This post runs through 5 ideas that help us situate the place of the church in society – which I think then helps us to critique and potentially adjust our engagement with society. Over the last few weeks I’ve been part of a conference with Christian Savings, Laidlaw College, and the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning, where I talked around the idea that “something is different now” in terms of the relationship between church and society. In a previous post I looked at what the church will be like in 100 years – that was the first part of my talk, this post is the second part.

I’ve called the conference talk “something is different now” because our context is different to any other time in the history of the church in New Zealand. And while some of these changes might be unpleasing to us as the church – I think viewing the church through the lenses of these ideas can help with our engagement. Continue Reading…

This graph shows the last 150 years of New Zealand census religion data and church attendance, plus my prediction for the next 100 years. Over the last few weeks I’ve been part of a conference with Christian Savings, Laidlaw College, and the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning, where I talked around the idea that “something is different now” in terms of the relationship between church and society. This blog post is part of that talk. I debunk some of the hype around some census figures, and give two possible future scenarios for the church in New Zealand.

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What helps me worship God

10 August, 2017 — 6 Comments

At the theological college where I work (Carey Baptist College), each week on a Tuesday morning we have a chapel service for community worship, followed by lunch together. One of the things we’re unpacking this year is “what helps me worship God?” This week it was my turn to answer that question and I share it below.

My talk started by going through a whole lot of images and short video clips of things I have seen – with brief explanation. I have included the images below, scroll through them to get to the text, which I have adapted slightly. Continue Reading…

I recently saw an exhibition showing the work of some Auckland University of Technology Communication Design students: what happens when you swap the elements of one product’s label with those of another? I’ll tell you what happens: it messes with your head. Thinking about the future church is a bit like this.

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Imagine expecting one thing but getting all the messages of something completely different. Imagine years, perhaps decades of familiarity being turned upside-down before your eyes. It was one of those exhibitions that played with my mind at every step. Continue Reading…

The stress test

18 November, 2015 — 6 Comments

It’s been an interesting few months since my last blog post where I said I was getting married and my Dad was dying. I’ve had some of the biggest lows and highs I’ve ever experienced. On 16 July 2015 my father died, two days later Geraldine and I got married.

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There has been so much change in my life over the last few months. Dickens sums it up well: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” 1 Through it all I feel I have a better understanding of myself and of stress. In this post I introduce a test I have found helpful in the assessment of life and stress. (Soon I will write again about communication, church, and society.)

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Notes:

  1. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens (1859).

This post is a personal reflection on some recent life events rather than anything specific about communication, church, or society – but you may notice those things coming through. I’m getting married, and my Dad is dying.

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On Friday 24 April Geraldine and I came to the point of deciding we wanted to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. This was in London.

The next morning I was woken up at 5.30am by the vibration of my cellphone. When I saw my sister’s name on the screen I knew it wouldn’t be good news. She was phoning from New Zealand to tell me our Dad was very sick and I needed to come home. Continue Reading…

One of the things that fuels my interest in communication is my love of interpreting things that I observe going on around me. This past Easter I had absolutely no church/work expectations, and I was in London. I churched it up in a most eclectic way, and I share my experiences here. I would love to hear some of your Easter church experiences – sharing this stuff can help us learn and reflect on our own practice.

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I went to The Passion of Jesus play in Trafalgar Square, a Tenebrae service at Moot, a family Easter Sunday celebration service at Christ Church Fulham, and Hillsong London’s Easter production. Keep reading to see what I learnt.
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Have you thought much about how the church is presented in the media, particularly from the perspective of PR (Public Relations)?

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In this post I draw your attention to an interesting article over at PR Week website where David Benady looks at what “four major religions are doing to keep themselves relevant to an increasingly secular and critical society.” He looks at The Church of England, Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism and how they have set themselves up (in the UK) to respond to the media.

Below I highlight a few points of particular interest to me from the article and I ask two questions that you might like to ponder around this issue of how the church is represented in the media. If this interests you I suspect you’ll find the original article called Spreading the word worth a read.

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This weeks Media Take programme on New Zealand’s Māori Television took a look at Christianity in New Zealand with reference to the Easter holiday last weekend. It’s 26 minutes long and worth a watch if you’re interested in some divergent views on a few things Christian from five NZ Christian voices.*

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The show is in two parts, firstly with the co-hosts Russell Brown and Toi Iti talking to Wesleyan Methodist minister Francis Ritchie and historian and Anglican priest Hirini Kaa. The second part has Brian and Hannah Tamaki of Destiny Church and Clay Nelson minister at the Auckland Unitarian Church. It’s quite a nice snapshot of the diverse Christian voice in New Zealand.

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Over the years I’ve been part of church communities close to home, and others that I’ve had to get into my car and drive a decent distance to participate in. I define these as “local church” and “commuter church”. For me, at the present time I’m leaning more toward the value of being part of a church community that is near where I live because it adds value and connection to a place I already spend time in and care about: my neighbourhood.
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There are some good reasons behind the concept of commuter church, and others that seem more about consumer choice than anything else. In this post I’ve started a pros and cons list for both concepts of church expression, and I would love to add your input into the tables below.

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