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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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This week Emma the children’s pastor who I work with was commenting on bringing a child to our Sunday church service for the first time and how overwhelming the place seemed for this child. It reminded me of my visit to the London Transport Museum last year, not because it was overwhelming, but because I was having problems figuring out what they wanted me to do.

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I visited the London Transport Museum for a few reasons: Continue Reading…

The heading of this post is the first perception of my list of nine perceptions of the church from people outside of the church. It comes from the idea that spirituality is seen as being outside of religion and Christianity. If you situate yourself within the church, try for a moment imagining being someone outside of the church who has never been Christianised yet has an appreciation of spirituality.

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One person outside of the church that I interviewed articulated a key issue for locating spirituality and religion (Christianity) like this: Continue Reading…

Last week my post Church music: a wicked sin? used a quote from Saint Augustine to support my discomfort with what seems like an over emphasis of singing songs in church services. In this post I continue that theme with a theory that explains why so many people are bored or disinterested in the singalong part of church services, which perhaps even gives reason to why some people leave the church, or why some never fully check-in.

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A theory I have about singing songs in church is that probably about one-fifth of people are actually “worshiping” through this activity we call “worship”. I wonder if this one-fifth are people for whom “Words of Affirmation” are their primary “Love Language”.

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I’ve never really felt comfortable with what seems to be an over emphasis of singing songs in what gets defined as “worship” in church services, and now I’ve found an ally: one of the early church fathers, [Saint] Augustine of Hippo from the 4th century.

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About a week ago I was driving when Radio New Zealand was playing an excerpt from Davinia Caddy’s book “How to Hear Classical Music (The Ginger series).” It was one of those moments that shed light on some of the church service things I think about. Caddy writes:

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Back in January I wrote a post entitled New research shows women can make a difference, which was a reflection based on some research that showed women are under represented as conference speakers, and how this problem could be addressed… I compared the differences between being an egalitarian and complimentarian and why it is important for Christians to think about this.

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A few days ago a colleague and friend here in New Zealand wrote a detailed post on her blog headed up The Church’s Missing Workforce. Thalia confronts the issue of New Zealand Baptist Churches having nearly 40 years (1976) of affirmation of women in church leadership roles, yet in 2014 there are not even 2% of senior or sole pastoral leadership roles in New Zealand Baptist churches filled by women. In this post I respond to Thalia’s post.

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In 2011 there was a devastating series of earthquakes that destroyed a lot of Christchurch New Zealand. Many buildings, including church buildings, have now gone, and insurance companies have paid (or are in the process of paying) large sums of money to building owners to repair or replace what was lost.

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Last week I heard that between the churches in Christchurch there was a total of $400 million in insurance payouts. I wondered what you could buy for $400 million, and it turns out an Airbus A380.

I love planes and travel. During the week I’ve been floating the idea with different people to see how much traction could be gained to buy an A380, below I list the various responses: Continue Reading…

Pastoral work isn’t easily confined, it’s more of a lifestyle than a job. It’s sometimes hard to draw lines between what is work and what isn’t, and in an ideal world these lines probably wouldn’t need to exist. In my experience part-time pastoral work has been much harder than full-time, simply because balancing multiple ‘employment’ demands is more complex than just one.

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I have only had full-time employment for 3 of the last 15 years, so I’m going to self-proclaim myself as a bit of an expert in juggling multiple ‘calls’ on my time. In this post I outline 5 time management tips that help me to feel healthy about work/life balance, free of stress, and full of productivity as well as recreation: Continue Reading…

In 2012 a private members bill was put forward in New Zealand called the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. This was passed in April 2013 allowing same-sex marriage. I believe the dominant church response to this bill in the public sphere was an example of bad communication.

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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. The first one was called Cringe communication #1: Student survey tricksters where I introduce this series and basically say I believe we can improve the communication of the church by eliminating cringe communication.

I want your feedback: do you agree that my example in this post about same-sex marriage is bad communication? Or communicates the church in a bad way to those outside the church. If not why not? Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment. Continue Reading…

Just Church: my review

28 March, 2014 — 4 Comments

Just Church was a conference I attended last week put on by World Vision (NZ), which I promoted online here… In this post I share a few of my thoughts – not so much a comprehensive review, but more about what I’ve been left thinking about.

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To be honest, I was attracted to this event because of my friendship with the organiser: Mark Pierson – I had been to the Just Worship event he put on in 2010 and I thought if Just Church was half as good as that earlier event it would be worth my effort being there. In the promo Just Church was certainly more “World Vision” connected than the Just Worship event had been, and I did wonder if I would be pressured to sponsor a child in Africa every lunch break. This is what happened: Continue Reading…