Paul writes – Our family and a couple of good friends went along to Cambridge Baptist to celebrate their 125th anniversary on Sunday; but particularly went to hear Steve and Lynne Taylor deliver the sermon. Both did really well and the sermon DJ’ed, as Steve noted on his blog, “some art by Pete Majendie (Pete was with us and interviewed via DVD about the painting) ; 3 stories; Elijah in 1 Kings 19 ; with 4 graphs of NZ religious trend…which show that Christianity is losing ground in every single age group under the age of 40.” Tom Beaudoin was also in the mix
The variety of medium or layers were DJ’ed (for an expansion on the themes of the sermon see Steve’s book The Out of Bounds Church? Several copies available in Hamilton, if you’re local and reading this) to support what I took as the sermon’s theme (“Walk on…” U2). The challenge offered to Cambridge Baptist was to “walk on…” into the future (to join in on “God’s mission-venture”) rather than retreat to the “good old days” (always an easier option in a church with a large number of older persons).
Pete’s art was fantastic (thanks Pete), all the more so when I got up close to see it – layers over top of a map of Cambridge (Steve has the image on his blog here).
Steve & Lynne made three points in support of them offering to Cambridge Baptist an invitation to “walk on” and learn (or discover):
1. New ways of listening. Where we are is where God speaks to us. “What does it mean for us, in terms of God’s mission, to be right where we are? God speaks to us, often in unexpected ways (God not in the fire etc, but rather in a quiet, whispering voice). God speaking in and through the under 40-year old demographic.
2. A new destination – the culture and language of the under 40’s, the under 30’s and the under 20’s is foreign.
3. Find new partners [new accomplices] that help us journey into God’s future. We need to learn to find new partners in God’s mission-venture.
Feedback (that I picked up on), particularly from younger middle-aged persons reflected a hope that this sermon might provide a good catalyst for change – “this is just what we needed” said one person to me. Another was excited that the organizers had chosen to invite Steve and Lynne when, in their view, “it would have been easy to invite a former minister.”
Aside from passing through Cambridge on their way down to Christchurch, Steve and Lynne were last in Cambridge for an Unconference I organized in 2003. It’s been great to have them here.