Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous

Tom Mepham is a first-year ministry intern with KCML and a co-leader of Student Soul, a young adult congregation in Dunedin.

The world as we know it can be understood using the acronym VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

What do each of these words demand of us?

Volatility requires extra margins so that energy, time and resource don’t run out during unexpected crises. Keeping good boundaries should include the (five in this case) cornerstones of the whare: taha wairua (spiritual health), taha whānau (relational health), taha tinana (physical health), taha hinengaro (intellectual health) and taha pütea (financial health) – and probably other areas too.

Uncertainty requires resting deeply in identity. We might not know what the heck is going on, but we can take comfort in the fact that we’re called, empowered and sustained for such a time as this. Also, sometimes offence is the best form of defence. We have the potential and power within us to thrive in this new world.

Complexity requires an adaptive spirit, a fertile and conversational thought-world, and the freedom to move with speed and skill.

Ambiguity requires us to see that we actually don’t have the answers already, and that’s OK. It’s impossible to know what will ‘work’ or not. In an age where precedents don’t exist, we’re to embrace both systematic and spontaneous experimentation. Our mindset must be for adventure; our eyes toward the horizon; our attitude one of bravery.

In a VUCA world we get to be vibrantly and undeniably confident, assured that our best days are ahead of us.

“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 13:4)

“These Hipsters get it right” – Review of The Bible Project by Carolyn Kelly

bible project

The Bible Project is the brainchild of a couple of guys hailing from Portland, Oregon – Jon Collins and Tim Mackie. Collins has digital media and marketing flair (as well as a theology degree), and Mackie is a pastor and biblical scholar at Western seminary. This combination, of biblical scholarship and pastoral grounding in a contemporary form, gets a lot right. Continue reading

A time to Zag – Andrew Norton

Andrew is based in Auckland and the following article is based on reflections spoken at his retirement as senior minister at St Columba in Botany Downs.

Down on the farm my father taught me, when everyone is planting wheat it’s time to plant barley. There is no demand for over-supply.

As I think about this in relation to the church’s unique contribution to today’s society, I see an over-supply of some things and correspondingly an under-supply of others.

The decline of church attendance over the years is not because the church is no longer relevant but exactly the opposite. The church looks in every way, just like our society, it is no different to the world we live in. Continue reading

Pursuing Peace in Godzone – Sharon Ross Ensor

peace 4

Sharon is the Director of the Presbyterian Church Schools’ Resource Office

Some years ago in the congregation where I was minister, we had a ‘home grown’ art exhibition which focused on the theme of peace.

People were invited to create something which conveyed what peace meant for them. The church became an art gallery of sorts for a few days and people appreciated being able to take their time with the poetry, writing, photos, art and handcraft on display, reflecting our faith community’s take on peace. Continue reading

The edge: Awake, Listen! Follow! – Roxy Gahegan

Roxy is the chaplain at St. Cuthbert’s college in central Auckland.

There are three things that have struck me deeply over the last ten years with regards to the teachings of Jesus and the way that we as church organise ourselves and live our faith and life journeys.

First of all, before my ordination training, I took classes in Church history (I had managed to avoid this entirely while studying for my theology degree back in the 90’s), and in one of the books I read, the author observed that even within the first 350 years of the Christian faith – before Constantine can be blamed for institutionalising us and aligning us with power and status – even before that, those who were perceived as heretical – doctrinally questionable or incorrect – were treated violently. Continue reading