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Emerging Worship with Mark Pierson

12 November, 2004 12:20 PM

Last night we had the Emerging Worship Night with Mark Pierson at Forge. It was a good night with about 40 in attendance (the rain kept people away at bit).

I really enjoy listening to Mark - as someone who has been involved in innovative church contexts for years longer than myself its very encouraging to hear his stories and experience.

One of the things that sticks in my mind was some of his opening remarks about intuition. He talked about how most of what he did at Cityside was done out of his intuitive nature and not out of books, blogs, theoretical or strategic thinking. This was personally a very encouraging thing for me to hear as I do not see myself as a deep thinker - and work out of that place predominantly also. Phew - I'm not alone.

He also talked a lot about the value of participation that they have at Cityside - something that I noticed about the place on our recent visit. It was great to simply hear the story/ies of Cityside and some of the behind the scenes workings having had so vivid memories of being there.

I love the balance that they have between a structured liturgy and an 'anything goes' approach. Skeletally they are the same each Sunday in terms of liturgy, but because anyone can do anything (within the outlined elements) they can end up with radically different gatherings from week to week.

I also resonated with his talking about how anyone can initiate anything when it comes to mission. Cityside as such doesn't have 'mission projects or programs'. They support mission projects of its members but the primary responsibility and authority lies with the members. This is an approach that sounds rather chaotic and scary - but one which I have seen work very successfully in a number of places over the years.

Mark's concept of a 'Worship Curator' is one I'm familiar with from previous reading and one which has been very formative for me over the years. It was nice to hear him speak about it in person.

I valued the way Mark shares - he is very humble and not pushy. He does not present anything as a model but rather encouraged those there to hear the principles he was speaking about. All in all it was a very encouraging night and one that I'm sure will continue to impact my thinking for many years. Of course the other exciting thing is that Mark now is based in Melbourne and so the possibilities of increased relationship and sharing will no doubt arise over time.



Thanks for the report: I wanted to come but family responsibilities intervened.

As to Mark's comments on intuition/intuition/strategy/etc: LivingRoom seems pretty well stocked with people with lots of different gifts in how we view things, and I wouldn't have thought that leadership is the sole domain of those who primarily 'think' or 'strategise' or whatever else. Surely intuition has its place too. As R said a few weeks ago, a leader is a keeper of a vision, and there's lots of different ways that can happen... So, consider yourself encouraged.

Greg » 12 November, 2004 2:44 PM

I'm very very pleased that it was a good night. Mark is a good and generous man and there is so much us "young'uns can learn. You post takes me back to the conversations we've had. I always value his critiques as well - always very worth stopping and reflecting on.

Paul » 13 November, 2004 5:45 AM

I met Mark at the recent small gathering of melburnites held at NCCC and hosted by Eddie.
Cityside sounds like my kinda church.
My guess is that us 'intuitives' gravitate to experiential, creative, alt [or whatever you wish to call it] styles of worship.
My guess is also that us 'intuitives' are more into being church as opposed to doing church.
The missional opportunities for all is a concept we're also starting to manifest in our own way through the network's various groups. Yes, its scary and does appear chaotic to those used to opertaing within structure and programmed efforts. But life doesn't come in neat little packages and neither should being church.

Kel » 28 November, 2004 5:31 PM

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