Archives For New Zealand

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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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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I have surveyed 1079 people asking them to respond to thirteen statements about the church and Christians (in New Zealand). The statements are based on the results of my recent PhD research. There are striking differences between what Christian people think and those who are not Christian, but there are a couple of surprising results that break the usual comparison pattern between these two groups. I believe the information visually shown by the graphs below is of critical importance to 21st century missiology: how the church engages with society.

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In an earlier post I described one way to think of communication as being the establishment of common ground in terms of shared understanding. If there is no common ground, there is an inability to reach shared understanding, which means there will be an inability to communicate effectively. 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…

The issue of Bible classes in New Zealand state schools has been in and out of the media for several years. A week ago parent Roy Warren, through the Human Rights Commission, got religious education classes removed from happening during school time in his son’s Auckland school. I felt the “Christian” viewpoint in my local newspaper last week was inadequate, so I sent in a letter which was published on 22 February.

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I think Roy Warren’s views are fair and reasonable in a post-secularised country that has never had an official religion. While I acknowledge the historical significance of the Christian church in New Zealand, with only 10-15% of the population being active church participants, it is unreasonable to expect society to remain the same or hold to the past to please such a minority. To think otherwise is to maintain a Christendom mindset which I believe is unhelpful in this post-Christendom time. Continue Reading…

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. [Spoken by Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird“, by Harper Lee (1960)]

The quote above and the play on the saying in the heading are known for their attempt at getting us to consider understanding others: people not like me.

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If church people are serious about what some of us call “mission”, or evangelism, or simply any sensible, authentic and transparent connection with Christian spirituality and people not part of the church, we need to consider and apply the type of understand the above quote is getting us to think about. How do people outside your local church context understand the church? …understand your church? Continue Reading…

It’s been a while since I went to a hair dresser. I still remember what it was like. It’s not actually something I miss. My stereotype of hairdressers are people who talk a lot all day with many different people. They have their ear to the ground, their finger on the pulse, and are probably happy to give their opinion about anything (I say that all positively).

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For my doctoral research I interviewed some people who were not what I defined as being Christianised.  I wanted to gain their perception of the Christian church in New Zealand. One of these people was a 30-year-old male hairdresser working in the inner city who was born and grew up in Christchurch.  He had some fascinating thoughts about the Anglican cathedral which was a central icon in the inner city.  This is part of his story:

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