My hiatus from writing is over and I’m again aiming for weekly posts. The last two months have been full including visits to Bangladesh, India, and Thailand to see what New Zealand Baptists are doing there. I finished being a pastor in Christchurch New Zealand after my position was made redundant. I had a break in Motueka and walked through the best bit of New Zealand: the Abel Tasman National Park, and ten days ago I shifted to Auckland.
I’ve had plenty on my mind to write about, and here’s a list of 19 things I plan to engage with over the next few months, most of which fit within the themes of communication, church and society, in no particular order:
- Are the days of ‘commuter churches’ numbered? Does the bad outweigh the good?
- Why secularisation is good for the church – an introduction and another way of seeing how “something is different now” in terms of church and society interaction.
- What defines a local church and does it matter? Should churches have a plan to phase out Sunday worship?
- Do Baptist pastors get paid too much? The Baptist Union recommend a stipend. What about when the pastor is the highest paid person in the church community? What about when they’re the lowest paid? Is the Baptist system working?
- “Form follows function” – does the church have this the right way round? In terms of structure, buildings, leadership, mission and worship.
- What does (could/should) church leadership look like in our post-Christendom context? What should leaders be like? Is there a place and future for current church leadership models?
- Why the church needs “critical studies” – a brief introduction that will attempt to explain why I’m not actually a negative complainer, and how identifying what’s not quite right is the first step to actual change.
- Traveling light: literally, 3 weeks abroad with a 6.5kg daypack, and how next time it will be even lighter.
- A few more examples in the Cringe communication series (do you have any personal stories to share?)
- The excuse of “persecution” – thoughts about the response some church people give me about the bad perceptions some people outside the church have of the church, and how these perceptions are ok because it’s just part of the persecution Christians are to expect.
- My reflections around a recent encounter I had with three Mormans who asked me: “do you know anyone we can go and talk to about Jesus Christ?”
- Why the New Zealand Baptists are losing women pastors to the Anglicans
- New Zealand Baptist’s “Paul the Apostle” and lessons we can learn locally from recent missionary journeys.
- Digitize your life in 3 easy steps – go paperless, get rid of file boxes and obsolete things like VHS tapes from your life. How I managed to do this over a 12-month period and how it has changed my life.
- What happens when strangers turn up to your church service? Unwelcome: 50 ways the churches drive away first-time visitors: my review of the book by Jonathan Malm.
- What’s going on with London megachurches that has external funders paying researchers to figure them out?
- Clarifying “relevance” in terms of church and society engagement.
- A theology of communication.
- 200 years since the gospel arrived in New Zealand – what the celebrations seemed to miss.
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I look forward to engaging in these topics with you.
Image: Train from Dhaka to Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh, by Mike Crudge 2014