The little church that could

Lisa Wells recently shared this story at the the Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference. The story is of a Hamilton church which is re-imagining its future, and making that future happen.

vision2missionblog

I presented the following paper at the Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference in July 2017.  The conference theme was: “Imagining Home: Understanding, Reconciling and Engaging with God’s Stories Together” and my presentation was of a church PressGo had worked with and helped with funding and its missional journey.

NawtonIntroduction

When church is at its best it is a vital community of believers, called out by God, under the authority of Jesus Christ.  When it is at its worst it is a social club or a historical preservation society. To paraphrase Longfellow’s poem “That Little Girl” – “when [church] is good it is very, very good, and when [it’s] bad it is horrid.” Sometimes we even make church in our own image…

Most of the churches I work with in my role of Mission Catalyst within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand are somewhere between good and bad…

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Church & Change (with help from some visitors) – by Martin Stewart

Here’s an adapted reflection from a sermon I preached at The Village Church, Christchurch on 25 June.  The text was Matthew 10: 24–39.  The context was new buildings coming ready, and some voices wanting to go back to what we once had

As I have thought my way into this week’s reflection I have had a few visitors.

The first was Kobi Yamada and his book What Do You Do With An Idea?  I love the way the book evolves from black and white to full colour as the idea takes hold.  Isn’t that how ideas work out?  They turn up and try to speak into your already fixed view of things.  They are looked at, prodded and poked, often ridiculed, slept on, and either forgotten or picked up. Continue reading

Thank you for an amazing year: 2016 in review

Thank you to all of our readers: 2016 is not quite finished yet, and we have already reached some great milestones here on the Candour blog:

  • the blog reached more people,
  • we have posted more stories,
  • received more comments, and
  • have more followers than in 2015.

These are all good signs – indicators that you are finding the Candour blog useful, so thanks for the endorsement of our work. Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: What can we learn from our statistics? Dr Margaret Galt

New Zealand is WEIRD. We belong to a group of countries that are Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic and which think in a particular way. The acronym WEIRD is apt given how foreign that way of thinking would be to most people– both living and dead.

WEIRD societies see religious belief as an individual preference and see the growth of non-belief as benign. Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: Some theological notes. Steve Taylor

Rejuvenation in the Church: some theological notes

Much of my thinking about a theology of rejuvenation was shaped during the early days of a difficult change process. I was working with a traditional church experiencing steady decline. Expecting resistance, I referred often in my sermons to the numerical decline of the last few decades. After a few months, an older gentleman commented quietly, “It wasn’t all bad you know.”

The comment got me thinking. Were my references to decline working against our shared desire for rejuvenation? Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: To the extent that clergy lead change, there will be no change. Mark Johnston

A church leader wrote to me recently with a nagging question generated by the following excerpt:

“To the extent that clergy lead change, there will be no change……… It is counterintuitive, but when clergy function as innovators, they actually foster a culture that shuts down the innovation of others. My observation in working with countless clergy and congregations Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: Finding ways that don’t work for church by Darryl Tempero

I worry sometimes that I am not failing enough. To discover new ways of being church we need to try new things, which means taking a risk that it might not work. Experimentation and failure are vital – with one major problem, it’s no fun to fail. Do I have the patience or courage to fail? Do we see ‘risk’ as a positive or negative word? Continue reading

Rejuvenation Series: Mission as the Catalyst for Rejuvenation by Lisa Wells

 

It seems so obvious doesn’t it?  A congregation takes their eyes off themselves and opens up to join God in mission in the community and then in this act of love, faith and sacrifice – finds itself transformed.  That’s a good thing, right?

So what stops many congregations from doing just that? I think it’s because it’s too difficult.  Too risky.  To uncertain.  Who know where it may lead?

We struggle to let go of the thought that once “everyone” was part of the church and we were the hub of the community.  We grew by natural reproduction – our members had babies and they “belonged” to the church.  Continue reading