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19/04/2009

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Blimey, we're hard on ourselves aren't we?! I think you're right. In my experience people always do a lot of adaptation. There are multiple layers of culture -- global, national, local, ethnic, generational, familial, personal. Sometimes people hit on something that works on one of those upper strata that means it's transferrable. But then why do people always want to package it and sell it? We've all got to make a living I suppose and I once had a book of family services published. When I was involved in the sort of chutch setup that bought books of family services, people always moaned about the material and reconfigured it a lot. Well known brands when they break into the mainstream media and consciousness can shortcut a lot of the overcoming-a-default-perception-of-weirdness work. So for instance in Portsmouth, piggy-backing on the Street Pastors 'brand' could well make it easier to gain permission from the council for a city centre chillout/safe space as might existing awareness of the Friday Fridge 'brand'. But really grounded, incarnational mission can't rely on brands and I share your implied distaste for commercialism/consumerism overtaking truly local creativity and missional enterprise. A conversation with a colleague recently raised a similar question about the way that alt.worship resources are being traded (and I recently put something up on Proost so I am well and truly in a glass house here). But if we're not careful, we might end up elevating stars of that scene just as much as were/are the stars of soft rock style evo/charismatic worship. If we're to help communities to grow truly indigenous worship, then they need to feel that their own humble contribution is of true worth. Might that be difficult if they are introduced to a lot of slick multimedia? It's a big question for me as I look into the future of mission in the heart of Portsmouth. Just now though, I'm seriously thinking of pinching Jonny's latest worship trick: guerilla worship. You surely don't expect me to be consistent do you? ;-)

LOL... I think Dream's Guerrilla Worship is more of a transferable concept than a franchise/packaged model... you may take worship out on the streets but what you do and how you do it will no doubt grow/emerge from the context - for who you are and from the streets themselves.

Street Pastors is an interesting one - we looked at it when we began Sank•tuary and though we found lots of wisdom it also felt too much like a franchise - like "Street Pastors" the brand wanted too much control over what was done and how it was done. Going back to Dream, they have put their experience into the public domain and said "This is what we did", they have made a gift of their experience so it could be an inspiration for others to explore - they ave given it away.

One of the principles of Proost is to demonstrate by it's content that there are lots of artists out there and most of them are not full time, professional etc. so look at their stuff, be inspired and go create your own.

yeah absolutely.... as long as you click on the "tithe to Dream" button :)

Actually seriously we stole the idea from Greenbelt's "spontaneous worship" last Summer and then re-worked it from Christian arts festival "soil" to city centre shopping mall "soil".

I don't blame alpha/street-pastors/whoever for asking people to stick pretty closely to the 'product' otherwise you're just using their marketing to get people on your own very different and possibly crappier thing that uses the same name.

And maybe there is also sometimes a place for direct copying. (we've used some of your Brendan stuff loads Mark). The best organic farmers are quite happy to use the same approach time and time again where the soil is very similar (I made that up coz I know nothing about farming but rekcon it's true), and of course one reason we have scripture is the ancient verbal tradition of passing things on very exactly from generation to generation - not very sexily postmodern but maybe still important?

Totally agree though re: the danger of the endless search for the magic product we can ship in.

Cheers Richard,

I do think there is a difference between finding and using resources and adopting a franchise model & I guess Alpha is a bit different because it is a course with a structure and a set of marketing tools (perhaps Alpha was a bad example to use?).

I'm a little squirmy about the whole "protecting the integrity of the brand" thing, I can understand it but it makes me uncomfortable... maybe this itself is a symptom of the consumerist approach - people develop an idea then market it as a brand, which they then have to protect because users appropriate the model/brand but fail to understand and apply the principles?

If I want to make a fast car should I cobble together any old banger paint it red and stick a Ferrari badge on it? Or do I have to understand what makes a car fast and why, then build myself a car which follows those principles but may in the end look nothing like a Ferrari?

I quite agree with you in theory and if you watch Lucy Moore from Messy Church on the FX DVD, she says quite explicitly - "don't just copy what we did because we did what we did because of our context and the gifts we had available". From my experience no-one remembers that part of the DVD.

The difficulty is that copying the model works for enough people & places that it then becomes the "in thing" - none of them set up to do this. So people argue that it is quite hard to knock it if they perceive it "works", but often, because they haven't done the thinking around it for themselves, it soon runs out of steam and they then need the next quick fix.

And of course 'Emerging Church' could be the next 'thing' -- loads of people switch to the 'method' of sitting round a table on a Thursday night with no agenda (except of course an item from Mark's book to read) and wondering why they don't feel any different, after all, Mark got on telly/radio/t'Internet etc so it should 'work'!

It's a bit of the same old, same old. I've been to cathedral services that were awesome and 'free' church worship that was dire; and also the other way round -- what's the key? That those involved/leading believe in and are inspired by what they are doing: if you're a liturgical person, don't just 'read' the service; if you're a 'free' person don't let your framework/guideline (3 fast songs, 2 mid tempo, 2 slow anyone?) become a prison -- but also don't be 'different' for the sake of being 'different', you'll be exposed as a fraud.

What's great about SafeSpace is it is not results-oriented (something the Radio4 guy had a lot of problems with) -- and it's not different for being different's sake: keep going Mark!

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