Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pop Parables

One of the sessions at the forth-coming Forge Intensive is Mark Sayers' intriguingly-titled "What Paris Hilton taught me about following Jesus - leading in low-commitment consumer culture."

Which caused me to reflect (following the previous post) on What Dr House taught me about church-planting...
  • sometimes received procedure fails to address the - critical - issue;
  • an intuitive approach ultimately might be more effective...
  • don't worry overly about "getting it wrong" (the church might die if you act, but it will die if you don't act)
  • "getting it right" comes by degrees, through trial and error, experiment; each stage of the process is provisional.
  • an effective team needs a visionary leader; and an effective leader builds a team, whose breakthroughs are collective...
  • being primarily pastoral (as we've inherited pastoral) is not necessarily the best way to invest in the members of your team...

I could probably keep going...Okay, the exercise is a limited one. Don't take it too far; don't trash the exercise on the basis of its limitations. But if God can speak to first-century pre-modern Jews through the agrarian landscape, He can speak to twenty-first century post-modern Gentiles through our own popular culture.

Postscript: Mark is one of the leaders of the red network in Melbourne. Anyone who was involved in St Thomas' (and especially in Realm) during the Roxy era will recognise the language of clans, tribes, and tribal gatherings (see the tribal generation website; note - it has not been 'live' for several years now, but is still visited regularly).


  1. hmmm, i like what you're saying mr dowsett. maybe you're not so old after all...
    whilst we're on the subject of popular culture if you're interested, i just read an article about the current craving for fame, and it quoted a big brother producer who said a high proportion of applicants are women who feel let down by their fathers, which i thought was pretty interesting

  2. Anonymous4:27 pm

    totally agree with what you say re metaphors from the culture rather than 1st century. that's one of the reasons i struggle with the APEPT model, because it is about privilging one model in one 1st century context, and seems to me to have stopped the looking for 21st century metaphors.

  3. Hi Steve!
    First, can I say that what Hirsch & Frost call APEPT (not a term I tend to use myself) is only one aspect of many things that interest me...though that said, I must confess (oh the irony) that I've been asked to teach on it tomorrow...

    That said, I do think you are confusing principles - that transcend cultural context - and the way in which those principles are communicated - which must be contextual.

    From comments you have made on your own blog, I think one of the reasons you struggle with the APEPT model is that you've never seen it applied in a practical context, just presented as theory. (I say that because you've said you can see how some of the other biblical models apply practically, but not APEPT.) I would accept that we need to look for 21st century metaphors - and concrete examples - of how APEPT works in practice. I have no idea at this late stage whether I'll be able to get access to an MP3 recorder tomorrow, but if I can, I'd love to make what I say available to you - not that I think I have all the answers by any means; but I do think I've got some provisional real-life ones...

    Great to hear from you. I appreciate your contribution to the changing shape of church immensely. Every blessing,

  4. Anonymous6:06 pm

    I'm interested in the APEPT model - Just read a book called "Apostles notebook" by Breen - a good read and Forst and Hirsch. Do you know of any other good information on APEPT? or did you get the MP3 recording (or even lecture notes)? I'd be very interested. My email is
    With anticipated thanks