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Category: Nature of Worship

Missional Communities

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Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with the Canon Missioner of our diocese discussing the ways in which we develop missional communities. With our involvement in Alt:worship over the past 15 years and having arrived in a new community 3 months ago, Ruth and I have been reflecting on the difference between putting on a ‘show’ and authentic emerging communities and worshippers.

This info-graphic appeared all over Facebook yesterday afternoon as though God decided to taunt me for over complicating my thinking.

The Envisioning Lab

One of the most interesting things I have watch recently is Secrets of the Superbrands – Technology.  I blogged about it briefly when it came out as the view of Apple as a religious phenomenon was fascinating.  However, the programme raised a different question with me related to the other guys.  The uncool guys.  The geeky guys.  Microsoft.

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Microsoft is investing large quantities of its time and its money not on the here and now but on the future.  Microsoft have realised that they are going to disappear if they do not address the disconnect between their brand image and their products.  They are contemplating the “cool stuff” of the future.

Let’s put aside the many prejudices that those who inhabit the internet seem to exhibit whenever Microsoft are mentioned.  Let’s not have the boring “Apple vs Windows” as it isn’t relevant [sorry Linux guys, I don’t have the cognitive capacity to work out how to integrate you into this rumble in cyberspace].  I’m not asking about the issues around marketing that are brought up.  I’m not concerned about the “hipness” of a brand.  I want to know this:

What are the church doing to facilitate their “Envisioning Lab”?  Who is investing in the creative possibilities?  Who is being given the space to push the envelope?  Who is being allowed to think those thoughts?  How is the church investing in “the church of the future”?

Married Because I Mean It

I recently blogged about fresh expressions of wedding.  I was just sent a link to an article about a “rebranding exercise” campaign for SHE Magazine.  If I’m honest, I’ve never heard of SHE Magazine but I was intrigued by what they said about marriage as an act of nonconformity.

If the current perception is that marriage is the ultimate act of conformity, the new campaign aims to shows that actually, today, marriage can be the ultimate act of rebellion and non-conformity. The work plays on the fact that getting married is actually intensely independent; the moment when a couple recognises and welcomes the fact that they only need each other and no one else. Marriage isn’t safe and schmaltzy; it’s defiant and brave.

The key image features a black and white image of a female’s left hand sticking a finger up, as if swearing. On a closer look, it is actually the wedding finger – complete with a gold wedding ring – rather than the third finger, that’s being held up. The end line reads, simply: “Married. Because I mean it.” A range of 6 sheets and 48 sheet executions have been developed, with headlines including: “Don’t want to commit? I do.” and “Don’t want the world to know? I do.”

Well it certainly is provocative.

Fishing Net or Safety Net

I recently blogged concerns about Fresh Expressions moving people from one form of church to another rather than reaching new people.  Share the guide has blogged a brief introduction to a forthcoming grove booklet by Matt Stone asking the question “Are fresh expressions actually being fishing nets and reaching the unchurched, or are they merely safety nets, picking up disenchanted and bored churchgoers?”.  There are some interesting statistics that the study highlights.

Over 87% of those surveyed in every expression, and 100% in three of the expressions, had attended a church before. Hence, they were primarily churched or dechurched, rather than unchurched.

If this is an accurate assessment of Fresh Expressions I have some further questions about the consequences of this. 

  • Is it a problem that Fresh Expressions are reaching the churched or dechurched? 
  • Is this just plugging into the consumerist society in which we are currently living and turning God into a product that we are repackaging?
  • If this is a problem, how can Fresh Expressions more effectively reach the unchurched?

This grove booklet should make some interesting reading.