Archives For church

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…

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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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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I’ve been living in Howick Village for two months. It’s referred to as a village because the main street is the historical centre of this now highly populated and affluent suburb on the eastern side of Auckland. I took the opportunity as a new person in the area to visit every local church. This post is a story of my experience as a first-timer to each of these church services.

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My comments here are to illustrate “first impressions” that might prompt some pondering about your own church context – so don’t think this is just about Howick Village. At the end I ponder some factors people might consider when choosing a church community to become part of. Continue Reading…

This is my book review of Unwelcome: 50 ways churches drive away first-time visitors, by Jonathan Malm (foreword by Kem Meyer), 2014, published by the Centre for Church Communication, USA. I suspect every church would benefit from something in this book – if you ever get first-time visitors, or you hope your visitors will become part of your church family.

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It’s a short book divided into five sections: First impressions, Worship, Programming, Communication, and The Big Picture, raising mainly practical, and sometimes philosophical issues that can easily be thought about in your own local church context. Continue Reading…

2015 lineup

11 February, 2015 — 8 Comments

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.

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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: Continue Reading…

In August Baptist Research held two mid-winter lectures, one in Christchurch with Stephanie Robson, the other in Auckland with Professor Paul Fiddes. The recordings of these lectures are now available online by clicking the images below. I appreciate these are probably more interesting to people of Baptist persuasion:

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The Resonate website is a storehouse of mainly sermons recorded at many different churches around New Zealand. Baptist Research have a few lecture recordings on Resonate and I list them below:

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This is another post in a series where I give some real-life true stories of what I call cringe communication from the church. Click here for the introduction to this series where I suggest we can improve the communication of the church by eliminating cringe communication.

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One church in New Zealand that often features in the media is the Destiny Church led by Bishop Brian Tamaki. I want your feedback: do you agree that my example below in this post is bad communication? If not why not? Continue Reading…

In my doctoral research I interviewed people outside the church who have never been Christianized. If you’ve read other things in this blog you’ll probably know that there wasn’t a lot of positives in the perceptions people outside the church have of the church. However, some amazing good had been noticed by these people outside the church, and in this post I explain this significant contrast.

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The interviewees noticed some Christians who were committed to the practice of their faith (rather than just belief), specifically: Continue Reading…

This is a guest post from Mark Pierson, author of The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of Worship Leader. He has been a Baptist pastor for decades and is currently the Christian Commitments and Church Relations Manager at World Vision New ZealandLast month I critiqued singing in church services (Church music: a wicked sin? & Majority resort: church singing). In this post Mark introduces his definition of worship:

I’ve decided that the Christian Church is responsible for most of what is going wrong in our world. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and it’s the only conclusion the evidence (admittedly all anecdotal) will let me arrive at.

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In particular it’s the public corporate worship events that the Church offers week after week that are to blame. Church services. These are the events that we depend on for the spiritual formation of the Christians in every church community.

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