Dr Lynne Taylor


Sharing faith, imaging God, nourishing hope: Faith and hope that is relational, mysterious, and transformational
Friday 28 March 2025 | 11:25am

Churches are called to be places that support transformation and healing, for those both inside and outside the Church. However, they have not always lived up to their calling. This, along with complex secularisation processes, has led to declining religious affiliation and declining Church attendance in Aotearoa as in other western countries. At the same time, many people remain open to spirituality and to exploring faith: some adopt the Christian faith despite not having been brought up in it. This session explores what churches and Christians might offer that is both faithful to the gospel and connective for those beyond the Church. It emphasises the importance of communicating a faith and hope that is relational, mysterious, and transformational. Like the triune God, human beings are inherently relational and amid a loneliness epidemic, churches are uniquely able to be places of genuine connection and reciprocal care. Christians are invited to resist modernist tendencies to attempt to rationally explain every element of the Christian faith, and instead to embrace mystery and wonder, and to be honest about complexities – even uncertainties and doubts. A desire for personal and societal transformation can act as a motivation for faith formation as people see in God attributes they aspire to reflect. Emphasising a faith that is relational, mysterious, and transformational can both increase one’s confidence in the gospel and bear good and lasting fruit.

Lynne Taylor


Dr Lynne Taylor is the Jack Somerville Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at the University of Otago (Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka). She is attentive to the contemporary mission and ministry context, and researches and teaches in these areas. Lynne’s PhD explored why previously unchurched people become Christians today, and she continues to be curious about how God is at work in the world. She is currently exploring people’s motivations for being baptised. Prior to (and in conjunction with) her academic role, Lynne has worked and volunteered in pastoral ministry, and engaged in congregational and denominational research. Lynne is married to Steve and they have two young adult daughters.