Tag: steve taylor

Sustainable spiritual collectives

celtic-abbeySteve Taylor* started an interesting conversation about a sustainable spiritual collective.  He even renamed his blog sustain:if:able kiwi.  Fortunately he’s still at the same url, so you can find Steve here under his new nom de plume.  But back to my point.

Steve tackles the missional vs attractional argument in a new way — he offers a new vision, a third choice — sustainable.  He borrows from sustainable agricultural practices and uses those to inform sustainable spiritual collectives (communities) in new ways:

  • Sustainable communities aren’t about coming to church, but participants may still gather for support, encouragement and resourcing.
  • Sustainable communities might not even look new, but they are informed by a new understanding of God’s mission.
  • Sustainable communities could be missional groups, or traditional churches, or other forms that give expression both to our need and God’s mission.

I like what Steve says as he sums up his concept:

In other words …
Sustainable spirituality says “you don’t need to be here”, but some of us will be here, to connect and resource and sustain. Sustainable spirituality will celebrate church as ordinary, singing as everyday and faith as regular. It knows that these situations are findable, and can be hospitable, and become agents of healing. Sustainable spirituality will work hard at creating constant and multiple pathways by which the “out there” is connected and resourced.  

Celtic abbeys were very much like this, I suspect.  A core group of monks or nuns (or both) acted as spiritual directors for an entire community of passersby, new believers, needy travelers, hurting pilgrims, and struggling commoners.  This community was sustainable, not because they all gathered at the same time once a week, but because their lives revolved around the spiritual center of Christ.  

Some attended to worship more than others.  Some worked in the fields more than others.  Some were busy with the economics — the householding — more than others.  But all moved in this glorious dance of interdependence on each other and God, sustained by God’s grace and sustaining the kingdom outpost they called the church.  

I like Steve’s sustainable spiritual collectives.  Not sure if the term will move into popular usage, however.  Just imagine your business card — 

Chuck Warnock, Pastor

Chatham Baptist Sustainable Spiritual Collective

But then, maybe an awkward name like that just might start some conversations all by itself.  

— *Steve Taylor pastors Opawa Baptist Church in New Zealand, and is author of  The Out-of-Bounds Church

Some thoughts to tide you over

The community center is coming along nicely, and we are about 75-days away from getting the keys.  Which means a lot of work ordering furnishings, contacting utility companies, planning the opening, and so on.  All seems to be piling in at once, plus the continuing change-orders, additions, and problem-solving that go with building a 16,000-square foot building.  But, it’s going well, just fast and furious.  Which explains my lack of posts this week.  So, until I get my sermon for Sunday up, here’s some good stuff I’ve been reading:

More later.

Ideas that can change your ministry

From around blogdom, some good ideas that have translation potential for churches:

  1. 20/20 powerpoints — Kevin Kelley points to a new trend among business presenters to limit their presentation to 20-slides that flash for no more than 20-seconds each. Total presentation time: 6-1/2 minutes. Do I hear “sermon” anybody?
  2. Renaming — Seth Godin suggests that human resource (HR) departments change their name to “Talent.” Godin thinks this raises the perception of employees from a commodity (resource) to an integral part of a company’s mission. Churches might want to rename “prospects” or “lost” or other names for outsiders with new names like “friends” or “guests” or “neighbors.” Radical, huh?
  3. Self-supporting ministry — Andrew Jones has written a nice piece on self-supporting ministry, calling on the writing of Henry Venn of a century ago. Jones picks up on the “fourth sector” label, and applies it to ministry today. The church-as-abbey picks up the same idea from Celtic Christian abbeys that sustained themselves, and provided economic benefit to the community they served. Rather than ask for donations, ministry can actually make enough to support its own operation. Remember tent-making?
  4. Spirit2go — Steve Taylor creates worship and art experiences like nobody else. He’s way down there in New Zealand, but what a creative guy. Spirit2go is for Lent this year (okay, I’m a little late getting this up), and was designed for people who don’t come into the church. Check out his stuff, you’ll think differently afterward.
  5. Books — Suzanne posts up a nice list of books for the “small membership” church, which is a term I like, but has too many syllables.

That’s it for today. Let me know what you think of any or all. Be warm and well-fed.