« December 2002 Archives »


Nothing Much Happened in 2002

31 December, 2002 2:52 PM

Blew up car engine, studied two subjects, bought new car, married five couples, worked two jobs, went to the Philippines, moved house, did ariel stunts in a tiger moth bi-plane, got married, honeymooned in Bali, got felt up by an old Balinese Woman, came home to a church whose senior minister had left, supervised two interns, turned 30, spent 4-5 weeks in bed with a paralysed face projectile vomitting (lowlight), joined Dreamland (that makes 3 jobs...and counting), preached 40 times(with every tricky topic known to man...from Sex(3 week series) to Hell, to Demons, to Giving, to the 2nd coming just to name a few), spoke on three camps, visited Sydney for conferences twice, directed Spiritual Retreat, started negotiating with BUV to do a church plant, travelled the Great Ocean Rd for a week with V, attended Alan Roxburgh conference, helped moderate GUSH , ran an Ignition group, received approval from BUV to start 'Living Room' in 2003, resigned from DCCC, started blogging and survived Christmas dinner with my parents and inlaws together at the one table!

Hmmm.....I hope next year is a tad more exciting! Happy New Year friends!!!!

Living Room developments

30 December, 2002 4:10 PM

Two developments today. Spent some time developing an info brochure for people interested in joining the Living Room team. I've had a few people interested in the community of late so thought it might be good to put something in their hands that communicates the general 'vibe' and latest developments. It will be a fluid document that changes shape as we discover more together. Will attempt to post it somehow soon....Does anyone know anything about posting documents online? Gee I'm a novice.

Secondly met with another person who I was told might be interested in what we're doing with the new community. She was great value. I was surprised by the similarity of the journeys we've been on in our lives. I came away from the conversation stimulated by the direction of our chatting - out of her own journeying she has made alot of really insightful discoveries about church, life and faith. The conversation itself has been a significant step for me, got me thinking - if she were to come on board I'd be very excited!

Tonight is a night with my family - celebrating birthdays of father, sister, brother and wife all at once! Great times!


30 December, 2002 10:41 AM

Its been over a week since I've had a decent coffee. Why do all the good cafes around our suburb shut between 24th Dec - 6th Jan? Surely people still drink the stuff this time of year? I can feel my spirits falling - instant coffee is just not sustaining me throught the day...you'll probably notice a sharp decline in the sense of my blogging...I may not even make it til the 6th....if not - I hearby leave my blog to Alan, I leave my library to Mark, my web traffic goes to Rachel and well..my best wishes to you all!

Farewell cruel world...

Emerging Church Similarities

30 December, 2002 8:56 AM

Was reading Mike's blog and followed his links to THIS article on characteristics of the Emerging Church at TheOoze by Spencer Burke. As I read, it was as if I was reading my own thoughts - its as if God has downloaded the same thinking into multiple brains. (Matrix Style) Compare Spencers first three points to what I wrote November 29th about the Living Room. Quite bizarre how we're all thinking the same sorts of things!

'New' Communities

29 December, 2002 3:03 PM

Spent a little time surfing today - looking for evidence of the emerging church on the web. Found a few that interest me - they seem to be exploring similar principles to us as we shape Living Room. Its amazing to see the parallel thinking in groups from around the globe. Some of the principles that continue to show up are

-small congregations/cells
-growth through planting new cells - multiplication
-shared life together
-shared disciplines/practices of members

Check out these communities - let me know if you come across others doing the same sorts of things!!

Landing Place
Circle of Hope

Chance meetings

28 December, 2002 9:16 PM

Last week we celebrated V's birthday by going out for dinner to a local cafe. Our waitress was obviously from the US and it was obviously her first night on the job. Despite her best efforts the service from other staff was poor - she was obviously having 'one of those nights'. I felt sorry for her - but obviously not that sorry because she did not enter my mind from the moment we left the cafe until the next night when we saw her trying to borrow a video at the local video shop. Again she seemed to be having 'one of those days'. They wouldn't give her a card because she couldn't prove where she lived. Once again I 'felt sorry' for her - but obviously not that sorry because we walked right on by her in the shop - although she obviously could have done with some support or a friend.

Shortly after I got the guilts - we should have stopped, said hi, asked if we could help. She was obviously new to our area, our country and was probably in need of a friend. Had God perhaps put her in my path twice in 24 hours for a reason? Had I missed an opportunity to show another person compassion? I couldn't get her face out of my mind the next day as I went Christmas shopping the next morning with V. I prayed that if God wanted us to meet her that he'd have to give us another chance. I promptly forgot about her again.

Well of course as we jumped on a tram to come home after shopping there she was, sitting right in front of us. V and I almost laughed as we looked at each other. We promptly introduced ourselves and found that she (Mel) lived at the end of our street, that she was indeed a lonely traveller and was appreciative of someone to talk to. We invited her home for a drink - nothing profound happened - but we promised to keep in touch.

Maybe God didn't trust us to give her a call - because yesterday on the tram home from watching the cricket - there was the smiling face of Mel again. Four chance meetings in a city of over 3 million people in 5 days! Last night she came for drinks and ended up stayed for dinner. Again the conversation was not 'profound', but it deepened. I don't know why we keep bumping into her, we may never - but for me its been a lesson in looking for what God is doing in the ordinary interactions and places of life. In the cafes and video shops and on the trams - places where its so easy to be self absorbed - yet places where God often nudges us and provides opportunities to connect with his other children. Its also been a lesson in the patience and grace of God - even slow coaches like me get included in his plans

I wonder where we'll meet Mel tomorrow!?

Inflatable Church

28 December, 2002 11:51 AM

Presenting the worlds first Inflatable Church! Available for purchase or rental, this church can be brought to a vacant piece of land near you!

'This fantastic air filled building is 47ft long by 25ft wide & 47ft high. The attention to detail is heavenly complete with plastic "stained glass" windows, airbrush artwork which replicates the traditional church. Inside it has an inflatable organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and a gold cross. Even the doors are flanked by air-filled angels. The church can be built in three hours and dis-assembled in less than two'

This could revolutionise missional church. No longer will we expect people to have to come to us, we can just pick up and go straight to them! Its a step towards incarnational mission...

Its not that different to alot of churches I've visited over the years though....must take plenty of hot air to keep it going!

On the up side - no more long and torturous building projects!

Meet the guru

27 December, 2002 8:24 AM

Our team blog, Stinky Convoluted Past , welcomes Alan Hirsch into its blog team. Al is the head of Forge (my boss at Dreamland - so please leave lots of nice comments after his posts telling him how great I am!) He's one of the foremost thinkers on missional church in Australia and around the world. He's a sought after speaker and writer - one of the deepest thinkers I've come accross and a hero of mine!

Hell Insurance

26 December, 2002 9:16 PM

Get your insurance against Hell here.

I wonder how many policies they've sold!

Bowling for Columbine

26 December, 2002 8:50 PM

Saw this frighteningly funny film this lazy Boxing Day. What an amazing journey Michael Moore takes the viewer on as he wittily examines the American love affair with firearms. A number of scenes left me chilled to the bone.

- a clever collage of five or so decades of US (CIA) involvement in in a variety of rising and falling of governments and dictatorships around the globe, complete with graphic and violent imagery juxtaposed with Louis Armstrongs' What a wonderful world'. Go here for a text version of the info.

- interview with NRA spokesperson, Charlton Heston, making allusions to the US's ethnic diversity as being a contributing factor to the over 11,000 gun related killings per year.

- in stark contrast to Heston's inverview - insightful comments from shock rocker Marilyn Manson. His comments on 'Fear and Consumption' hit me hard. He talked of being made a scapegoat after the Columbine high school shootings and asked the question whether maybe the blame rested upon a the violent actions of the US government in Kosavo at the time.

- the skewed portrayal of black males in the media.

In particularly I've found myself thinking on the theme of FEAR this afternoon. The past year has been one in which I've noticed a marked rise in levels of Fear in this country and across the Western world. Moore challenges us to think about the roots of this fear and points the finger at the media and those in power as using fear for their own good. He also shows some of the results of fear and leaves the movie gazer wanting to do something about it.

This graphic and moving documentary has no doubt caused a few waves and will have sparked many conversations. I'd highly recommend a look. Interested to hear the comments of others who have seen it?

Happy Christmas

25 December, 2002 9:27 AM

At last I feel like its Christmas - which is sort of lucky, because it is! I think last nights Carols service at Blackburn tipped me into feeling jolly about the whole thing at last.

Woke up this morning for the first time on Christmas morning with my very own family! (I guess having a wife qualifies you for saying you have a family - no kids yet) We exchanged the gifts we'd got for each other, although we'd both actually seen what we were getting already as we'd decided to go choose our own presents this year. I got clothes, the world will be seeing a new look Darren this next year!

DCCC had a 9am service which was packed. I did random interviews with congregation member about 'why Christmas was special' for them. Twas a good service. Short but sweet. Now its back home for brunch with V's dad, then off to lunch with her mum and dinner with my folks! I'm going to be bursting at the seems. Anyway - have a great day my fellow blogging family! Happy Christmas!!!


24 December, 2002 2:38 PM

Have you seen these? Can't guarantee their accuracy, but whether or not they are spot on, they do make some fairly telling commentaries on the world we live in.

In particular I was struck by Population, Food Supply and Health.

Brings things a little more into perspective as we celebrate tomorrow. Thanks Presurfer for the link.


24 December, 2002 2:24 PM

Busken Bakery Site advertisment. Turn your volume up loud and let this play on repeat for a couple of minutes - feel your blood pressure rise....


24 December, 2002 11:41 AM

Spent some time giving Stinky a fresh look with Mark this morning.

Also changed counter for both sights as the old one was slowing page loading down terribly. Sorry for those who experienced delays or not being able to log on at all. Hopefully things will be better now.

International Conversations

24 December, 2002 9:01 AM

Spent more time with Ian Mobsby yesterday - thanks so much to Steve Taylor who put me onto him! The blogging has already paid off for me having met Ian through blog contacts.

We spent more time talking through the issues of emerging church in our two countries. It seems that there is a lot more politics going on in the UK. So far I've felt relatively free from that here in Melbourne. Perhaps I'm naive, but I've received incredible and generous support from two mainline denominations as I've explored the idea of planting a new type of church over the past year or so.

I think there is a realization among many denomination heads here that if we don't start to birth new types of communities soon then the church runs the risk of continuing its steady 'decline'. As a result of this thinking denominations here are putting up money for 'experimental' projects and communities and are providing legitimacy and support networks for those of us taking on the challenge.

I didn't realize how unique a position we are in until talking with Ian and a couple of others this week via email. It seems that in many places around the world that some denominations are not even at the point of acknowledging that the church is in decline despite the evidence being to the contrary in many western countries.

What is the relationship between 'emerging church' and the more long term 'mainline' (I don't like that word...) churches in your region?? How does this affect what you are trying to achieve??

I'm Pregnant

22 December, 2002 7:45 PM

Its true - and you are pregnant too!!!! We all are!

In preparation for preaching tonight I found myself reading Luke 1:26-38 - Mary is confronted with an angel bringing the news of her pregnancy with Jesus. Quite the day for young Mary, not only does she meet an angel, but she finds out that she's pregnant with God's baby! What pressure!

As I read the story I felt that the message God gave Mary through the angel is the same message that he was giving me and my congregation for today. We are pregnant with Jesus. God has placed something of himself in each of us. We were knitted together in his image - his fingerprints are all over us. Many of us are able to lable the seed he's put in us as a 'relationship with Jesus' or 'faith' or even 'spirituality'. Others perhaps can't name it, but may have inklings about it. When we look at a sunset, or watch the waves crash in at the beach, or perhaps even as we gaze into the heaven or eyes of a new born. We may not have the language to describe our feeling, but we just 'know' that God is present with us.

So there is something of God within us, something of Jesus. We are pregnant in a sense with him. I believe that what he's put in us is designed to grow. As a baby does so too does faith. Babies needs nurturing, food, care and protection - as does our faith. This Christmas we need to allow our 'pregnancy' to progress, to feed our faith (and not just our stomachs), to build it up and to take time from the busyness of this season to connect with our maker.

But Mary didn't just stop at being pregnant. 9 months later she gave birth to Jesus. In a very physical way she birthed the one that had been growing within her. She introduced him into her culture, her context. She brought him into the relationships that she had. She showed the world to him and showed him to the world. In a sense Mary was the first missionary, presenting Jesus to her context.

I got the sense as I prayed this week that we too are called not only to nurture our 'pregnancy', our relationship with Jesus - but also to give birth to it in a sense. To not just leave faith as an insular me and God thing, but to introduce him to our world - to release him in our context.

Our world needs people like Mary right now. Turn on the news at night and you'll see it on a global level. We need people willing to 'give birth to Jesus' as we face issues of war, terror and conflict. But it is also needed on a very individual and local level too. You'll see it if you look carefully. When you walk through your neighborhood or watch and talk to your neighbors. The people around us need people like Mary who are willing to 'give birth to Jesus' in their own local context.

Our world doesnt need people to shove Jesus down throats, to bible bash - rather it needs people to 'birth' him through living lives like the one he set as a model. It needs people willing to have relationships like the ones he had. It needs people willing to speak the message that he brought, to touch the people he touched and to stand up to injustices that he stood up against. In this way, in our own contexts we have the opportunity to 'give birth' to Jesus every day. In this way we begin to fulfill the call for us to be 'his body' and in the process take steps towards meeting some of the incredible needs of this world.

I'm told the birthing process is a painful experience. I have no doubt it is on a physical level (I belive you mum!) but it can also be painful to 'birth Jesus' in our context. Its often not easy.

But the birthing process is also one that brings 'LIFE' - to a child, to its parents and to the friends and family around them. This is true for when people 'birth Jesus' also. Life will result - people (including us) reach our potential and discover what living is all about.

This Christmas lets nurture our 'pregnancy'. Lets strengthen the faith that grows within us. But lets also be willing to birth it - to release the faith that we have - to impact the world we live in.

Monkey's clones

22 December, 2002 1:45 PM

Preach it Punk Monkey!!!

A question for Emerging Church practitioners!!!

21 December, 2002 4:29 PM

One of the biggest things on my mind as I look at 2003 with reference to 'Living Room' is 'who'?

Let me put it in terms of a hypothetical - If you were about to start a new experimental church and you could have your pick of anyone to join - what type of people would you be searching/praying for to be among the first to form a core team? What character attributes and experiences would they have? Who would you avoid initially (if any?)? What type of commitment would you ask from them?

Tipping Point

21 December, 2002 4:28 PM

Reading more of the Tipping Point again this morning (for my previous thoughts on it go here) and again found myself connecting the ideas there to starting new churches. In particular I was drawn to his ideas about how epidemics often spread out of small networked small groups rather than super large ones. The idea is that 150 is about as many as can be in an effective organisation or community. Once a group goes over that it is inevitable that smaller 'clans' will begin to develop within it as it becomes impossible for members to maintain relationships (or to even know) with all others in the group. This is why most armies keep units of soldiers to under this number, likewise anthropologists have found that this is the average number of many tribes of indigenous people groups around the world.

His thesis seemed to be that if you want to start an idea epidemic, then one of the strategies that would help it to be successful would be to utilise small communities or groups. He gave examples of when groups splitting into two when they got to the magical 150. Through this they were able to sustain real growth.

This fits with alot of my thinking of late when it comes to Church. My experience of churches has been largely with two communities who in my observations have struggled a little with getting much larger than this magical 150 number of committed members. New people come regularly and even join, but there is also an outward flow as people move on to other local congregations. Churches have to find new and creative ways and models of growth if they are to be sustainable and take seriously the mission that we've been left with to make disciples.

Its my desire that Living Room be an entity that retains its smallness and which grows through multiplying and spawning new communities of faith - not the only feasible approach to the problem I'm sure, but one I'm committed to move towards. Any thoughts my friends?

UK conversations

21 December, 2002 4:01 PM

Yesterday Al and Mark (from Forge/Dreamland) and I caught up with Ian Mobsby formally of epicentre UK for coffee and conversation. It was a really worthwhile time of hearing stories, asking questions and sharing dreams for Emerging Church. As a relative Newbie to EC it was great to sit at the feet (figuratively thank goodness) of these three guys who between them have 30+ years of experience of 'doin it'.

Am catching up with Ian Monday to talk more specifically - want to pick his brain a bit from the direction of our plans with 'Living Room'. I have so many ideas, yet relatively little idea of where to from here!?!

Seasons Grind?

20 December, 2002 2:08 PM

Does anyone else find it difficult to come up with fresh ways of communicating some of the 'annual' gospel topics?

I'm not trying to be controversial, just honest - Every year I wrestle with the Christmas messages that I am asked to prepare for in my preaching. Its not that the story is boring or has not connecting points for the culture we live in - rather I sometimes feel the pressure to come up with some creative, new way of presenting it.

Christmas services at DCCC get some of the biggest turn outs for the year. As I gaze down on the congregation this week I know that I'll be speaking to hundreds of people, each of whom will have heard the 'age old message' tens, if not hundreds of times!

The agendas of those sitting in the pews will be varied

- Some will be out on their annual pilgrimage to get their once a year 'hit' of Christ. They are their to catch the 'spirit of Christmas' - not really to hear me talk, but rather to connect with other 'annual pilgrims' and to sing Carols.

- Others will have been dragged along by our more regular attenders. The 'Draggers' will be hoping that something in my words will help their backslidden children, friends or neighbors to 'see the light'. The 'Draggees' will be looking for the first opportunity for escape from the bizarre wonderland they've found themselves in.

Throw into the mix the normal collection of weekly attendees who between them want everything from modern day parables, to 6 point exegesis's, to postmodern powerpoint presentations and sermons relevant to everyone from the ages of 3 to 99!

Ok, so I'm making myself sick - the hyperventilation has begun....

Christmas a time for family, friends, fun, reflection, giving and peace - I wonder how many other preachers are out there rocking in the fetal position this week?

Church Brew

20 December, 2002 1:01 PM

Quite the discussion brewing at this forum on Do we need a new name for 'Church'?

Missing Links

20 December, 2002 10:58 AM

I've lost my archives and the posts in my 'Entries that got attention' section seem to be dead. Anyone got any ideas about where they may have gone?

Life Lessons

19 December, 2002 9:53 PM

Everyday is filled with little 'life lessons' - today I learnt a few:

- If you stand in a big tin shed all day on a 30 degree (celcius) day - your head begins to spin after four hours, after six hours you'll try to lick a phone when you answer it instead of talk to it and after eight hours - well after eight hours you really shouldn't try to explain the little missional community you are planting to the conservative owner of the company that you work as a second job. (it will and can only ever sound like you are attempting to start a cult and are currently looking for vulnerable memebers to seduce and steal money from!)

- Tuna fishermen have big hands - they will crush yours when they greet you with a hand shake - especially after eight hours work in a tin shed on a 30 degree day.

- Don't promise to ring someone on their internationally roaming UK mobile phone number without checking to see if your local mobile phone will allow you to make such calls. Don't ask your boss what the international calling code for the UK is - even if you don't intend to use a work phone to make the call - it doesn't look good!

- Bananas don't last well on the front seat of your car - especially on 30 degree days.

- Don't poke Tuna fishermen in the eye with the pointy grass like parts of your wifes flower arrangement, especially just before you have to shake his hand goodbye at the end of a day from hell!

Lets hope I don't learn so much tomorrow....

Strange bloggin times

18 December, 2002 10:33 PM

21 days ago I decided to catalogue (through blogging) the story of 'Living Room' as it was born. I decided to do so for my own sanity (I needed a place to think outloud) and I wanted a place online to send prospective members for some of my latest thinking.

I'd not really seen any blogs before and knew nothing about how or why people kept them. None the less I began to write my thoughts in the hope that as I did something would emerge that might be of some use in our new venture. Little was I to know the strange things that would happen in the days that followed.

Since that time many strange and wonderful emails have filtered into my humble inbox. I've been amazed by the variety of people that I've 'met' (virtually), the conversations that I'm engaging in and the things that I'm learning. I've got newfound mates from most states in Australia, from New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, the US, Canada and more. Many of them call themselves 'bloggers', some seem a little offended by the title - but 'commentate' none the less. Some seem learned they use words I have to look up and talk of books in the pile of unread cutting edge material that grows next to my bed, some are hilariously funny - quite happy to take the mickey out on themselves and each other, others are asking questions or for my opinion (do I come accross as someone who has a clue?? If so - how? I wish my bible college lecturers thought so!) and others seem kind of like me - average punters who just want to say hi, to connect and to say that they too are thinking along similar lines. There seems to be such a growing number of us who are realising that the mainline church of today just isn't cutting it, who want to make a difference and who are searching for new and meaningful ways to connect the person and message of Jesus with the cultures we find ourselves in.

I'm not sure why people are here - reading my inadequate words - I don't feel I've done enough, know enough or am the kind of guy people would log onto to read the words of.... In fact some days I feel quite the opposite, a broken and uninspiring type....

All I can say is thankyou for the kind words - thanks for the generous welcome to the 'community' that you (we?) bloggers seem to have. I'm honored by the acceptance, the encouragement and especially for those of you who've gone out of your way to say hi and who seem to want to be a mate. Lets keep talking and bouncing ideas around - and lets keep each other honest too, keep each other from just talking about it and inspire one another to 'do it'.

B'Day for V2Day

18 December, 2002 4:37 PM

My wonderful partner celebrates the day of her birth today! For the first time ever I woke up and was able to say happy birthday to my wife - what a 'strange' feeling is that!!! (its not that i've been away on her b'day in past or that we sleep in different beds.....but rather we've only been married 9 months...takes a little while to get used to something like that!)

So happy birtday my lovely V!!!! You are the most amazing person I've ever met - I learn something new from you every day, about you, about me, about life and about God. You inspire me and I love you so much!!!


18 December, 2002 4:32 PM

What a strange feeling I had today when I realised I couldnt access the net at either work or home! How reliant (addicted?) am I when my feel my pulse begin to race when I can't check email or surf my daily blog list???

What is this strange world I woke up in today?


18 December, 2002 4:29 PM

had a good time with Mark, Kel, Steve and Kamahl today. There are some exciting things opening up for us in the new year. Most are 'in the cone of silence', but are going to mean a busy year for us all. I really do enjoy hanging with those people. Its great to be in such regular contact with people who not only think in missional ways, but who are also 'doin it'. To be a part of Dreamland you have to be a practioner of what we are on about. I think that's a great criterior - there are too many people around the traps talkin the talk, but not walkin the walk. I come home from Dreamland meetings inspired every time! (also with a caffine and lolly headache!)

Mutual Admiration Society

17 December, 2002 12:25 PM

Thanks to Richard and Andrew for your links and generous kind words. Your sites are on my daily visit list too! (Note to self - get some of those orange glasses - I think they'd match my slightly orange hair well)

empty narcissistic echolalia

17 December, 2002 11:06 AM

Mark writes a potent reminder to bloggers everywhere on the STINKY blog. Couldn't have said it better myself so I'll quote him -

"In a world of spin and novelty there is a real danger that we can become a community that sends articles that talk about trends and social phenomenon that we share and critique and talk about and read the latest book/blog/article etc and lose track of any real connection with grassroots mission. We face a danger of hyperlinking ourselves to an empty narcissistic echolalia. We face the danger of becoming a community of amateur christian sociologists." Go here for the rest!


16 December, 2002 4:04 PM

Just tweaked my template and learnt some new html code in the process. I'm not expert as anyone will be able to tell, however thought it was worth making things a little fresher. Inspiration for the colours came from our wedding invitations which seems to be a big hit with our friends.

Anyone with any web design clues - feel free to comment/suggest/critique

Sermon Salad

15 December, 2002 7:30 PM

Tonight's FESTival service has just finished and I felt it went well. It was the last one for the year.

I preached on Hebrews 11:19-26. It was a 5 Lettuce Sermon following the 5 "let us" references in the passage. I actually used real lettuces as a visual to help people remember my points.

In brief it went a little like a this....

Lettuce 1 - Let us enter into the presence of God - do we take the ability to do this for granted? Those of us who've grown up in church often take it for granted, we know nothing else. The original readers of this passage might have felt a little difference having had to rely on a High Priest to do it for them. The challenge is to open and use the gift of being able to enter into the Holy of Holies and not just leave it unopened and unused. What a waste it would be for SUPERMAN not to use his strength, his ability to fly, his x-ray vision - what a waste it is for us not to enter into Gods presence as is our privledge, right and responsibility.

Lettuce 2 - Let us hold onto the hope that we profess for he who promised is faithful. In the midst of an often hopeless world we need to hold onto the hope we have in Christ. The promises he makes are amazing and true - the challenge is to hold onto them in those dark times. And when we can't to allow those around us to do it for us. I love that this is not written to individuals, its not 'Let You', its 'Let US'...faith is an US thing, not an ME or YOU thing.

Lettuce 3 - Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. The call is to inspire those around us to mission, to have an impact on our world. Again, the call to mission is not just an individuals call, its our call. YOU have a responsibility here to spur ME on to outbursts of love and good deeds, to make a difference in the place I find myself. I have the same responsibility to spur you on! We're not in it alone.

Lettuce 4 - Let us not give up meeting together. Again - its when we meet and travel together that faith comes alive. Where two or three of us gather in his name JESUS is there among us. I don't believe in faith for the individual - sure, at its essence it is a personal decision - but in its outworking I don't believe its meant to be.

Lettuce 5 - Let us encourage and warn one another. Same message really - although to be able to WARN someone and have them take notice of your words you really need to be in a pretty good relationship with that person. To me this speaks of being in close, loving community.

Here endeth tonights word of the Lord....be encouraged my friends!!!

Preaching - a waste of time??

15 December, 2002 4:01 PM

Sunday again - spent most of today preparing for a sermon for tonight at FESTival at DCCC. Hmmm - I love to preach, but in the back of my head has been the question all day 'is preaching a relevant form of communication for today?' Honestly - I don't know....might have to ponder this some more...after tonights sermon!!!

What do you think?

About This Site

14 December, 2002 9:26 PM

Is this your first time to this site? If so welcome to the LivingRoom. Pull up a bean bag, grab a coffee and stay a while.

My name is Darren Rowse. I live in Melbourne Australia. If you want to know more about me click here.

What is this Website?

You are currently reading a blog. In short a blog is an online journal or diary. They are usually written by one person and are updated pretty regularly. Blogs are usually written on a particular topic - there are blogs on virtually any topic you can think of. From photography, to spirituality, to recipes, to personal diaries to hobbies.

There are literally millions of blogs in existence at the moment. If you want more info on blogging and how to start a blog read this article or check out my own Blog Tips.

My blog 'LivingRoom' is a pretty general one that covers all kinds of topics from Spirituality, Technology, Culture, Emerging Church through to Blogging, Movies and Australiana.

How do I read it?

You are currently deep in the middle of my blog on an individual entry page. It is a simple entry on one topic only. To get to the main part of my page click on the Home link at the topic of this page to go to the front page. Most people surf into the front page which contains the most recent updates. At the top of that page is the last thing I wrote and under that are entries from the last week.

Each blog entry is followed by some text that looks like this - 'Have your say? >> Comments (4)'. This is an invitation for you to interact with what I've just written. I read every comment that you post. The number in brackets is how many people have already made comments. Click on the link and you'll be taken to a new window where you can make a comment. You do not have to leave a name, email or web address to leave a comment.

The front page only has the last 7 days entries on it. I have been doing this since November 2002 so there is a lot more material than what you see on the front page. To view older material there are a few options.

At the top of every page is a number of links. Click on the Archives link and you will be taken to a page listing every entry since the beginning of this blog. They are arranged in catagories.

If you are searching for something in particular there is a search option in the side bar on the front page that allows you to search for words or phrases.

At the end of each entry is a reference to a Category that they entry belongs to. If you click on this it will lead you to the last 30 entries from within the same category.

If you have any question please or would like to know more about me or this blogging thing please feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

About LivingRoom

14 December, 2002 9:25 PM

Living - Possessing life; In active function or use; Of persons who are alive; Full of life, interest, or vitality; True to life; Room - A space that may be occupied; Area separated by walls from other similar parts of the building in which it is located; People present in such an area; Living Room - A space for life

What is the Living Room?
The Living Room is a new experimental church that was birthed by the Baptist Union of Victoria and the Yarra Baptist Churches Network into the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne Australia at the beginning of 2003.

Who are we?
The Living Room is currently a small group of people living 'a bike ride' away from one another in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. We range in age from 10 through to our late 30's. We are diverse in both the variety of occupations and courses of study that we are involved in and our previous experiences of church yet we are united in our passion for Jesus and our desire to explore what it means to be followers of him in postmodern Melbourne.

The shape of the Living Room is still emerging and is likely to remain liquid in its form but to this point three broad core values have surfaced as follows:

The Inner Journey � Connection with Christ
a commitment to develop spiritual formation of members. Through culturally relevant and creative forms of prayer, reflection, engaging with Scripture, learning and worship Living Room seeks to create an environment where people grow in their own relationship with God.

The Outer Journey � Connection with our World
a commitment to encourage and resource members on a journey of service justice and mission to others. Living Room seeks to both provide opportunities for corporate mission and to support and resource individuals in their own daily mission. We seek to keep in balance our call to be counter cultural but also Incarnational and Relational in our outward journey.

Together Journey � Connection with One Another
a commitment to travel the inward and outward journeys in community. Living Room seeks to develop inclusive community through, hospitality, inspiration from Scripture, shared life disciplines and intentional involvement in one an others lives.

Localised Focus
In beginning to unpack the implications of these journeys we have come to the decision that we would like Living Room to be localised in its focus. A decision has therefore been taken that at present we would like all core participants to live in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. Whilst this will exclude some we believe it will enhance our ability to develop community (together journey) and also will make our call to mission more focused.

Our Gatherings
Living Room currently meets largely in the homes of its members over a weekly evening meal. The form of these gatherings is generally very different in 'feel' and 'content' to most Churches worship services � but they have the same intentions at their heart and aim to develop our 'Three Journeys'. These times include periods of prayer and reflection, discussion, sharing and teaching. For more info see this blog entry on a typical Tuesday night gathering.

It is our hope that these times do not have a purely inward focus but rather resource us for life in the 'real world'. It is also our intention that in future gatherings may also happen in other spaces such as cafes, galleries and other public spaces as we attempt to engage with our local community.

Significant Relationships
The Living Room is not a community that has been set up in isolation. We are aware of our need for fellow travellers on the journey in which we have embarked and foster the following relationships.

  1. The Baptist Union of Victoria is a major supporter of our group both in an initial financial way but also with practical support and accountability.
  2. The Living Room has been birthed into the Yarra Baptist churches network. In particular the communities at North Carlton and Abbotsford (St Lukes) have been most supportive and inclusive to us.
  3. Forge/Dreamland are informal partners with Living Room through the involvement that Darren has in both groups. Forge is a missional training network who has a lot of experience in innovative mission and church planting. Whilst the relationship between Living Room and Forge is informal in nature � it will provide a wealth of experience to this new community.
  4. Who is Darren Rowse?
    Darren is the team leader of the Living Room. He is 31 years of age. He is married to Vanessa and currently lives in North Fitzroy. Darren has been working for the past two and a half years as a young adults minister at Doncaster Community Church of Christ. Previously he managed the band 'Corazon' as it toured nationally doing high school evangelism in 1999 and was employed for four years as youth pastor at Glenbervie Baptist.

    Darren is currently completing his Bachelor of Theology at Whitley College and completed an internship with Forge in 2001. He also works as an associate for Forge/Dreamland one day per week. He feels that he is called to develop new forms of community in the inner north of Melbourne and is excited by the birth of the Living Room. Darren is a creative thinker, gifted communicator and has a growing passion for relevant mission to young people.

    If you would like more information on the Living Room project please email us.

About Darren

14 December, 2002 8:41 PM

I am Darren Rowse - welcome to my personal blog. I live in Melbourne Australia where I fill my days with a variety of activities. I'm married to 'V' and we live in the inner Northern suburbs of this wonderful city.

I head up a small team of people who are planting an experimental church in the inner North of Melbourne called the LivingRoom.

I am also currently undertaking a research project for three Victorian denominations into the emerging missional church. This is a two day per week role that puts me into some pretty interesting contexts from day to day.

I also have a small business that focusses largely upon a number of blogs that I work on as owner or part owner. These include:



The other part of my business focusses upon speaking. I communicate regularly at camps, churches, community groups, schools, weddings etc.

I also enjoy photography, apple macs, pop culture, reading and anything to do with good food and coffee.

I'd love to hear from you if you want to make contact using my Contact Form which will deliver your thoughts directly to my inbox. I can't guarantee a quick answer (some days the inbox takes me hours to clear) but you can be assured i read every email personally.

Stumbled upon Levi's table on

14 December, 2002 2:44 PM

Stumbled upon Levi's table on the web - some of what I'm sensing the Living Room will look like seems to already be happening here - good stuff! Might have to get in touch.

The Japanese discover Alt. Worship - Greek wedding style!

14 December, 2002 8:45 AM

Was just channel surfing on the old TV - saw a little report from Japan about a new restaurant that is doing booming business. Its normal except for one aspect - after the meal those eating can pay an extra 5 yen (just a few cents) to go out the back of the shop and smash their plate. These normally well behaved and quiet Japanese restaurant patrons are given a marker to write whatever the plate represents before they smash it. Quite a liberating process if the restaurants success is anything to go by!

Sounds like a crazy combination of a Greek Wedding meets alternative worship experience - maybe we should try it this week at church....I can just envisage our congregations all lining up to piff the communion glasses and plates (complete with names of annoying friends, family and workmates) into the baptistry!

What is Ignition?

13 December, 2002 12:37 PM

Couple of people have asked me about the 'Ignition' resource I mentioned a few posts back - the interest in it here in Australia seems to be really gaining momentum. Looks like a number of churches will be running it with small groups and congregations in 2003. A number of groups have already been running it.

Ignition is a resource we've developed at Dreamland that is designed to be used in small groups to get people thinking missionally. It is a 12 week walk through Acts and is easily self run by the group. I'm running a group currently and really am enjoying it myself. Am seeing real growth among the group also.
I'd be happy to supply more info on content or where to get one if you'd like to shoot me an email or leave a comment.

update - Ignition is now available for purchase online at the dreamland shop.

Just finished a review of

13 December, 2002 12:24 PM

Just finished a review of 'Multiplying churches' to be posted on Phuture - will notify when its up and readable.


13 December, 2002 11:41 AM

Had email from Kerstin this morning with a question that made me stop and think for a few minutes. Was one of those very simple questions that actually makes you stop and evaluate what track you are on. She asked - "What made you passionate about reaching the "lost" generation of Australia?"

I answered: When I look around me in the streets of the inner city where I live and see a whole heap of young adults - most of whom would never set foot in a church. They are spiritual beings - very - searching for answers. But they see the church in Australia as totally irrelevant.

The demographics in Australian of church attendees show a Huge hole - 18-35's are missing.

I desire to make an impact upon this demographic. On a local level through our little community, but also on a national and global level through working with Dreamland/Phuture.

That's the brief answer. What about you? What are you passionate about???

Watch me Grow my Beard

12 December, 2002 7:55 PM

Watch me Grow my Beard - a study on male grooming. The latest cutting edge blog! Enjoy

Rachel has got me thinking again

12 December, 2002 5:02 PM

Rachel has me thinking again in her Success postWhy do we get so caught up in measuring success by the worlds standards of success?? NOTE TO SELF - blog something on "Multiplying Churches" - edited by Stephen Timmis and Co. This is an amazing little book that presents another way of growing the kingdom - through multiplication (ie churches planting churches that plant churches that plant churches) rather than through addition (ie churches growing one convert at a time)

Easy to do the mathematics and work out which is more successful. The story that always gets trotted out to illustrate this point is the legend of the invention of Chess.

The Emperor of India put the call out to his subjects that he wanted a new game invented and that there would be a reward for the inventor of the best one. An old man came to him with Chess - after showing him the game and looking at the other inventions CHESS was declared the winner. The Emperor was so exultant over the invention of chess that he offered the inventor anything he wanted in the kingdom. The inventor thought for a minute and then said, "One grain of rice, Your Majesty."

"Just one grain of rice?"

"Yes, just one grain of rice on the first square of the chess board, two grains of rice on the second square, four grains of rice on the third square," and so on. Each sqare got double the grains of rice that the last square had. Doesnt sound like much of a prize til you do the math!

The Emperor goes bankrupt because 2to the 64th power (2 to the 64 squares in the chessboard, 2 to the 64 grains of rice) is 18 million billion grains of rice. At 10 grains of rice per square inch of rice fields, that would mean that the entire surface of the earth would have to be covered with rice fields two times over, oceans included.

The point is that the strategy of growing the Church one person at a time is good - but if we could just harness the multiplication theory and set up communities of faith that would reproduce themselves we'd be onto a pretty good thing! Just a thought....

Leadership 101

12 December, 2002 4:30 PM

Reflecting upon some of Alan Roxburgh's speaking today as I worked. He talked about quite a few things, but one that stuck in my head was a new model of leadership that is emerging in the business world. The 'experts'...(what makes someone one of these anyway!?) have found through much research that the days of the old top down, power driven, making them shake in their boots style of leadership are over.

Instead - a new style of leader is coming to the fore - these are the people that are currently leading the worlds most successful and sustainable businesses - they are often quiet, humble, encouraging types - who get alongside their employees and work with them - encouraging them to do their best. They often work behind the scenes and shy away from being seen 'at the top' grabbing for power.They seek to serve and make those under them succede - they are happy when others do well.

Reminds me of someone

Havn't read Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership yet, but John from my Ignition group said its pretty much about the same thing and a book that he's passing onto some of his MBA students.

Interesting pic from Richard Bott's

11 December, 2002 11:04 PM

Interesting pic from Richard Bott's blog

quite the contrasting image collision

Family times...

11 December, 2002 10:54 PM

Had a fun night with the family tonight - it was our Christmas dinner as on the day we'll be in various places. It was great to connect with them - we've all had pretty full on years.

Made me realise tonight as we've talked just how much we've all been through. Loads of changes, jobs, relationships, travel, moving, marriage just to name a few things.

I'm feeling tired and in need of a new year to kick in! Strange how just the change from one year into the next can bring some freshness to one's outlook!

Group Blog

11 December, 2002 3:05 PM

As Dreamland we have decided to do a group blog. Mark and Stephen must have been drinking alot of caffine yesterday cause the name for it is....

Wait for it....

Stinky Convoluted Past

There isnt heaps there yet - but I think it'll be a valuable source of information and reflection and add a new dimension to our E-Zine Phuture.


11 December, 2002 2:17 PM

Spent morning with the nutters - Stepen and Mark from Dreamland. As always - fun times were had - mingled with Dreamland talk. Numerous projects are under way - we seem to be entering a bit of a phase of writing resources again. Ignition has just entered its second print run - its an amazing resource that we've just launched that helps small groups of people to think about and explore MISSION! If you want more info on how to get a copy just shoot me an email.


10 December, 2002 9:06 PM

If you had say one thing that you found difficult or embarressing about Christianity what would it be?

I was listening to a Christian speaker last year talk about an interaction that his Christian group at college had in England.

They were asked to engage in a public debate with a group of 'pagans'. Instead of having to argue for the positives of their own belief system, they had to talk about their struggles with it! So the Christians had to talk about the things that they stuggled with, were embarressed about or found difficult in Christianity. The other group had to do the same for paganism.

Apparently the debate was a huge success, and quite a profound moment for many - on both sides of the bizarro debate.
Quite a bizarre form of evangelism - kinda reverse psychology I guess.

What would you say if you had to enter into such a bizarro debate about Christianity? Might be an interesting exercise...

Update - previous comments (pre MT) are here

Just had a great meeting

10 December, 2002 8:51 PM

Just had a great meeting with my DCCC small group leaders - what a great bunch - and I'm not just saying that cause they'll probably be logging onto the site shortly! Hi John, Tina and Naomi - thanks for being AMAZING!!!!!!

Another busy day in the

10 December, 2002 6:44 PM

Another busy day in the warehouse. Christmas makes working at an online department store a little crazy!!!

Had a number of emails from people reading this blog today. Not sure where you are coming from - but I hope you enjoy what you read. I'm not sure I'm really blogging like one is supposed to - are there any rules when it comes to blogging??? Please tell me if I break blog ettiquette!

Also interested to hear who you are if you are reading this - just add a comment below....would love this to be an interactive experience - VERY interested in connecting with anyone who is exploring what it is to do innovative mission - or is part of a new form of emerging church. Thats what I'm into at the moment.

For those who've just joined the blog - next year we are hoping to birth an experimental community of faith in inner city Melbourne Australia. We've been given a bit of a grant from the Baptist Union here with the brief to be experimental - to dream big - and join with what God is doing in this region.

I'm currently forming a team - its small at present but has potential to grow into an amazing group of people (if the people expressing interest are anything to go by!) There is heaps of info about some of the ideas I have in previous posts - probably mainly in last months archives.

Had a call from a prospective member today - completely out of the blue - very cool. Meeting her tomorrow with V to chat. Who knows what will come of such meetings.

Got to run - a meeting with my DCCC job calls!


Mosque visit

10 December, 2002 1:58 PM

Last Sunday afternoon I visited the local Mosque.

No I'm not considering a change of vocation or religion, rather it was an open day where people were invited to come to see, listen to and meet Moslems in their place of worship. I came away feeling warmly welcomed, better informed and rather pleased with myself at having played a small part in developing relationships between this sometimes ostracized group and the community at large. What a great personal illustration I had as I preached this Sunday about following Jesus example of caring for the outcast and identifying with the rejected!

On Wednesday I received a friendly email from a church elder. It read, 'Did you know you were on the ABC News (Aussie National TV Network) at 7pm last Sunday wandering through the mosque?'

The array of thoughts that proceeded to flash through my mind shocked me. After an initial chuckle at the thought of the mix matched outfit I was wearing in my fleeting national television exposure, my first thought was one of horror at the implications of being seen 'in such a place'! What could this do to my career? What if some of my more conservative friends saw me chatting to and shaking hands with 'those people'?

Jesus took 'inclusivity' to a whole new level. To agree with his teaching on the topic is a relatively simple thing. But to follow his example in action sometimes means facing some deeply ingrained beliefs, views and attitudes.

(Previous comments for this post were unfortunately lost in swapping to MT)

Must sleep - can't sleep

9 December, 2002 10:22 PM

Must sleep - can't sleep - must - can't - try - can't - mind won't stop - must sleep - can't

Had a most enjoyable evening

9 December, 2002 10:00 PM

Had a most enjoyable evening tonight. Went to gathering at a local pub for a reading of an anthology of short stories that V's brother had submitted a piece for. It was a book called Matchbox Dreams written by creative writing students from Monash University.

The four readings were good value - very varied in subject matter. They ranged from a modern day fairy tale to a piece examining a couples relationship through a pregnancy and the ensuing abortion. Twas great to be out and about, even though it is a Monday night (work night and all!), took me back to my uni days. (long gone) Actually we felt a bit old as we stood among the 18-20 year old aspiring writers!

There was a nice feeling of community though - think we as churchies could learn alot from the vibe of venues and events like that!

Make your own BUSH speechClassic

9 December, 2002 3:18 PM

Make your own BUSH speech

Classic sillyness - you can make US president Bush say what ever you want - complete with sound effects and all his catch phrases. Fun way to fill in a spare 15 minutes.


9 December, 2002 2:55 PM


Len was gracious enough to link my Mosque reflection to his blog - yet another great blog site!!! How many of them are there out there?!?!

What is wrong with Contemporary

9 December, 2002 2:27 PM

What is wrong with Contemporary Worship

This is one of the most popular articles on Phuture - Written by a great mate of mine - Stephen Said.

Its amazing how the topic of worship seems to stir up the emotions so much - this topic has more 'comments' on it than just about any other on the site.

Have had some really encouraging

9 December, 2002 1:27 PM

Have had some really encouraging emails from people logging into the site of late. Thanks Daniel, Miriam, Mark, Karen and Rudy! This blogging thing is fun and a great connector of people from all over who are on remarkably similar journeys.

Had series of meetings with

9 December, 2002 1:22 PM

Had series of meetings with DCCC people today in preparation for 2003 - in particularly trying to set things up for my leaving early next year. I'm cutting back from 4 days per week to 1 day per week at the end of January and then leaving completely at the end of March. Feb and March will be focusing completely upon our evening service 'FESTival'.

The teams of volunteers for next year are coming along slowly. Still short of a couple of people - but in time I am hoping they'll come along.


8 December, 2002 7:21 PM

Just finished another Sunday - it was good. Tonight I spoke about the Kingdom of God. We did some interactive discussion and then I rambled on for a bit. I felt it went ok, although I continue to wonder about the vast amount of time and energy that I put into the production of a service. Someone once said (think it was in a class earlier in the year)

"The average human being spend less than 3% of their awake hours in church services - why then do we as churches put 90% of our own and volunteers time into them?"

Ok so they actually said it better than that - but you get the point. When you add all the hours of preparation that are put into a service from musicians, tech people, speakers, set up etc.... What would be the effect if that time was channelled into something else? For example if that energy was focused upon cleaning up a neighborhood, having meals with non churched friends, a breakfast program for unfed kids......

Don't get me wrong, I love when we get together to pray, worship, learn and just hang out - but I sometimes wonder if our priorities might be a bit out of wack.

Went to the movies last

8 December, 2002 9:39 AM

Went to the movies last night at our wonderful little local cinema - Cinema Nova - Saw Donnie Darko Strange little movie - It was an interesting insight into the life of a teen with a mental illness. In his hallucinations he meets a 'new friend' Frank - a lifesized bunny rabbit who tells him when the world will end.

I came out unsure what I'd just watched - I guess despite liking to think I'm a true 'po-mo' kinda guy I do like to be able to put things in boxes, to catagorise. This one defies that type of analysis. I mean it had everything from a scene discussin the sex lives of smurfs through to an analysis of the possibility of time travel through to a teen romance. Go figure.

There was a telling critique of the self help (Christian?) movement. Donnie has the ability to see through the superficial message of a self help guru (played by Patrick Swayze...where has he been!?) (who reminded me alot of a fair few Christian Ministers) who simplistically catagorised everything in the world into the two catagories of LOVE and FEAR.

I thought it was good - dark, funny, chilling at times with an ending that....well I came away wondering what I'd just seen. Give it a look if you get the chance!

Off this morning to meet

8 December, 2002 9:21 AM

Off this morning to meet with Nat and Tim at the zoo to plan their wedding photos. Its been a while since I've done the 'photographer' thing - hope I've still go the touch - I think its more stressful than actually getting married! I'd much rather be on the other side of the camera doing the celebrant thing.

These three postcards appeared in the post card stand at Tin pot Cafe (our local favorite!!)

7 December, 2002 10:30 AM

- adverstisments from STA Travel They are facinating to me in the light of recent world events. Especially for us Aussies after the 'Bali Bombings' of October 12.

Obviously there is a concerted effort to try to get Aussies back overseas again amidst the daily travel warnings that we seem to be getting of late for travel to SE Asian countries.

On the back of each of these postcards is the following text:


See the world while it lasts. Technology is infectious. Every time an antenna is raised in a remote village, another local culture becomes extinct. no society is equipped to withstand the onslaught. Every satellite launched, every cable laid, the death of every elder, hastens the end of cultural diversity. If you are 25, it will disappear during your lifetime. Forget about stopping it; you can't. Instead savor every chance you get to absorb a passing world, to experience as much as you can before it fades into a big version of anyplace.

Each and every culture, no matter how small or remote, represents a vast body of experience - of wars and adventures and art, of medicines and music and hairstyles, of living with parents, living with nature, playing, dancing, kissing. Together these cultures are the culmination of millions of years of practice living on a precious, fragile planet.

Go now. Go for the people, not for the weather. Go to learn. Pass along to your friends and later, your kids, the things you learned., wherever you went. Use the technology you have to record what you find. Take pictures, tape music and stories, make videos. And leave nothing behind. When you go back home, take things away in your head, not in your suitcase.

Daniels Journey is a blog

7 December, 2002 9:34 AM

Daniels Journey is a blog I've been following for a while now. Think its a fresh 'journey' - one I'll continue to follow. Love the pics Daniel!!!!!

Two nights in a row

6 December, 2002 7:53 PM

Two nights in a row with the house to my self - its bizarre enough being home two nights in a row, let alone on my lonesome. Have had my fill of Thia food and some nice red - might be an early night on the cards!

Had emails today from Sal and Tam both of whom are overseas and got word of LR from independent sources - its amazing how news travels - virus like stuff!

Have been reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell lately. I'm facinated with his work - makes alot of sense to me. He writes about the transmition of 'ideas and information' between humans. Basically he compares the spread of an idea to the spread of a virus. Various factors contribute to such a spread - one of which is the type of people the idea or information is passed onto. All it takes is it to get into the 'right' type of persons mind and it'll have an amazing impact.

The three types of people are 'Connectors' (the type that knows everyone...and is able to connect a wide variety of types of people with one another and ideas) , 'Mavens' (information specialists - they come up with or find the ideas and info in the first place) and 'Salesmen' (obviously those who are able to sell the idea - who can communicate it and have others buy into it).

Not sure which I am - perhaps more of a Maven. I know I'm married to a Connector (V can't help herself but do that) - she might be a bit of a Salesperson to I suspect.

It'd be interesting to do a study of Church plants (successful and unsuccessful - whatever that means) and take a look at the type of people in their core teams. I wonder if there is any correlation to these functionaries and their success? Anyone have any ideas?

Of course 'Tipping Point' has alot more to say - but so far the above is what sticks out.....

Finished my last essay for

5 December, 2002 7:27 PM

Finished my last essay for the year off today - based it on Living Room - it was a companion paper to the proposal I submitted to BUV. Expanded vision, DNA and did a bit of work on the subcultures of North Fitzroy. It was pretty rushed, but every time I think about it it grows.

Spent this afternoon at another FORGE session. It was good stuff again. Mike Frost spoke on 'belonging before believing'. It was good stuff as per usual. Spent some time with Mark talking about the network of emerging churches here in Melbourne that he's trying to get off the ground through South. Sounds interesting, but I think I need to hear more at this stage.

Some of what the guys spoke about today in one of the sessions was around the idea of developing 'practices' for the community. Rather than getting bogged down in designing detailed programs, services etc - the thought is that we should spend time in developing DNA (values) for the community. Then comes the stage of helping the community to formulate how to translate the values into a reality in their lives. So a value of being a community where people grow in their passion for Jesus might develope a communal practice of daily prayer, or reading scripture using a particular method like Lectio Divina.

I feel like this is the place I've been coming to with LR perhaps intuitively.

Met some guys today from 'Third Place Communities' in Tasmania. They seem to be pretty switched on people. They have planted one community called re(verb) which sounds similar to what I'm wanting to do. Will try to make contact and hear more via email.

V out tonight - am home alone struggling with getting our TV working again....ever since we watched 'Attack of the Clones' on it on video it won't pick up any local stations! Spooky.....those crazy clones got us...

Just looking at subject for

5 December, 2002 8:58 AM

Just looking at subject for next year - am studying a Bachelor of Theology at Whitley College - noticed there is an intensive two week subject run by Tom and Christine Sine which looks interesting. Have read some of his books in particularly Mustard seek versus McWorld

and the one they wrote together Living on Purpose

found them quite helpful.

Potential Livingroomer

4 December, 2002 6:25 PM

Caught up with a potential Livingroomer yesterday for coffee. He was pretty interested in a non committal kind of way about what we were doing. Gave him a copy of the proposal to have a look at and talk about with his partner.

Tis hard to know how to approach the recruiting process - the type of person in the initial core team is probably quite crucial when you think about it - could make or break the community - they would really have a telling impact upon the direction things will take I guess.

And what type of person do we want anyway? Everyone I talk with has a different opinion - what's yours? Email me with your thoughts....I am really interested!

Some say - stay away from the 'disgruntled' type - the ones who are peeved with church - the ones with angst. The opinion is that they will just drag things down - something I've seen before. However this is the 'type' of person that often seems to be attracted to alt style churches!

Others say - pick a demographic and get people fitting the mould! I'm not so sure on that one - I worry about single generational communities. Do they run the risk of being too one dimensional?

What is the criteria for such a team!? Share your ideas....


3 December, 2002 1:26 PM

FORGE was good - Mark spoketh well as usual. Did some stuff on Leadership in times of Chaos. Once again I felt affirmed in some of what I've been chewing over in my brain about church in our area. Nth Fitzroy and its surrounds are rather chaotic in many ways, yet someone in the midst of the crazyness there seems to be some real energy, real community and emerging things.

I live in Heaven

I walked down Brunswick St recently and challenged myself to look at where God is already at work. I tried to spot God's fingerprints in the place. I walked and observed for two hours and was amazed at what I saw. It was as if I had walked into heaven in many ways!

I spotted God more in this 'pagan street' than I reckon I would in many churches. In the diversity of people living side by side, the feel of community, the miriad of top quality eating and drinking establishments (like a snapshot of the Great Feast in Mtt 22), the cries for justice in the posters plastering the street posts and walls, Gods creation being continued in the work of the amazingly artistic community, the wonderful parks and the spiritually aware and awake people...evident in the books they read, the films they are watching and the conversations I overheard snippets of. The list of Gods fingerprints in this place go on and on.

Of course in the midst of it all was evidence of the brokeness of humanity, in the drug addict, the homeless and the sick. Jesus is there too - in the least of these....

Its refreshing to know that its not up to me to 'take God' to North Fitzroy - he's already there, working, drawing people to him. I'm not responsibe for introducing the concept of God and his Kingdom to that place, rather I'm responsible to join him in what he's already doing there! Phew....I don't have to save the world afterall....will leave that kinda thing to him...

I dream of a Church

3 December, 2002 8:17 AM

Might have to revise at some stage - Think I've changed a tad!


  • that is centred around worshipping and following the person of Jesus.
  • that is highly relational and focuses upon creating growing community between its members
  • where faith is not just an individual thing but rather something to journey in together as a community
  • that is an open and inclusive community (centred set not bounded)
  • where all people are seen as being made in the image of God and therefore seen as worthy of love, respect, dignity, wholeness and acceptance.
  • where prayer is central to the communities life
  • where worship is central and participated in in culturally and personally relevant ways
  • where ancient, modern and futuristic tools for prayer, contemplation and worship are free to be explored by the community. (creative arts valued)
  • where interactive, creative and innovative ways of teaching/learning are explored (action/reflection)
  • that is serious about mission (incarnational/relational)
  • that is interested in multiplication and reproduction rather than growing large (spawning faith communities)
  • that is serious about justice issues
  • who aims to facilitate the bringing of hope and wholeness in a holistic way to those it touches (physically, emotionally and spiritually)
  • where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are used by members
  • where leadership empowers others
  • that takes its culture seriously and actively works towards engaging it relevantly
  • where creativity, innovation and enterprise are valued and encouraged
  • where fun and food are key components to gatherings and interaction between members
  • where Scripture is seen as authoritative
  • where permission is given to try new things and both successes and failures are acknowledged and celebrated
  • where spirituality is stimulated in a variety of areas (holistic) including Community, Truth, Justice and Wonder.
  • that is generous in its giving
  • that is networking with and accountable to other communities of faith
  • where people of different ages and backgrounds interact together
  • where mentoring/discipling relationships are encouraged
  • that theologises together out of the circumstances that they face
  • that imagines and forges their own future
  • that shapes its activities, gatherings etc not purely to meet its own members needs, but by the needs of those who are not yet a part of the community.

Just off to the last

3 December, 2002 8:13 AM

Just off to the last FORGE intensive for the day - The sessions are "subversive leadership" (Mark Sayers and Steve Said), "The future in 3D" (Davel Fuller), "Why Church Planting" (Milton Oliver) then electives with a variety of people. Tis a pity that I'll have to miss the afternoon as I have a meeting this afternoon.

Will report on content later.

This Aussie protest group M1

1 December, 2002 7:00 PM

This Aussie protest group M1 (or are they world wide?) is renowned for their protests of major globalisation conferences. On their site on 'civil disobedience' they list their heros - people that changed the world through civil disobedience.

And topping the list - you guessed it - Jesus.

Check out this Aussie

1 December, 2002 3:34 PM

Check out this Aussie bank ad - apparently Visa has all the answers! Gotta get me one.


1 December, 2002 3:21 PM


Did SOAP life journaling this morning with both morning congregations. Mixed response - some lapped it up while others almost dozed. It was good to have something reflective in services that sometimes can be a little one, or two dimensional.

SOAP journaling the way I've adapted it goes as follows....(from the hand out I gave today)

Have you ever sat down to read the bible, read a chapter or two and then realized that you didn't really take any notice of what you were reading? You are not alone. Many people have a lot of trouble retaining and applying what they read in the bible.

Life Journaling, using the SOAP acronym, is a way that some people find useful. The method is simply a matter of following the letters of the word soap. It is probably most effective when you work through a book of the bible, reading a different chapter each time. (some people find every day helpful) You will need a bible, a pen and something to write in. Use a journal to keep your reflections together.

Scripture - read the chapter that you have chosen. Don't skim over it or read it too fast. Try to enter into what you are reading. You may need to read it two or three times. When a verse, phrase or word stands out or catches your attention, write it down in your journal. (make it a maximum of two verses)

Observation - what is it about that verse or that phrase or word that kind of struck you? What is it that seemed to catch your attention? What insight or observation do you actually want to write down? What might this verse have meant to the original writer or reader? Write your observations of the verse in your journal.

Application - how does your observation impact you? How should that thought, that observation, that insight, actually change you? God isn't speaking to you to increase your information; He's speaking to bring about transformation. He wants your life to grow, to develop, to change. Again, write your thoughts down. What might God be saying to you through this verse? What action will you take as a result of what you are hearing from God in this way?

Prayer � Respond to God with a prayer. Write to him as though you were writing a letter. Tell him how you feel about what you've read, tell him what you think. Ask him to help you as you seek to apply it to your life. Ask for guidance as you act upon it. You may want to write a poem or draw something to signify what you've just thought about. Your prayer doesn't have to be long or deep, just try to make it come from where you are at.
Experiment with different translations of the bible. You may find noticeable differences between them.
This process can be as long or as short or as you want it to be. Mould it to suit where you are at, your time constraints etc. It can be done individually or as a group. As a group, pick a common passage and report back what you've written at the end of an agreed time. Have fun with it.