need to get used to a Kiwi baptist. Our extended families need God’s love and assurance. That’s lots to pray.

Posted by steve at 12:05 PM


  1. Steve, there’s a group of people you’ve had dinner with who are excited at your move to Adelaide, and we’re looking forward to many more dinners and conversations around emerging and alternative forms of Christian community. Have you heard about the Esther Project? a coming together and living out of some of the conversations we’ve already had over the past few years …

    Comment by Sarah Agnew — September 26, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  2. Hi Steve, have followed your blog regularly from afar (Inverness, Scotland) over the last few years, and have continually found your sharing inspiring. With you and your family and Opawa in our prayers as you take this next step. Look forward to sharing the journey via your blog.Duncan

    Comment by Duncan — September 27, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  3. Hi Steve, can I second what Sarah said and wish you and your family well in this season of goodbyes, knowing that there is a collective of us here in Adelaide who are very glad that you will be around for more conversations on an ongoing basis! All the best, Michelle

    Comment by Michelle — September 27, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  4. Thank God for the internet. Joining in our prayers for your season of change

    Comment by Jo Wall — September 27, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  5. thanks for the comments. Sarah – well done today, I enjoyed hearing you “dramatise” Esther and your sensitivity to the Jewish story.


    Comment by steve — September 28, 2009 @ 1:28 am

  6. Hi Steve. Welcome to Oz-Adelaide. I look forward to having you a little closer so I can pick your brain in person. I hope the shift goes well. Moves are never easy and, especially so, when leaving friends, family and church community. I’ll keep you and the family in my prayers. You can alsways come and join us @ connecT. A Baptist working for the Uniting church and worshipping in an Anglican setting – sounds like a good mix to me!


    Comment by Chris McLeod — September 28, 2009 @ 11:45 am

  7. thanks Chris. I don’t think we yet appreciate how big the move will be – jobs, school, denomination, country.

    nearly came to connecT last nite! we are looking at houses that might be in your area actually!


    Comment by steve — September 28, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  8. Steve, thanks for all the wisdom from Opawa, and blessings on all of you for the move. (prayers, and more prayers for all that you need…) Maggi

    Comment by maggi — September 28, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  9. thanks maggi. lots of opawa is tucked up on my hard drive, or buried in this blog. one of the hopes is that the change gives me a chance to make more accessible some of the Opawa wisdom.

    the danger is that being taken out of a (Opawa) context will rob me of much of my grounded praxis that i currently enjoy. Opawa has been such a warm, open, receptive place and given so much space for me to work between text and context, theory and community. I guess time will tell,


    Comment by steve — September 29, 2009 @ 12:04 am

  10. All the best for the shift Steve. Looking forward to some collaboration on this side of the Tasman.

    Comment by Duncan — September 30, 2009 @ 2:00 am

  11. I guess we’ll have to start referring to you as ‘Emergent Aussie wanna be ‘, now (:

    Comment by Tangira — October 1, 2009 @ 10:52 am

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