Baptist Churches of New Zealand
SOV EREIGN TY
Education choices for Christian families
A pastoral response to suicide
Children, church and mission
GRACE SHARED † THE GATEWAY—TWO YEARS ON
| O c t o b e r / N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 7 | v. 1 3 3 n o . 5 |
ONLINE Recently added MARTIN LUTHER, COMMUNION AND THE BLOOD OF CHRIST The truth the church forgot
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HIS KINGDOM IS AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM, AND HIS sovereignty I S F R O M G E N E R AT I O N T O G E N E R AT I O N . ~Daniel 4:3b
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WINNER OF 2017 ARPA AWARD FOR BEST DESIGN MAGAZINE
“Sovereignty”— supreme power & authority, royalty
CONTENT 04 10 13
A word from the editor A warm welcome to this issue, my first as editor. Sarah Vaine, the previous editor, has left big shoes for me to fill, as evidenced by the recent ARPA awards. ARPA is the Australasian Religious Press Association. At its annual conference in Auckland in September, the Baptist magazine won Gold for Best Design Magazine and Gold and Silver for the Best Editorial or Opinion Piece. We would like to acknowledge Greg Liston and Alistair Reese for their articles in this category. After communications roles in several not-for-profit organisations, I am convinced of the power of story to encourage and inspire. I look forward to sharing more of your stories through these pages and online over the coming months.
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REFLECTIONS FROM CRAIG VERNALL
A pastoral response to suicide
CHILD & FAMILY
Education choices for Christian families CULTURE
Children, church and mission
What model do you drive?
The Gateway—two years on Stories Small bites
Sarah Vaine, Jill Hitchcock and Daniel Palmer with the ARPA awards
Opportunities to serve
Baptist / F E A T U R E
All tribes and peoples and languages
IN FEBRUARY 2016, BAPTIST LEADERSHIP TEAMS GATHERED TO CONSIDER HOW WE APPROACH THE PRIORITY OF MISSION WITHIN THE BAPTIST CHURCHES OF AOTEAROA. FIVE PRIORITIES EMERGED, CENTRED ON THE THEME OF GRACE. OUR CHURCHES ARE BEING ENCOURAGED TO EXPLORE THESE OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. HERE, DAVID MOKO AND STEVE DAVIS REFLECT UPON ONE OF THESE PRIORITIES: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SHARE GRACE? PLUS, WE HEAR FROM CHURCHES WHO ARE ALREADY EXPLORING THIS.
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The values driving this engagement As human beings made in the image of God, we are called to respect one another’s humanity, including cultural identity. Being aware of cultural world views and protocols sets the tone for constructive conversations. People are honoured and valued by listening to each other, and it affords an insight into current or relevant issues at hand. As New Zealanders understand the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, this will provide a natural framework for people of other cultures to enter into the conversation with mutual respect and ministry. He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Mission and cultural engagement History tells us God’s written word, the Bible (Te Rongopai), arrived with the missionaries in 1814. However, Holy Spirit was always here in Aotearoa New Zealand, ministering to Māori prior to Pākehā arrival. For Māori, the biblical text, history and life experience suggests that all of creation, not just human beings, is of a spiritual nature and is the focus of God’s redemptive activity. This holds true for many of the world views of
HE AHA TE MEA NUI O TE AO? H E TA N G ATA , H E TA N G ATA , H E TA N G ATA . other non-western cultures. We recognise and affirm other culturally defined notions of spirituality as an inherent quality of creation, augmented by the act of God in human beings through the gift of God’s image and likeness, irrespective of behaviour. Engaging with local iwi to hear the story of the land and the people’s journey will better inform mission in the present, with growing attention toward the future. Unity and diversity in the body of Christ requires that we humbly engage with our community as learners, not as people who ‘fix’ everyone or everything. It also means changing the construct from behave/believe/ belong, to belong/believe/behave. Belonging is not just to a place, for example the local church, but to people in a given community. Therefore let’s cultivate a sense of calling to mission and service to a specific community, and not just to the faith community who happens to meet in that location. Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua. My past is my present is my future—whakatauki (Māori proverb). By remembering our past and looking at our unique current situation we can envisage our future (cf. Jer 29:11-14).
Pathways to consider The following are some suggested bicultural and ethnic mission initiatives and strategic engagements: • Leadership cultural competency, including noho marae wananga (marae-based training/seminar) on the Treaty of Waitangi, contextual theology, and place-based theory and praxis. Such competency can build confidence for further engagement in intercultural relationships. • Practitioner-level resources on the Baptist Churches of New Zealand website, to empower and resource pastors and key church leaders. • Identifying and equipping potential pastors and key church leaders among the next generation/second generation immigrants. • Encouraging and facilitating processes towards more culturally appropriate learning environments.
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recent years New Zealand’s cultural diversity has rapidly increased, partly due to record levels of immigration and our nation’s response to the wave of refugee movements. Ethnic migrant churches already constitute twenty-five per cent of the Baptist Union family. This percentage will increase as Chinese, Burmese, Indian and other faith communities seek to become part of this mission family of churches. Baptist churches have made numerous responses to the challenges of cross-cultural mission. Many Kiwi pastors express a desire for their church communities to reflect more the cultural composition of their respective communities. Current Baptist Union boards and committees, recognising the lack of cultural diversity among its members, are seeking to address this shortfall by co-option methods of recruitment. New Zealand Baptist culture at our national Hui has also changed significantly from the past. Local iwi are being consulted far more than before. Tikanga Māori customs and protocols create a more bicultural Hui, advancing multicultural rhythms within an accepting environment. The experience of the Waitangi Hui of 2014 confirmed we cannot go back to how we did things before.
Baptist / F E A T U R E
• Brokering partnerships among Kiwi and ethnic churches for local and global impact. • Arranging networks of thinkers and leaders who seek to engage with local, culturally diverse communities. • Best practice seminars/courses with a mission track at Carey Baptist College for ongoing training in leading multicultural churches.
Everyone has a place at the table There are challenges to moving beyond a Pākehā majority cultural default setting. For example, how do we best select and appoint credible and mature people who are culturally diverse to our national and regional boards and committees? And, in a denomination where networking is valued for appointments, how will Māori/migrant/ ethnic leaders feature on the radar to be considered for senior roles?
multicultural church plant Ormiston Community Baptist Church’s roots go back twenty-plus years to when a visionary group of Baptists anticipated suburban growth and purchased land in Flat Bush. Responding to the Auckland building boom, Pastor John McClean and Eastview Baptist adopted the Flat Bush church plant on their five-year goals. In 2011 they started a home group in the area led by Richard Nathaniel. Meanwhile in Southern China, Steve and I, having started a multicultural, international church in Macau, were considering where God would have us minister next. John McClean was on a tour visiting Macau. Conversations with him helped clarify God’s plans for us and the vision of a multicultural church plant. In February 2013 Steve and I moved to Flat Bush. Together with the initial home group, we began planning
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Discerning God’s sovereign will as we overcome such challenges is a process of giving and receiving. We value everyone, and everyone has a place at the table. This will be evidenced by loving, trusting and supportive relationships across our broad spectrum of the Baptist family and with those beyond our immediate circle of influence or ministry. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9).
a church that reflected the Ormiston community’s ethnic diversity. Over the next two years we engaged the community through prayer walks and surveys to discover the perceived needs of this new community. We also held church planting workshops to determine strategies for outreach, increase our cultural intelligence, and prepare us to interact well with a diverse ethnic community. Toward the end of 2013 we began an English class in the home of one of our Chinese survey respondents, using the Bible as our textbook. We held a budgeting seminar and a bilingual Alpha parenting course, and began monthly outreach services in the local skateboard park. We also became major contributors to Christmas in the Courtyard, which was attended by up to 1000 people. We have since held a parenting series, an IELTS course and other outreach activities informed by our surveys. Regular services began September 2013 in the Ormiston Senior
Story: Steve Davis & David Moko Steve Davis is National Team Leader of Baptist Ethnic and Multicultural Ministries (EMM). In 2007 David Moko was appointed Kaihautū for Baptist Māori Ministries, now known as Manatū Iriiri Māori. For a copy of the full statement from which this article was adapted, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep updated with EMM and Manatū Iriiri Māori happenings at their respective Facebook pages: NZbaptistEMM and MaoriMinistries.
College with a powhiri recognising that we, as people of many nations, were welcomed to this community by the local Ngai Tai iwi. Today OCBC continues to meet, grow and engage our community. Our next step is to build a ‘community lounge’ on the original Chapel Road property. Although Ormiston’s population exceeds 15,000 and is still growing fast, there are few places to bring the community together and to hold activities that meet the needs of this vibrant community.
Story: Lyn Davis Lyn is Co-Pastor of Ormiston Community Baptist Church.
Bicultural Journey at South West Baptist Church Spreydon Baptist, decades before we became South West, had bicultural groups and efforts to incorporate Te Reo and Māori culture into our life together. In recent years this has been reignited by those in youth work in our schools who know our church does not reflect our communities. So it was at Onuku Marae, four days before the 2011 earthquakes began, that our elders, pastors and a group of Māori leaders from our church family committed to undertake a journey of greater awareness, understanding and inclusiveness of tangata whenua values, language and culture. We drew from the vision statement of the church to share the love of Christ through word (Mā te kupu), sign (Mā te tohu) and deed (Mā te mahi). So in subsequent years we have tried to bring Te Reo into our services, through songs, prayers, greetings and initiating our own waiata and haka. We have gone on a long journey to show our church story and values through a large Kowhaiwhai at the front of our worship space and a welcome pou (Mā te tohu). And we continue working to grow a bicultural base from which all people are welcomed and included (Mā te mahi). Six years on it has been one of the most powerful, challenging and conflicted parts of our journey. The Sunday we unveiled our church story, painted in a Māori Kowhaiwhai form typically used in meeting houses, was hugely moving. Here was our church story, vision and values painted on large panels stretching across the gym we worship in. Everyone can see this deeply significant message of welcome. It is a welcome for each of us to be part of this church and to call this community home. It was a very special day. A day when
people from many cultures, as well as multi-generational Cantabrians, felt welcomed. In the words of the Dave Dobbin song we were ‘welcomed home’. But despite our best efforts not everyone understood or welcomed these changes. Some have left; some became vocally upset. Others love these small faltering steps and have pitched in to help. Dame Whina Cooper once said, “Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow, so will be the shape of Aotearoa.” Our prayer and commitment is that children, youth and adults—both newcomers and long-term members— will hear the gospel and be able to worship in the language of their heart (Mā te kupu). That they will see the signs of God’s spirit in our buildings but also in our welcome, and inclusion for others (Mā te tohu). And they will feel loved, accepted and empowered because we are about the work of God (Mā te mahi). For then, as Dame Whina said, we help shape our church, our local communities and Aotearoa in the way of Christ.
Story: Alan Jamieson Alan is Senior Pastor of South West Baptist Church.
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Baptist / F E A T U R E
The bicultural Baptist Journey
2014, during the conclusion of our annual Baptist gathering at Waitangi, we committed ourselves to an incarnational engagement within biculturalism. As a union of Aotearoa New Zealand Baptist churches (ANZBU) and missionary society (NZBMS), we began the journey of becoming and being dynamically bicultural—in corporate identity, not merely in practice.
What is bicultural identity? It is more than concept or activity; it is owned identity. Bicultural identity is the condition of being oneself regarding the combination of two cultures, whereas ‘biculturalism’ is the interactive and mutually engaged presence of two different cultures in the same country or region. Biculturalism is dynamic—it works. We must work at and within it. What are bicultural dynamics? Key to being engaged in a dynamic biculturalism as ANZBU-NZBMS community is our active recognition and response to the Treaty as New Zealand’s founding document. Our practised recognition of language, cultures and traditions of both Pākehā and Māori must include practising traditional Māori welcome and farewell ceremonies within official functions and across many of our public worship practices. For Pākehā this calls us to journeys of intentional listening, learning and engaging. The late Ranginui Walker remarked, “Māori remind Pākehā
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that becoming bicultural enough to be at ease in the other founding culture of the nation is the first step towards becoming multicultural.”1
Bicultural and multicultural at the same time? In general definition ‘multicultural’ is understood as something that incorporates ideas, beliefs or people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds. As a union of churches we actively foster multicultural ministries. Recent years have witnessed an exponential planting and development of ethnic ministries and congregations/churches in our ANZBU, as people of different cultures come together to celebrate and share their different traditions centred on a common commitment to faith and followership of Jesus. Simultaneous unity and practised diversity, without imposed homogeneity. Are we to be bicultural and multicultural at the same time? Yes. For our missional‑multiculturalism to flourish it must be must be planted and nurtured in the bed of bicultural Christ‑community. Upon what is our bicultural journey founded and practised? Our journey dynamics are sequentially doing, engaging, learning and being. The practice of our living traditions are rooted in a biblically modelled value—a corporate decision to-do. In our ANZBU historical journey we have practised a common corporate behaviour, which is to
gather in annual convocation. This has been known as Assembly (1882‑2000), The Gathering (2001-2014), and Hui (2015-now). It has been through this vehicle that we have been able to engage in an intentional journey into the tikanga or values of our combined customs and traditions, as handed down through lived and living Christian-ethic, biblical theology and cultural histories.
Hui is doing In time, as we thread together this bicultural journey, tikanga will become easy and the valued norm within our unique Aotearoa New Zealand Baptist ecclesiology. The process of hui is very people-friendly in our experience; many of our brothers and sisters in Christ from other nations find a space and place that they belong to and can participate in. Hui is engaging Seeking the outcome of engaged learning and an understanding of tikanga acknowledges cultural practices and creates respect as attendees begin a bicultural journey. Tikanga is based on experience and learning that have been handed down through the generations. It is based on logic and common sense associated with Māori world view. While these concepts are constant, their practice can vary between tribe and sub‑tribe (me nga iwi, me nga hapū). Participating in a different culture takes time and patience. Hui is learning If you are unfamiliar with tikanga, learn as much as you can from as many sources as possible. It will enrich your experiences with the culture and improve your ability to participate. Some of the ways are to learn simple concepts of speeches in Te Reo Māori, singing a waiata, and learning karakia and simple phrases. While grace will always be extended to those who are new, the hope is that there is a willingness to learn. Hui and tikanga
will be guided by kaumātua, kuia and mana whenua when needed.
good news in Jesus, in terms they can understand—for this we are in a journey of becoming.
Pursuing our bicultural-being beyond Hui Practiced biculturalism is peoplecentric. How would ‘beyond-Hui Baptist biculturalism’ respond through the people, and to the people, in your church’s tūrangawaewae (place of standing)? Here are a few possibilities for your local journey: • an annual Sunday kapa haka focused service that integrates local iwi and church • powhiri as the framework for new pastor induction service • congregational waiata (worship songs) within public services • identifying, making contact, seeking advice, and building working connection with the iwi and hapū in your rohe (region) • local church eldership meeting with, and receiving, local kaumātua • taking some in-church programmes into the local marae connections you are beginning to build together (e.g. mainly music, parenting courses, CAP) • poroporoaki as means of ‘speaking our hearts’ in summary when concluding events, valuing experiences, framing understanding, and passing appreciation and honour to persons and groups.
In summary As a union of churches, located congregations and mission organisations, we are intentionally engaged in what it means to be bicultural. We must reflect the separate identities and different needs of those involved in our structures and spheres. Why? To ensure the people of the land (tangata whenua), and the peoples who’ve come to the land (manuhiri), have the opportunity to hear, see, experience and respond to God’s
Story: Dr John Douglas John is an Associate Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He is a pastoral-theologian/ministry-educator who serves as a pastor, church consultant, mentor/spiritual director, ecumenical leader, church planting adviser, and ministry development leader. He’s also engaged through various memberships and chairperson roles on national and international boards and commissions. This article was based on a statement prepared by John Douglas. For a copy of the full statement contact John email@example.com. 1. Ranginui Walker, Ka whawhai tonu mātou: Struggle without end. Rev. ed. (Auckland: Penguin, 2004), 390.
Take outs... 1. John has suggested some steps churches can make at a local level on their journey of biculturalism. Which ones resonate with you and why? Can you think of others you could try in your context? 2. Belong/believe/behave vs. behave/believe/ belong—why is starting with belonging so important to our mission and service in the community?
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response to suicide Wrestling with the unasked questions SUICIDE TRANSCENDS AGE, ETHNICITY, AND SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC MARKERS, AND IS A TOPIC THE MEDIA REGULARLY RAISES. HOWEVER, TRADITIONALLY THE CHURCH HAS SAID LITTLE ABOUT IT, EXCEPT TO MUMBLE THAT SUICIDE IS KILLING ONESELF AND THEREFORE BREAKS THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT: YOU SHALL NOT MURDER. CRAIG VERNALL REFLECTS ON THE QUESTIONS SUICIDE RAISES FOR US ALL, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE GRIEVING A LOST LOVED ONE.
a young age, my father attended the funeral of a friend who killed himself. The funeral was perfunctory and the deceased was buried in the paupers’ grave because he had committed ‘an unpardonable sin’. The church’s response made this loss even more tragic. Suicide is sudden and therefore shocking. As pastoral leaders, God calls us to represent him during these difficult times. We too can be deeply affected as we reach out to help others needing love, understanding and guidance. So please ensure you have someone to unpack these pastoral hurdles with or they could unpack you. For the remainder of this article I want to tell a story that happened within my own church. A story that ended in the tragedy of suicide.
Sam’s story Sam was a skilled videographer. Raised in a Christian home, he had faith in Jesus. He came to us after a spell of depression, looking for some part-time work to help get himself back into the workplace. Sam was quiet, polite and kind. He was good at his work and our staff embraced him. Over time he shouldered more responsibility, taking on
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leadership within our creative team. His confidence grew to the point that when the perfect full-time role for Sam came up in Melbourne, he took it. Melbourne was an exciting city for Sam to work in. He was good at his job and made friends. But he struggled with bipolar syndrome. Bipolar is a hideous roller coaster of emotional highs and deep lows that take the mind to extremely dark places. The depression continued to gnaw away at him. A month out from Christmas, Sam told his boss he needed to go home to see his family. Upon returning to Tauranga, Sam spent two weeks visiting friends and catching up with family. Then early one evening he drove himself to the beach and took his own life. Needless to say, all those who knew him were devastated. A talented man in his early thirties, appreciated by many, and with support of a loving Christian family. No words could comfort.
Sadness, guilt, anger… and hope I was asked to take Sam’s funeral. What is appropriate to say at times such as this? The hope of the gospel and prayers of comfort, of course. But that didn’t address the underlying questions that surrounded this funeral and others like it. So, I decided to tackle the unasked questions,
Jesus mourned deeply because our human hearts were never designed to live in a world where death resides. for these were the ones I was wrestling with also. The transcript of the funeral went something like this: I want to talk about three emotions that will be affecting us today. Firstly, there is sadness. Sadness is that gut-wrenching shock that leads to tears and numbness. The news of Sam’s death took us all by surprise. And so it should have, because he was so young. Grief and sadness will have their way with you. You will be in shock and denial. You’ll be angry and disappointed. You’ll spend many hours thinking about Sam and remembering the times you shared with him. You’ll have days when he’s distant in your memory and then there will be times when tears flood again as if he died just yesterday. Sadness isn’t sickness. It is our way of remembering, and grieving, and saying goodbye. It will steal your energy, rob your enthusiasm and limit your ability to see beyond the next day or two. This is all normal. This is the same grief that Jesus encountered when he cried upon meeting the family of Lazarus. The second set of emotions we experience are based around a sense of guilt that each of us will feel to some degree. The guilty self-talk says, “I could have done more! Why didn’t I spend more time with Sam? Why didn’t I ask him the deeper questions of how he was
really feeling? Why didn’t I see the signs? Could I have said something or done something that would have changed his direction? Could I have been a better friend or a better family member?” These are feelings of self-imposed responsibility that lead to guilt. But your guilt is not going to change the situation. It will be a self-imposed prison that only you have the key to unlock. Don’t put yourself there. Sam wouldn’t hold you responsible and neither does anyone in this room today. None of us have the right to assume that we held the magic words or hug that would have changed Sam’s decision to take his own life. Lazarus’ sister Mary thrust this sense of responsibility upon Jesus when he arrived at Bethany. She said, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Jesus didn’t enter into this pointless conversation of ‘what ifs and maybes’. That brings us to the third set of emotions. These are the ones that we don’t talk about because we’re not sure if we’re allowed these feelings. It’s easy for us to feel a sense of anger towards Sam. “Why did it have to go this way? Why couldn’t you have reached out to us some more? Sam, surely there was someone you could have spoken with or leaned upon? Didn’t you realise that we love and care for you, and would have tried our best to help? We’re all hurting; why did you do this to us?” Let me put this in its right perspective. Sam didn’t do this to us. Bipolar disorder did this to us. Sam didn’t take his own life. Bipolar disorder took it from him. As a society, we’re comfortable hearing that people die from cancer or other diseases. Mental illness, or more specifically bipolar disorder,
is a dis-ease. The prognosis includes the possibility of taking one’s own life, just as when someone is diagnosed with cancer there is a possibility that the cancer will take their life. Bipolar disorder took Sam’s life. The psalmist catches thoughts for us when he says: “I cry aloud to God…that he may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted” (Psalm 77:1-2). Sam’s state of mind was without hope. He didn’t want this feeling and he couldn’t make friends with it. We may feel angry at Sam, but don’t. Instead be angry at the disorder that affected Sam—a disorder that affects thousands of our fellow countrymen and women, our friends, families and workmates. We know Sam well enough to know that he wouldn’t set out to hurt any of us. It’s bipolar disorder that has hurt us and robbed us all of this young man’s life. Most of us know the story of Lazarus. Jesus knew he would bring Lazarus back to life, so his tearful response to his friend’s death is surprising. Why did he weep with the family? Was it his compassion for Lazarus? Was it his sense of identity with the family’s grief? Scripture tells us in John 11:23 that Jesus wept. The translation of these original words is relatively lightweight. It is better stated that Jesus groaned deeply. He groaned because death was never part of God’s original plan for humankind or this world, and because he saw the pain that’s inflicted upon the human heart. Jesus mourned deeply because our human hearts
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were never designed to live in a world where death resides. We’re just not sturdy enough in heart and mind to reconcile death without considerable loss to ourselves. We were created for eternal things, eternal life—not a life of decay and death. Of course, the story of Lazarus becomes a story of hope. It ends with Jesus commanding Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Miraculously, Lazarus walks out, wrapped in his grave clothes. This story is a powerful picture of the resurrection from the dead. It gives us confidence today in Sam’s destination: raised from the grave to be in the company of Jesus, the Saviour. Yes, we will feel sad. That’s a healthy emotion that will take its own course in your life. But we don’t need to feel responsible for what we feel we could, or should,
OUR HOPE IS IN CHRIST WHO GIVES US AN ETERNAL PICTURE OF LIFE AND A HOPE WITH WHICH W E C A N N AV I G AT E T H R O U G H D I S A P P O I N T M E N T. have done. Neither should we be angry at Sam, because Sam’s life was taken from him, not given away. This article is my own way of redeeming something of Sam’s short life—an opportunity to turn the tragedy of his death into something that can help others. Sadly, suicide is a curse upon our nations. Our hope is in Christ who gives us an eternal picture of life and a hope with which we can navigate through disappointment. I hope this recollection has helped you.
Story: Craig Vernall Craig is the National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand and the Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
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sovereignty The intersection of God’s plans and ours
WHAT IS GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, AND HOW MUCH SAY DO YOU GET IN IT? RHETT SNELL REFLECTS ON A TOPIC MANY OF US WRESTLE WITH AT SOME POINT IN OUR FAITH JOURNEY.
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all know that great coffee cup verse, Jeremiah 29:11: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” It’s reasonable to want a future with hope. Yet even that verse raises questions. For example, God spoke these words to Israelites exiled in Babylon. It was a promise to bring Israel out of captivity. But that took a while! Presumably, many of the Israelites died in Babylon, wondering when this hope-filled future would arrive. The Bible paints the picture of a big, glorious God who is sovereign and all-knowing. So does that mean our circumstances are completely determined by him? Is the plan for our life laid out
Baptist / D I S C I P L E S H I P
Because God cannot be thwarted, he will achieve his purposes. There’s a freedom in being able to trust God like that. before we’re born? Or do we have freedom to make our own choices, and in doing that affect, or even mess up, God’s plan for us? In my role as a pastor, variations of this conundrum come up frequently. Sometimes it comes in the form of people wrestling with their sense of call. They wonder if a career change or a particular path of study is what God wants for them. Often (actually, very often!) it comes in the form of a young person wondering if they’ve found ‘The One’ when it comes to their girlfriend or boyfriend, or whether the idea that God would have one person picked out for them from before creation is even biblical. The church fathers didn’t see fit to weigh in on that question, as far as I can tell. Occasionally the questions are more serious and heart‑breaking. I’ve been asked by someone born with a disability, “Did God mean for me to be this way?” The intersection of God’s plans and our plans is a weighty thing to consider.
My story I remember first pondering it towards the end of my first year of pastoral leadership studies at Carey Baptist College. Until that point I’d never questioned my assumption that God made us all, then stepped back and let us get on with it. In other words, I was comfortable with the idea that God might know my choices ahead of time, but I was also convinced that human beings had free will, and that my plans really were my plans. The first time any idea contrary to this even made it on to my radar was when I read a chapter on predestination in a systematic theology book I’d been assigned. The author came from a tradition I’d come to know as Calvinism. I would later realise that there are many shades of Calvinism, and it’s a system with lots of different nuances. But, at the time, I only saw that it limited human free will, and I didn’t like that. The theologian R.C. Sproul sums up well what I was reacting against, in his book Chosen by God: “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”1 I was appalled by this line of thinking. Little did I know that the questions this raised for me would be ones that I wrestled with for most of the next ten years. The genie was out of the bottle.
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Of course, I was far from the first person to be confronted with the issue of how God’s sovereignty and our freedom relate. From Augustine and the early church fathers, to John Calvin and Jacob Arminius, this is a debate with a long history. Why the heated disagreement? I think it’s because if you push too far in either direction in trying to unpick this particular knot, you run into serious problems. Lean too far into divine determinism (that everything is predetermined by God) and you end up with a God who looks like a moral monster, ordaining horrible events, all the while demanding worship from a set of robots. Lean too far in the other direction and, while some of those problems fade into the background, you end up with a God who is powerless. What hope for the person born with a disability if it happened despite the fact that God really didn’t want it to? Perhaps you can see the problems. And, that’s not even taking the biblical witness into account. We really should do that…
Bible texts There is no doubt that the Bible presents a God whose sovereignty over events is sometimes confronting. For example, in 2 Kings 19:25, Isaiah gives voice to God’s promise to bring down the king of Assyria. “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins...” This is a historical event which impinges on human freedom, which God ordained and brought to pass. Isaiah was familiar with this aspect of God’s character. In Isaiah 46:9b-10, he had said: …for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention...” This is God as unchallengeable, bringing about his plans, establishing his purposes. Yet, the Bible presents a different side of that coin, too. 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But, this is a desire of God which, as far as we know, goes unsatisfied. Seemingly not all people are saved or come to a knowledge of the truth. Indeed, Scripture repeatedly pleads with us to choose to serve God and to submit our plans to him. Whether it’s Joshua exhorting the Israelites to “choose this day whom
you will serve” (Joshua 24:15) or Jesus teaching, “Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own” (John 7:17). Ultimately, there simply isn’t enough space here to give more than the most surface-level survey of what Scripture has to say about our freedom to choose and God’s sovereignty to enact his plan. But, perhaps it’s enough to show that, even within Scripture, there is a tension that is set up between these things. Occasionally this tension crops up within the same story. For example, as Moses is petitioning Pharaoh to let the Israelite people go, in Exodus 8 and 9, we’re told both that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (8:15) and that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (9:12). So who did it? Was it God’s plan or Pharaoh’s choice? After about a decade of wrestling with this question, I’ve learned to embrace the tension.
Application Isn’t it so often the case that the Bible teaches us truths that we have to hold on to in each hand, without necessarily resolving into a neat package? The early church spent four centuries working out the details of Jesus’ divinity. Was he God in a human shell? A human touched by God? In the end, they settled on a tension. He was fully God and fully man. There is no way to make that work in a mathematical formula, but anything less is not orthodox, biblical truth.
PERHAPS GOD IS BOTH T O TA L LY I N CONTROL AND A RESPECTER OF FREEDOM.
For me, a part of my own journey with this question has been giving up the desire for a neat formula. The Bible presents, I believe, a variety of angles on our plans and God’s plans. It describes a God who will accomplish all that he sets out to accomplish, and who is not surprised by anything. He works in and through events, and our lives, to achieve his purposes. So much so that Joseph, after experiencing betrayal, injustice and jail time, could say to the brothers who had harmed him, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today” (Genesis 50:20). Yet God also gives us the ability to choose. He woos and entreats us to obey; he doesn’t coerce us. Our decisions have real consequences. What does that mean for our own lives, and our own plans? I think that in some ways, giving up the need for a nice, neat system frees us. It means we can live boldly and make choices, knowing we’re not going to stuff up God’s plan. Because God cannot be thwarted, he will achieve his purposes. There’s a freedom in being able to trust God like that. The best course of action, though, in working out God’s plan for our life, and how to use wisely the life he’s given us, is to seek to know him more—through Scripture, prayer and time spent in his presence. None of these things will give us a formula for life, but they might help us to know the tone and tenor of God’s voice a bit more, so that we can hear where he leads us a bit better. For myself as a pastor, I am a lot quicker to answer, “I don’t know,” than I used to be, when it comes to God’s sovereignty. When my friend asked me if God had meant for him to be born with a disability, I had answered quickly, “No!” I wanted to absolve God of that. Now, I’d be much slower. I think I’d say, “I don’t know the details. I know there is brokenness in the world. And I know that God is sovereign. But what
I know most of all is that he is good, he is with you, and he can bring good from what was intended for harm.” Perhaps God is both totally in control and a respecter of freedom. Maybe things will work out exactly as he plans them to, and our choices are real and meaningful. And if we can’t figure out how all of those things can be true at once, possibly it’s because we’re not God.
Story: Rhett Snell Rhett pastors Epuni Baptist Church in Lower Hutt, Wellington. He’s married to Sarah and together they have four kids. He loves reading, music and complaining about Arsenal. 1. R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986), 16.
Take outs... 1. What is your own understanding of God’s sovereignty? 2. Who, or what, has most influenced your thinking on this topic? 3. What effect did your beliefs about God’s sovereignty have on your faith during a difficult time you experienced, or when you were struggling with a life-changing decision?
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Baptist / C H I L D & F A M I L Y
EDUCATION CHOICES CHRISTIAN FAMILIES Will your faith inform your educational choice?
DO MATTERS OF FAITH BELONG IN A SEPARATE REALM FROM EDUCATION? IS EDUCATION ESSENTIALLY NEUTRAL, OR DOES IT REFLECT THE BELIEFS AND ASSUMPTIONS OF SOCIETY? DOES EDUCATION SIMPLY TEACH VALUE-FREE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE, OR DOES IT INFORM YOUR CHILD ON LIFE’S MEANING AND PURPOSE? PETE SLANEY EXPLORES THE PINNACLES AND PITFALLS OF THREE EDUCATIONAL CHOICES.
ou stand, transfixed, in the darkened room, gazing at the tiny sleeping form. Precious, delicate new life. Staring, motionless, it is as if the one-day-old baby is a complete surprise. For all the preparations of the last eight months, there is now only wonder and amazement. A new human being. A miracle. Words fail. Those first years are a blur of milestone moments, interrupted sleeps, turbulent tantrums, dirty diapers and family festivities. The joy, celebrations, stresses and anxieties that coalesce into the practice we term ‘parenting’ become the new normal. Before you know it, the little person is walking unaided, breaking everything in sight (OK, so I only have boys, but this is true in my experience), and starting to engage adults in conversation. This little life reflects something of the image of God and also quite readily manifests the reality of indwelling sin—often approaching the extremity of each pole several times in a day! Just as parenting begins settling into some form of manageable routine, a well-meaning friend asks what you have planned for your child’s education. As if you have had the headspace to work that out! However, you take your faith
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seriously and you intend to bring up your child or children to honour and love God. Will your faith inform your educational choice? How so?
State school option Government funding means you have already paid for your child’s education in taxes (nobody likes paying for something twice). It is well-resourced, close to home and there are probably some Christian teachers on staff. Little friends from kindy are enrolled, so it makes sense to do the same. You take the Great Commission seriously and you recognise the outreach opportunities that will present themselves at school events. Is there a downside? There may be some behaviour issues that you do not want to ‘rub off’. Perhaps more dangerous is the secularism that underpins the curriculum and claims a position of neutrality? Are you equipped and ready to pour time and energy into identifying and unravelling biases and assumptions that are not so much deliberately taught as assumed and insinuated? Stuart and Jane Monk considered their options and settled on a state school. We did not find it very difficult making the decision of which school to send our two boys to. We were very eager parents and as a result, during their preschool years, one of us was always at home for our boys. We believed the preschool years were foundational in instilling our Christian values into them... We also did not see ourselves as school teachers. We respect the profession and the skills possessed or learnt by trained teachers. These skills are not found in either of us. The socialising that children receive by attending a school with twenty plus children in their class and several hundred children in the school was also important to us... Consequently, we did not consider homeschooling our boys. We considered sending our boys to one of the local Christian schools. We attended and spoke with the deputy principal. We were somewhat surprised when we were advised the main advantages the school would offer our boys were the small class sizes and the consequent time they would receive from each of their teachers... We believe that is one of the main reasons parents send their children to any private school, Christian or not. What Christian schools should do well is to reinforce the Christian values that should have been taught in the children’s homes. However, we believe the primary responsibility lies with the parents. One of our Christian friends had warned us of the problem of sending a child out of their local community to a school far away. As a result it will be much harder for them to socialise after school and on weekends with
their school friends. Our friend’s son missed out on many social occasions because he lived so far from his friends’ suburbs. We consider ourselves fortunate to live close to one of Auckland’s best public high schools. It is best not only in its academic achievements but in the inclusive, supportive culture that it upholds. Our boys were able to walk or bike to all their primary, intermediate and high schools. It meant their friends were also in our local community and were easy to see after school. We realised that during the high school years they would start to be confronted with other values, beliefs and ways of doing things. If they went to a Christian school, that confrontation of their Christian world view with the secular world view would occur later in their lives, perhaps when they went to university, and when they may not be so willing to discuss these issues or listen to our opinions on the matter. They may even be in a different city, so not open to our persuasion. We felt it was better to be able to influence them about those big issues when they were still under our roof.
Christian school option A Christian school is more than a mechanism for delivering ‘the three Rs’. It is a tool through which children learn God’s truth about what it means to be human. Children are educated about the world’s goodness and its fallenness, through a biblical lens. Admittedly, small schools do not produce the sporting opportunities that large schools do. There is a limited pool of friends, and if one student is a pain, they are a pain that is always around and this can be tricky to deal with. Often Christian schools are further from home, and they are expensive. You will have to stump up $2500 per year for an integrated school, or about $8000 for a private Christian school. There goes Sky TV. It might even delay the purchase of your first home. However, Pete and Lynda Slaney viewed the cost as an investment. To us, the question wasn’t, ‘Can we afford it?’ but ‘Can we afford not to do it?’ To be fair, when we enrolled Caleb in a private Christian school we had very little understanding of Christian education. However, as time progressed we saw that beyond the sight words, sport and the school plays, a rich metanarrative underpinned everything—a story of biblical truth. We learned that none of the ‘facts’ taught stand in isolation. ‘Just the facts’ is a myth. Facts are only relevant within a story about life. The secular story tells us nobody made us; we evolved. Nobody controls us; we are autonomous. We have a finite life span so heaven is merely eighty
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Baptist / C H I L D & F A M I L Y
comfortable years on earth and we can engineer this through science. God’s story is very different and we came to value immensely that all facts taught at this school were embedded within God’s story of life—creation, fall, redemption and ultimate restoration. It was as if a curtain was lifted off our eyes and we could see what lay behind the scenes. Christian schools make a point of partnering with parents. We were expected to be involved with fundraising, sports events, school productions and the like. When the children messed up it was called sin, we were informed quickly and were involved in the disciplinary measures. There was one set of goal posts and all the important people in our boys’ lives were aiming at those posts. In reality, if we as parents had not been modelling Christian values at home, I doubt that the Christian school would have discipled the boys very effectively, but it was all about partnership and working together. We, along with our two boys, are very glad we made the investment. We realised that there is a window of opportunity to educate children in a particular way and once this window closes, it closes for good. Finances were tight some years, but we knew that easier times lay ahead and that better cars and dinners out could wait. Looking back, it really was so worth it! The boys’ best friends from school are still their best friends today. They formed wholesome, healthy friendships and were not desensitised prematurely by smutty locker bay bragging or unhelpful internet images. Our boys have now left school, but they know who they are, why they exist and what life is about. They are following God’s ways wholeheartedly and we are grateful for the Christian schooling opportunity.
Homeschool option If you can afford to do life on a reduced income then why not homeschool? Homeschooling has the potential to truly fulfil the mandate of Deuteronomy 6:6-9, impressing God’s commands on our children’s hearts, talking about them in the incidental moments of each day, and being intentional about their discipleship. Some of the most brilliant lessons and most passionate teaching sessions have been carried out by homeschoolers, and there are various Christian curricula that can be harnessed. Being part of a regular homeschool cluster or network helps children adjust to the norms of social interaction and also overcomes any feelings of isolation. However, homeschoolers must be highly organised, intrinsically motivated, and deeply committed to discipling their children with academic rigour. Without sufficient organisation, homeschooling becomes chaotic, random and ineffective. Christian schools sometimes find themselves being rescue workers at the foot of an educational cliff after a failed homeschooling experiment. If you do not know the curriculum material, and learning it does not appeal, then homeschooling might not be the best option for you and your children. Here is the story of an anonymous couple who opted to homeschool.
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As a Christian parent I felt challenged to provide my children with a Christ–centred, biblically based education. I wanted them to know God and his truth in a way that would enable them to make informed decisions about matters of faith from a biblical, rather than secular, mindset. Observing a friend who had chosen to home educate her children, I also recognised that the efficiency of individual ‘tutoring’ released large amounts of time for learning through play and practical activity. It provided time to enjoy climbing trees, building huts,
sizzling sausages over an open fire, and long hours of reading, and being read to, in front of a cosy fire on cold winter days. We made the decision to home educate. As a home educator I enjoyed the freedom to resource our learning programme from a wealth of both New Zealand and international curricula, selecting that which best supported the individual learning needs of my children and our biblically based educational vision. The freedom for my children to begin formal learning as their minds became cognitively ready was invaluable. My daughter began learning to read at age four, but my son was clearly not developmentally ready for this until after his seventh birthday. Home education gave us the freedom to put the building blocks of literacy in place, without the negative pressure of being the ‘only child in the class who could not read’. After my son turned seven, his reading sky-rocketed. He quickly became an avid, highly capable reader, without the emotional baggage that developmental delay can cause in traditional educational settings. Involvement in various Christian home educators’ groups and networks provided opportunities for the development of lifelong friendships, group learning, and specialist instruction across areas as diverse as physical education, art, drama, science, dissection, Shakespeare and debating. Education outside the classroom was as simple as jumping in the car to visit parks, bush, rocky shores, volcanic craters, M.O.T.A.T., Kelly Tarlton’s, the zoo, or the museum. An archaeological ‘dig’ was as simple as secretly burying artefacts in the backyard, gridding the site, and providing the children with shovels. One of the most treasured outcomes of our home education journey
A big THANK YOU
to everyone who helped us get over 32,000 Christm as Love parcels to needy families, elderly and homeless people over
A BIG THANK YOU
I S I T N O T W O N D E R F U L T H AT I N AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND WE H AV E O P T I O N S W I T H R E G A R D T O E D U C AT I O N ?
To everyone who helped us send over 3,500 children to summer camp in Eastern Europe this year!
Life as God intended
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Right now thousa nds of disadvantaged children in Easter n Europe are hoping to get to one of our life-changing Summer Camps . It takes from just $20 (one day of camp for one child) to help change a young life foreve r.
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was the development of the kind of strong family bonds that grow from spending a great deal of time together. In view of the erosion of familial ties in modern culture, this is something for which I am extraordinarily grateful. We chose to make the transition to school-based Christian education at the beginning of high school. Because the change to classroombased education can involve significant change to the way in which learning is acquired, if I were doing this again I would make the transition a little smoother by working with a longer timeline, instead making the move in Year Seven/Eight.
an opportunity for outreach in your community. Christian schools are expensive and they are sometimes quite small, but you know the education will be God-honouring and the teachers will partner with you in the discipling of your child, which is no small thing. Homeschooling takes one parent out of the workforce and is a huge commitment, but it is ultimately rewarding if it can be done well. The truth is all parents pay for education, whether through financial outlay, reduced income, or through an alternative world view being promoted at school. However, is it not wonderful that in Aotearoa New Zealand we have options with regard to education? May we choose wisely.
Home education is a lifestyle choice requiring significant commitment and sacrifice, but it is also a freedom that we are privileged to be able to choose. This season, with its opportunity to sow God’s truth into my children’s lives, flew by quickly, as childhood always does. I am thankful for the times of joy we experienced together and for the closeness we have that may not have been developed had we lived these years another way.
Three options but what verdict? The educative process presents both wonderful opportunities and myriad challenges. I believe there is no single ‘biblical’ way to educate your child in today’s world. State schools are underpinned by a secular world view, but they are convenient, affordable and can provide
HOW ABOUT FOR A PERSON IN EASTERN EUROPE?
How about $25 to help fill a Christmas Love box for a family needing hope? Story: Pete Slaney Pete Slaney holds a B.Sc (Auckland University), a B.App Theol (Carey Baptist College) and a Dip Teaching. Pete is the Principal of Immanuel Christian School in Auckland. When he is not at work he may be found playing music, studying God’s Word, doing DIY jobs or attempting to catch waves on his stand‑up paddle board.
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Baptist / C U L T U R E
CHURCH & MISSION How God wants us to see and value children
FOR THE SAKE OF THE GENERATIONS TO COME, WHO IS THE CHURCH CALLED TO BE? AND WHAT MIGHT A REFRESHED THEOLOGICAL VISION THAT ANSWERED THAT QUESTION LOOK LIKE? KAREN WARNER CONSIDERS THESE QUESTIONS AND OFFERS A CATALYST FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION.
is my job to listen to the needs of our churches, especially with regard to children and families. In doing that I started hearing about churches that said they had no children. While that may not be a problem for one or two niche churches surrounded by retirement homes, I’m confident the future of the church does depend on having new and future generations! I think we have all suspected our movement is ageing, but I went looking for some accurate evidence. Earlier this year, Lynne Taylor, our statistician, reported to me the numbers of adults, teens and children in our churches today, compared with ten years ago. This is what the statistics showed: • We have thirteen per cent fewer adults in our churches now. • We have twenty-two per cent fewer teens. • We have twenty-six per cent fewer children. • Thirty per cent of our churches have fewer than ten children.
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Children are active agents in our midst who God uses for the sake of the gospel. I know this is an average, and some of you may think your church is OK, but I encourage you to think more about the bigger picture. I believe God highlights problems to point out where change is needed and the new directions in which He is calling us. With that in mind, what is God saying to us and where should we look for some ways forward?
A theological vision It’s in thinking about this question that I believe Tim Keller’s concept of a theological vision becomes helpful. In Keller’s book Center Church, he suggests that between your doctrinal beliefs and your ministry practices should be a well-conceived vision for how to bring the gospel to bear in a way that fits the time and place in which you are ministering.1 This is your theological vision—your understanding of who you are called to be as Kiwi Baptist Church, and why. Keller suggests using theology, doctrine, culture and context as a filter or grid through which to develop the theological vision. As belief drives vision, we need to start by understanding what God believes about children. What God believes about children When it comes to theology and doctrine, little has been written about children from a Baptist perspective, and almost all of it comes from the UK. In his book ‘To Such as These’: The Child in Baptist Thought, Andrew Goodliff, a UK pastor, poses that, from Scripture and Baptist belief, we should have a view of the child that: • Sees them as gift—not possessions, or as a right, or as consumers; • Sees that [sic] as full persons made in the image of God and so endowed with human dignity and value; • And as agents in the world and in the church, who need nurture and teaching, but who can also nurture and teach us...2 Goodliff has based these views on the words of Jesus: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5). But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of
God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15). But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belong” (Luke 18:16-17). Carey Baptist College lecturer Andrew Picard affirms Goodliff’s views, saying he believes that Jesus drew children into the centre of his new community to be active participants in the kingdom of God, rather than props that Jesus uses to remind adults of their need for childlikeness. He adds, “l think for us as a church there needs to be something of a shift in which we begin to realise children are...active agents in our midst who God uses for the sake of the gospel.”3
Culture and context So what about the other fields that Keller refers to—those of culture and context? Perhaps we can learn something from the Presbyterian Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand about understanding context. It was in response to research that showed Presbyterian churches were, in Jill Kayser’s words, “missing the boat as far as children and families were going”, that Jill launched what has since become the Presbyterian national children’s ministry, Kids Friendly. She describes Kids Friendly as an ethos and congregational core value, not as a programme. However she says it can only be embraced as such when the culture of an organisation changes, and that can only happen when churches at a local level have some sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo—what Jill refers to, in a biblical sense, as ‘lament’. When we look at our current New Zealand context there is plenty to lament; children in this nation are under fire physically, emotionally and spiritually: • On average, one New Zealand child dies every five weeks as a result of violence.4 • According to UNICEF almost twenty per cent of New Zealand children live in poverty.5 • There have been recent legal challenges aimed at removing religious instruction from New Zealand state primary schools. • Parents are increasingly finding that sport is being played on Sundays, keeping even Christian families away from church. Culture is also undergoing rapid change. Children have more knowledge at their iPad fingertips than teachers could ever hope to impart, and they are being shaped by the digital world they inhabit. When you put this alongside our growing ethnic diversity and the rise in secular humanism,
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Baptist / C U L T U R E
I don’t think it was an overstatement when Pope Francis recently claimed, “We are not living in an era of change, but a change of era.”6
• We are prepared to challenge the status quo and be innovative. This is relevant to our ministry and mission with children, but extends much further as well.
Catalyst for further discussion We’ve looked at the threads of theology, doctrine, culture and context that now need to be woven together into a vision. Based on this, and in the spirit of Luther the reformer, I’d like to metaphorically nail an idea to the Baptist church door—an idea that is meant as a catalyst for further discussion. Understanding the challenges of our times, and knowing we have twenty-six per cent fewer children in our churches today, for the sake of the generations to come I believe God is calling us to be missional churches with children at the centre. This doesn’t mean they go on a pedestal or that everything is about them. Rather, by having them at the centre, we ensure that who we are and what we do reaches, grows and disciples our children, our taonga. This will mean several things: • Mission with children is central to what we do. Many of our churches began as Sunday Schools. It was the church growth strategy of the day.
• We are open to new ways of doing church—ways that will change the things that we do and the priorities that we have. • We are open to being integrated and interdependent, celebrating and leveraging being intergenerational. It will require us working together and seeking collaboration, both within the church and the local community.
Story: Karen Warner Karen Warner is National Team Leader of Children & Family Ministries for the Baptist Churches of New Zealand This article was based on a presentation Karen Warner gave at the Baptist Hui 2016. This can be viewed at youtu.be/ YjS-WGxa8aQ. You can carry on this conversation with Karen by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph 09 526 7958.
• We make it a priority to pray for children. Our theological vision needs to include the way God sees children and the way he wants us to see and value children. This is where we are in step with society, because the families in your community want the best for their children. When they see that this is also what you want, and more importantly, what God wants, how much more could our relationships with one another and God be?
1. Tim Keller, Center Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 17. 2. Andrew J. Goodliff, ‘To Such as These’: The Child in Baptist Thought (Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2012), 25. 3. “Baptist Hui 2016 Main Session 7: Grace Shared”, Karen Warner: Baptist Children & Family Ministries. youtu.be/ YjS-WGxa8aQ. 4. “Keeping Kiwi Kids Safe”, UNICEF New Zealand. preview.unicef.org.nz/ in-new-zealand/child-abuse. 5. “Child Poverty in NZ”, UNICEF New Zealand. preview.unicef.org.nz/in-newzealand/child-poverty. 6. “Pope Francis Outlines His Vision for the Church”, Anthony D’Arco: National Federation of Priests’ Council. nfpc.org/homepage-news/popefrancis-outlines-his-vision-for-church.
Will you help to put Jesus in the hands of 1.4 million Kiwis at Easter 2018? Have you noticed how Jesus’ name is hardly mentioned in public media at Easter anymore? While the Christian message of hope is unchanging, the beliefs of our society are now continuously changing, and the messages of media feed them. In such a society, maintaining a visible presence is important because ‘out of sight’ equals ‘out of mind’. To preserve an awareness of Jesus at Easter it is proposed that the Hope Project be run every year. This would bring esteem to the name of Jesus, and if we work together is very achievable. In 2014-2016 the first three national media efforts saw many lives being dramatically changed, and churches and individuals helped to engage conversations. Please participate in this very worthy effort now by going to: AllTogether.co.nz/donate
For more, please visit: AllTogether.co.nz/hopeproject
Baptist / L E A D E R S H I P
What model do you drive? Pearl/lightstock.com
Getting back to the core of what pastoral care really is
REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU LEAD, HOW BIG YOUR CONGREGATION OR ORGANISATION IS, OR HOW YOU GOT TO BE WHERE YOU ARE AS A LEADER, YOUR INTRINSIC MODEL WILL INFLUENCE YOUR PRACTICE AND THEREFORE YOUR DECISIONS AND PEOPLE OUTCOMES. JOHN PEACHEY LOOKS AT THE POWER OF MODELS AND HOW SOME CAN HURT YOU, NOT HELP YOU, AS A LEADER.
all have a mental picture of how we want to lead. Potentially we project what our leadership might look like when placed against a significant voice that has influenced our model of thinking. The people we look up to, role models and experiences, both bad and good, have a huge impact on the formation of what we believe leading sounds and feels like. In fact, the model drives everything. In a recent workshop, I asked a group of senior educational
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W H I C H E V E R WAY Y O U L O O K AT I T, T H E C O M PA R AT I V E N A R R AT I V E IS AN UNKIND VOICE. leaders to tell me both a bad and a good story of leadership from a personal experience. None of the stories were hard to elicit, and when I asked when they occurred, the emotion while recounting them belied the fact these events were experienced several decades ago. Such is the power of the model. The good stories framed their desire to incorporate their positive experiences into their practice. The bad experiences simply highlighted a leader, in each case, who embodied the full and damaging blast of someone lost in their own insecurity. Insecurity kills leaders and churches (people). But that is another story.
Success and self-critique Thanks to snacking on social media, perhaps never before have we been so influenced by external models that are introduced to us by a world that celebrates success by measuring how fast, how far, how big, how much and how shiny. The values context for successful pastoral leadership is fraught with similar subjective metrics that bear little or no resemblance to actual success when applied into a faith/ people setting. I would venture to suggest they bear no influence on the path Jesus set you off on, yet we allow them to grind at our calling and our self-evaluation. Reinhard Bonnke’s call was to speak to the millions, and bless him for doing what God has told him to do. Personally, I feel the pleasure of God when I do it to ’the least of these’. Oh, but then maybe I should be doing it to more of the least of these? So more, not least, and least by whose measure? Now my head hurts! In 2010 a UK adventure company Into The Blue commissioned a survey of 1,032 sixteen-year-olds. The Independent newspaper published the results on their website.1 The survey was attempting to discover why an increased number of teenagers were purchasing their Superstar singing experiences and dance lessons. The survey simply asked the teenagers: “What would you like to do for your career?” More than half of the teens did not want a career; they just wanted to be famous. The survey then asked those who sought fame to name their role models. Supermodel Kate Moss was top, followed in order by footballer Wayne Rooney, pop star
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Lady Gaga, and Celebrity Big Brother star Nicola T. Tycoon Sir Richard Branson was fifth, chosen by forty-three per cent of the teenagers. If you stand back and look at how we have adorned some churches and church leaders with fame, fortune and celebrity, you might be forgiven for believing that similar thinking has influenced faith culture. One of my favourite voices is Walter Brueggemann, an American theologian and professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades, and is often quoted as saying that the church has adopted military consumerism.2 That is to say, we have bought into the lie of a successful model that we are going from strength to strength and wealth to wealth. Apparently, if you’re not growing on the chart you are just not succeeding. I find the rise of the comparative competition narrative in our churches, and in society in general, is the new ugly epidemic. Whichever way you look at it, the comparative narrative is an unkind voice. It drives people to try and be what they are not, and to accumulate what will not make them content. I recently ran a series of workshops on leadership well-being for faith-based leaders where we looked at the specifics of how delightfully individual God made each of us. Uniquely gifted. Beautifully fitted for purpose. I concluded that we constantly need reminding of who we are in his pleasure, under his sovereign watchful plan and eye. This is why it is vital for pastoral leadership health to get back to the core of what pastoral care really is. The comparative narrative has got nothing to do with leading well. This group had simply forgotten it.
Hearing God’s approval When Jesus went to John to be baptised in the Jordan, John first tries to dissuade him, but then gives in (Matthew 3). As we know, Jesus follows the prescribed protocols and the Holy Spirit descends on him. Then the author relates that the voice of God proclaims: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). I find this passage intriguing. Jesus knew who he was, and John knew who Jesus was, so why the public affirmation? The passage immediately before John’s account relays: “But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism…” (Matthew 3:7). So perhaps it was for the religious authorities. I think God was setting a model in place that we need to be reminded of in our comparative world. When was the last time you heard: “This is my daughter/ my son in whom I am well pleased”? Roughly translated that means: “You rock. I love what you do. Thank you for caring for my sheep, for feeding them so diligently, for fighting off the bears and lions, for leaving the ninety-nine and going after that one who needs my grace right now.”
The Apostle Paul twice says simply imitate me as I follow Christ.3 A true comparative narrative! Or maybe we need to learn to speak far more deeply and regularly into the model in who were we made. Created in his image— pure Trinitarian theology where the relational model is paramount. I think we live in a world that desperately needs encouraging, comforting and edifying, to balance the dislocation that comparative narrative causes. We can become pulled down by theological theory and bombarded by public opinion of what our churches and pastoral leadership need to look like. For me, I trust the sovereignty of God. This is his game, his rules and his gifts. If you find yourself struggling to know what this pastoral leadership model is all about, stop comparing yourself to other leaders and just ask yourself this simple question: “How do I love to be led?” Now go try that.
“Expect great things
Take outs... 1. Who has been the “significant voice” that has most influenced your model of leadership? Story: John Peachey John from The Think Farm is a thought leader, motivational teacher and leadership commentator. He researches, writes and delivers on the style of leadership and communication that drives innovation, engagement and collaboration. He mentors both faith‑based and secular leaders. Contact him at email@example.com. 1. “Fame the career choice for half of 16-year-olds”, Alison Kershaw: Independent. ind.pn/2xtXpEC. 2. “Walter Brueggemann’s Coercive Collectivism”, Mark Tooley: Juicy Ecumenism. bit.ly/2vAyC02.
3. How do you love to be led? Does that influence the way you lead others?
3. 1 Corinthians 1:11; 4:16.
for God” in —William Carey, 1761-1884
2. John says, “…we constantly need reminding of who we are in [God’s] pleasure, under his sovereign watchful plan and eye.” Do you know a leader who needs some gentle affirmation that God is well pleased with them? How can you encourage them today?
Carey this year has not just taught me how to ‘read’ the Bible, but how to own what I believe and dig into the freshness of His presence. MITCHELL YOUNGS Carey Student
Study God’s Word and become better equipped to serve Him in your workplace, church, and mission field. Applied Theology Inter-cultural Mission Pastoral Leadership Youth Pastoral Leadership Children & Family Leadership Intermission Youth Gap Year Ethnic Ministry Leadership Full-time, part-time, distance and block course options available.
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Noho marae wananga The gospel was first proclaimed in the South Island at Koukourarata in Port Levy. It was there that the Canterbury-Westland Baptist Association held its recent noho marae. David Moko, Shaun Hutson, Bruce White and a team from Southwest Baptist Church organised the noho. The intention was to create an experience where Baptist pastors could participate within Māori culture, exploring the potential impact of the Treaty on professional practice, and that this experience would give them confidence to make contact with local Māori communities. “This is in response to the Holy Spirit’s call to engage with Māori through the covenant at Waitangi—a call that is being heard by an ever-growing body of churches across all denominations,” says Shaun Hutson. Following the powhiri, the twenty-five participants shared something of their own stories, and what they hoped to get out of the time together. This mihimihi (introductory speech) helped create connections among the group, based on what was shared. Some of those attending had never stayed on a marae before, while others have been journeying biculturally for a while. Dr Richard Manning, a University of Canterbury Lecturer, then led the group through sessions on race, culture and the Treaty.
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“The session on culture was rich in its content, developing many of our shared understandings further,” says Shaun. “The discussion on race as a construct of the imperial west to justify the subordination of other peoples was particularly challenging. It showed how resilient these ideas still are. The Treaty presentation allowed us to see how this covenant, even though it has been broken many times, still provides a way to unite. It creates the unique identity that is ‘Kiwi’—not in cultural conflict, but instead cultural synergy. We discovered the impact of the Treaty on practice does not simply mean using Te Reo in our services, though it might. It means standing with our Māori partners in things important to them. It was exciting, inspiring and aspirational.” Brian Turner then talked to the pastors about the situation in West Papua. Standing for justice with the ethnic West Papuans against systematic oppression has become an active cause among many Māori. The weekend ended with each of the participants speaking about what they had heard and learned, what actions they would take, and the next steps for themselves and their churches in response to the invitation to advance multicultural rhythms within an accepting environment.
Cultural diversity workshop Eastview Baptist Church and Ormiston Community Baptist Church recently jointly hosted Dr Sheryl Takagi Silzer, on her cultural diversity tour. Dr Silzer is a multicultural consultant from SIL International, USA. She seeks to help Christians understand their cultural diversity so they can discover more of who they are in God. Eastview Baptist Lead Pastor Robyn Mellar-Smith says most of the more than 60 people at the August workshop were Baptist lay people, although a few pastors also attended. “We held the workshop because we recognise our need as Baptist churches to understand the world views of the immigrants in our midst, so that we are better equipped to help meet their spiritual needs. Interestingly, a number of people of different ethnicities attended. All who I spoke to found the workshop very helpful.” Drawing on experiences of the group as well as her own, Dr Silzer explained that the culture learned as a child affects lifestyle choices in many areas, such as visiting, communicating, eating, working, resting, cleaning and giftgiving. Therefore, it is understandable that cultural differences impact interpersonal relationships and decision making. Although encountering such differences causes an emotional response, recognising this can lead to ways of doing things that won’t offend others. Dr Silzer said there are only two basic cultural identities— individual and collective. Western culture is largely individual, where people make their own choices of food, clothes, job, partner, etc. In collective or group culture, these decisions are often made either by some leader or by the group as a whole. Individual identity sees how people are different, while collective identity sees how people are the same. Within the two basic cultural identities, Dr Silzer said a further two dimensions can be added. These are based on structure and community. Structure is based on rules, age, gender, work, social status and skin colour. Community is based on how much time and energy is spent together, and involves the responsibility of taking care of one another. She said understanding there are people whose cultures place them in different quarters is a big step towards acceptance, and that it is important for Kiwis to help recent immigrants understand our individualistic culture.
Conferences a treat for Gisborne and South Auckland Women On 29 July, two Baptist churches hosted separate women’s events in association with Baptist Women New Zealand (BWNZ). In Gisborne, the theme was ‘Women as God sees them’. Three speakers led inspiring sessions: Andrea Page, former Tranzsend missionary and the new President of BWNZ; Beulah Wood, Programme Leader of Ethnic Ministry Leadership at Carey; and Anne MacCarthy, retiring President of BWNZ. Gisborne women loved the retreat. They said, “The speakers encouraged us to look at ourselves (inward), those around us (outward), and listen for God to speak to us (upward). They reminded us to think of other Baptist women around the Pacific and the world. “In the last session we listened to what God wanted to say to each of us, prayed creatively in the stillness, and prayed for each other. It was a remarkable day of discovery, friendship and inspiration.” On the same day, in Pukekohe, Auckland, the Flourish Women’s Ministry Team at Franklin Baptist Church hosted the inaugural ‘Together’ Baptist Women’s Conference. This was an exciting culmination of prayer and planning for both BWNZ and Flourish. More than 110 women from fifteen Baptist churches attended. Comedy duo Stace ‘n Trace launched the event with a hilarious take on life. Marjory McSaveney and Olwyn Dickson spoke about the beauty and strength in coming together as Christian women, weaving together their stories and experiences. Franklin Baptist worship band led worship, and the conference offered three masterclasses about friendship, dealing with change, and mentoring. One delegate commented, “I just loved how many people I met!” Another said, “I got so much healing from sharing my story at conference and I felt really safe to share it.” At both events BWNZ presenters told of the power of prayer and the story of Baptist women coming together through events such as the Annual Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer in November, which links Baptist women around the world. If your church would like to host an event in conjunction with BWNZ, contact Andrea Page firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Silzer (centre) with some of the workshop attendees.
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Neighbourhood & Justice Initiatives Hui Approximately 100 people attended the Neighbourhood & Justice Initiatives hui held in August in Auckland, Tauranga, Whanganui and Christchurch. Although drawn from different locations and ministries, they shared a spirit of experimentation, and a common desire to impact their local community and to deepen the relationships formed through their community‑based activities. Ruby Duncan, National Team Leader for Neighbourhood & Justice Initiatives, explained to the groups how the philosophy of different models of ‘helping’ has developed over time. Most noticeably, there has been a move from charity models (doing things for people, responding to deficits in the community), to working in ways where the community can participate in being part of their own solution to their own challenges. Some churches and groups have developed community hubs or provide specialist community services. Others teach their people how to be agents of change and hope in their own communities. This includes several of the younger generation who are getting involved in new ways to live within neighbourhoods. Being willing to collaborate with other groups is beneficial, to complement one another and reduce common costs.
Ruby Duncan (second from right) with a team from Mt Roskill Baptist Op Shop at one of the Auckland hui.
Despite the diversity of models represented at the hui, a common feeling was that the way forward was to see all the activities of the church, including any community-based activities, as part of one whole picture. This involves seeing those in the community as on a journey towards faith in Christ, rather than as outsiders. “One of the challenges to this is the tension that exists between what churches want to see as outcomes—in particular, that neighbourhood initiatives would lead to new people coming to church—and the reality of people’s lives being so different to those of Christians in churches that they would not feel comfortable or accepted in church,” says Ruby. “People need to feel ‘at home’, so the question for us as churches, is to get into the others’ shoes and think about what that would look like for people in our community. It might look very different to what we have become used to, or we might have to grapple with how to create multiple spaces of belonging and worship.”
Building without a mortgage… is it possible? Earlier this year, St Albans Baptist Church opened their rebuilt auditorium, which had been damaged in the February 2011 earthquake. It is a stunning auditorium, and the opening was an amazing day that gave glory to God for his goodness. This rebuild came just six years after a previous building project, and required another $500,000 on top of the insurance money. St Albans had had an amazing experience with their first building project. It cost $1.45 million but was completed without a mortgage, and was financed by about seventy-two givers! This was in spite of the Global Financial Crisis. Senior Pastor John Alpe says although all the bills and giving for the latest build have not been received , it looks on track to be a similar result. While acknowledging God leads differently in each circumstance, John feels some reflections from their
experiences might be helpful to other churches contemplating a build.* Firstly, he suggests developing a culture of generosity. If a church isn’t meeting the ordinary church budget with surpluses, then that becomes the place to start. For St Albans, there was first a breakthrough in ordinary giving and then the extraordinary giving related to the building project became an adventure. Many couples testified they were initially scared to give large amounts. However, because both husband and wife had heard God say the same amount to each of them personally, they were excited to give because of what might happen next. Secondly, John advises to get an excellent plan and an excellent team. St Albans talked to every youth and adult in the church to find their opinion about what should be built. The resultant plans were far too expensive,
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but they agreed to design something with the best of what everyone wanted instead. This drew the support of the church. They then assembled a highly skilled and experienced team. A leader emerged after he received a vision where Jesus instructed him to give his time and expertise. However, John says the most important aspect for St Albans was hearing Jesus say to begin. “I believe having the impression that you should build is not enough. Neither is having the elders and church on board. I think these things are signs that God is in it, getting things ready. But for me the crucial thing is praying and listening until the Holy Spirit speaks directly, saying ‘Begin now.’”
*This is an edited version of John’s reflections. For the full version go to baptistmag.org.nz/our-stories.
Dying to get into the marketplace
Imagine 2017 The first weekend in September, more than 160 young adults from Whangarei to Wellington came together to dig deeper into their walk with God and with each other. The result was an explosive weekend of being exhorted to live into the Imago Dei (image of God), of healing prayer and ministry with each other, and a huge amount of fun and laughter. This camp originated with a small number of young adults from Wellington who had gathered together last year to pray about young adults and God’s heart for them. They knew the restless hunger that young adults have, to create spaces where they can engage rigorously with the gospel and our world, connect with others across the nation, and strengthen their love for the local church. From these prayer meetings, it seemed that God’s Spirit snowballed their ideas; a stellar line up of speakers and contributors offered their support, all kinds of grassroots people gave their skills, gifts and time, and eventually there were more people wanting to register than the camp had capacity for! The camp’s theme was ‘Imagine—Created in Whose Image?’ The scriptural motif of being made in the image of God and being changed into the likeness of Christ was preached, debated and discussed in a variety of formats. Under this motif, many facets of life and faith including justice, relationships, mental health, biculturalism and ethics were engaged with. Here are comments from a couple of participants: “Just want to say a big thanks from our crew! We had some great chats over the course of the camp and on the way home, as we’ve been challenged about what we know of God and Scripture, and how we can better image our loving and creative God in our daily lives. We also had a big age range in our group, yet each person felt equally challenged, inspired and equipped.” “Thanks so much for your work to make this weekend happen. It was a blessing to the people from our church, and it was exactly what I had hoped to get out of a weekend with my peers. To have a place/forum to healthily discuss, debate and dive into a topic like Imago Dei was powerful and important. Best camp I have been to. And many from my church community feel the same.” Please pray for the young adults of our nation!
Over the last six years, Windsor Park Baptist Church has been moving into the Christ-centred social enterprise space as it expands its ministries into being a participant in the marketplace. Their business-as-mission enterprise, Windsor Park Hub Limited, has a range of social goals including employment creation (particularly for the marginalised), being a good employer, sustainability to enable giving back to the community in various ways, and being a positive witness for Christ in the marketplace. Recently Windsor Park Hub Limited launched its fifth business-as-mission enterprise—Windsor Funerals, a full-service funeral home serving the North Shore and beyond. Senior Pastor Grant Harris says Windsor Funerals had been a vision of his for some time. “I’ve always felt that helping people and providing exemplary service through some of the difficult times of life would be a great ministry and provide contexts for caring for people with the love of Jesus.” Windsor Funerals began operating two months ago under the direction of Manager Hazel James and Funeral Director Ryan Berry, both of whom have extensive funeral directing experience. Windsor Park Hub Limited CEO Ben Fouche began his role in February, with the first job on his desk to incubate Windsor Funerals. “I didn’t have any experience in the funeral industry, so you can certainly say it’s been a learning exercise! But with experienced and passionate funeral directors who both carry the heart and vision of Windsor Park’s social enterprise, it’s been a very positive beginning,” says Ben. As far as they are aware there is only one other charitable funeral company in New Zealand (in Tauranga), so this business is not only doubling that number, it’s hopefully starting something that could be duplicated in other churches. “Our model of church-owned and Christcentred social enterprise is quite unique,” says Grant, “but we’ve started this model in a way that could be of service to other churches. We’re currently working with two other churches who are interested in entering joint ventures for our Small Fries Early Childhood Education centres, and what we’re learning in the funeral space can also be duplicated in other centres in the future.”
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Marnie Dovey: A Life Lived Beautifully SEPTEMBER 1918 – AUGUST 2017
Maurice Lovegrove ED: A life serving others 13 OCTOBER 1939 – 12 AUGUST 2017
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The words, “…a life lived beautifully,” were used to describe Marjorie (Marnie) Dovey at a service of thanksgiving held recently at All Saints’ Chapel, Auckland. As a young woman, Marnie felt called to serve God in India. She went to BTI before training as a nurse. Eighteen months into her nursing training, Marnie was asked to relieve a missionary in Brahmanbaria. Within a short time, she was heading overseas where she served with NZBMS for fifteen years (1944‑1958). After completing language study, Marnie moved to the semi-remote Jampui District of Tripura to work with the existing church there. Her strong desire to teach and encourage the local people, and to share the gospel, particularly with the Riang and Chakma people, is greatly treasured and remembered.
Prior to moving to Tripura, Marnie was trained in speech and drama. While focussing her work on health and education, her writing and language skills were greatly appreciated and later used to prepare written teaching materials for the Mizo people in their native language. Marnie’s life and work played a significant part in the faith journeys of many people, and she came to be known as Pi Zoduhi, meaning ‘Lover of the People’. In 1958 Marnie returned to New Zealand to care for her elderly parents. Here she continued to care deeply for the people God had sent her to serve. For over twenty years, she sent regular parcels and translated scripture notes. The villagers once said to her, “It is better that you have returned to New Zealand because you can now help twenty-five villages!”
“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?” These words of Winston Churchill were quoted at the celebration of Maurice Lovegrove’s life held recently at the Franklin Baptist Church. Maurice passed away suddenly at Middlemore Hospital, aged seventy‑seven. He was the dearly loved husband of Marguerite for fifty-four years and loving father of four children, with twelve adoring grandchildren. As a young man Maurice was very involved in church life and youth groups, spending most of his free time at the Sandringham Methodist Church. From an early age, he had a deep desire to serve God and to make a difference in other people’s lives. After attending Mount Albert Grammar, Maurice worked with the BNZ. While managing the Tuakau branch, he established his own insurance
business in Pukekohe, which he ran for twenty years. Maurice joined the Territorials when he was nineteen, going on a tour of Malaya for the end of the Malayan Emergency in 1960. When Maurice and Margy settled in Pukekohe in 1970, the family attended Franklin Baptist Church, where they were deeply involved for nearly fifty years. Maurice led multiple youth groups throughout his life, and was the treasurer of the church for fifteen years. He was also a deacon for many years and he led home groups right up until earlier this year. Maurice had a gift of compassion, was a visionary leader, and a skilled administrator—he had no problem making sacrifices to help others by using these gifts. Maurice and Margy supported many missionary families and organisations, with Maurice serving as Administrator of the Baptist Union and the Missionary Society in the late 1980s during the
Directory SENIOR PASTOR In 1994 Marnie had the pleasure of returning to Tripura as the church celebrated the centenary of the arrival of the gospel. During that visit, Marnie wore traditional Mizo dress. She was laid to rest in the same outfit, a beautiful reflection of her deep love for Tripura. At the hearing of her passing, the Tripura Baptist Christian Union, The Theological College of Argatala, and St Paul’s School closed their offices for a day, declaring it a day of mourning. This shows the great love and respect the people of Tripura have for Marnie. We are greatly blessed to have had such a strong and passionate woman of faith as part of the NZBMS team. We honour her for her obedience to God’s call, and rejoice with her as she is with the Lord her Saviour.
Opawa/Waltham is a small but growing area of Christchurch near the central city. Opawa Baptist Church has been part of the community for over 100 years and will soon open the doors on a revitalised building. We are a warm and welcoming church, with a strong heritage of prayer and service. The church also has good links with the community and has committed ministry leaders. We are looking for a pastor who is relational and who will be a catalyst for mission and ministry in our midst. PLEASE CONTACT PHILLIP HAUSSMANN FOR AN INFORMATION PACK email@example.com 021 181 8598
Join a small NZ support team committed to seeing Jesus change lives in Eastern Europe through the Gospel and practical help. You will bring: • 2-5 years’ experience in fundraising, marketing or sales; • a relevant tertiary or other qualification; • excellent spoken and written English; • experience in: integrated marketing campaigns using social media; organising events; use of a donor/CRM database; confident engagement with supporters and volunteers. REVIEW THE POSITION DESCRIPTION ON mwb.org.nz/vacancies THEN EMAIL YOUR LETTER OF APPLICATION AND CV TO firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 OCTOBER 2017
E G N IS O T W E
APPLICATIONS CLOSE 24 OCTOBER 2017
move from Wellington to Auckland. He was instrumental in setting up the offices in Papatoetoe and made a significant contribution to the future of both organisations in that transition time. Maurice was a founder of the Franklin Christian Lobby Group, which started in 2006. This group was initially set up to be a think tank for the government, with their primary aim to uphold Christian values in bills of parliament. The first bill they tackled was the antismacking bill, which they were firmly against. Maurice’s favourite passage was Proverbs 3:5-6—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Maurice spent his life serving others, and has certainly made the world a better place.
FUNDRAISING DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
New Plymouth 9-11 NOV E MB E R | 9AM ST AR T NO RTH P O I N T BA P TI S T C H U RC H ba p ti s t.o r g .n z / b ap ti s t-h u i -2017
Paid, full-time position, based in Palmerston North. An awareness of Open Brethren history would be beneficial, but not necessary. Go to www.cccnz.nz/page/jobs/ and click on the CCCNZ Administrator link for more info or email Sheri for a job description at email@example.com
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Directory CHILDREN AND FAMILIES WORKER
LET US HELP YOU THROUGH...
Windsor Funerals is a church‑owned funeral company caring for Auckland families.
FULL TIME POSITION
Avondale Baptist Church has served its local community and environs for the last 90 years and has a rich history of community outreach and service. In keeping with this legacy and to better position ourselves as we serve the needs of our rapidly changing community, we have identified the need for a Children and Families Worker to help drive the Church vision forward. ABC is going through a period of change as we reassess our current footprint within the local community and we need the skills of a great person with a strong heart for Christian ministy and social justice to help shape this role. Although this position is advertised as full time, we are flexible and will work with the candidate to find a right balance of hours should that be required. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR CV ALONG WITH A COVERING LETTER, OUTLINING WHAT MAKES YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT SERVING AND LEADING THIS MINISTRY TO firstname.lastname@example.org
Dignity, sensitivity, and respect are the hallmarks of H Morris Funeral Services and we are proud to be able to provide funeral services to suit your needs and financial circumstances. Our staff are available to you twentyfour hours a day to help put in place funeral plans, provide advice, and take care of all of the details to make the service meaningful and appropriate. 31 OCEAN VIEW ROAD, NORTHCOTE 09 489 5737 email@example.com hmorris.co.nz
Our experienced, caring staff will guide you and make a difficult time easier for you and your family. Our pre-pay funeral plan is held by Christian Savings and is free from set-up and administration fees. Plus, pre‑arrange a funeral with us and you will receive a 10% discount on our professional fee. CONTACT US TODAY TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT 09 477 2433 firstname.lastname@example.org windsorfunerals.co.nz
AFFORDABLE HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION
MANGAPAPA UNION PARISH
IN BEAUTIFUL HAVELOCK NORTH
Gay & Christian
in Gisborne is seeking a new Church Leader to start early 2018. If you are filled with, and led by the Holy Spirit, committed to Jesus Christ and know how to share the love of the Father,
from $50.00 per night.
GAY & CHRISTIAN
support & discussion group monthly meetings 027 279 4461 email@example.com ponsonbybaptist.org.nz/gay-andchristian-information
PLEASE CHECK OUT ‘JOB VACANCIES’ ON OUR WEBSITE mup.org.nz
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Arohanui Christian Centre offers two self contained units with off-street parking. (One sleeps three and one sleeps five) FOR FULL PRICING AND FURTHER INFO PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE arohanuicc.org.nz 06 877 4191 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Glo bal Mis si on Photo of the month A typical scene from within The Gateway building. Today, the building’s purchase and renovation is ongoing, as the building becomes a place to bring freedom to many!
TOG ETHER W E CA N RE A C H T H E W O RL D
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A word from Rachel THE GIFT OF MONEY Recently, while sitting with one of our overseas staff members talking about the current and potential projects he was involved with, the conversation turned to money. We discussed the fact that money (or the lack of it), can often restrict the timeframes of projects we have sitting in the planning stages. At times, it can be difficult to reconcile the knowledge that God has called people and commissioned activity when the necessary financial targets are slow to be realised. In those times, it can be easy to question God about whether we heard him correctly in the first place, and to fully trust that he is in control. One such project was the purchase of The Gateway building two years ago. So many gave towards this and we are very grateful. At the time of purchase, we did some hard questioning as funds slowed and in the end, so as to meet the already extended deadlines, we needed to acquire two loans. While we do now own the building, one of those loans still exists. The great news is that The Gateway building itself is being used in a number of ways—these Global Mission pages within this edition of the Baptist share with you more about the activities being used to bring freedom to many. It is, as I write this, the last day of the financial year. The day’s tasks are being punctuated by the team outside my office door celebrating the endof-year deposits of funds hitting the bank account. That celebration focuses on edging ever closer to the budget targets that we need to present back to you as churches and individuals, and also highlights the support and commitment of so many of you who believe in what God has called us to as a denomination. While I regularly desire that money was not so central to our activity and service across Asia and the Pacific, it is a reality for life and work. For that reason, I choose to see it as a tool given to do that which God requires. So, once again, we thank you, our donors and supporters, for the myriad of ways in which you partner not only with us as the NZBMS, but also with our God in his work to transform his world. gā mihi nui, N Rachel Murray, General Director
The Gateway– two years on. IT’S ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO THAT THESE PAGES CARRIED THE STORY OF THE PURCHASE OF THE GATEWAY; A BUILDING IN SOUTH ASIA THAT COULD BE USED TO HOUSE FREEDOM BUSINESSES AND TRAIN THOSE WHO HAD A DESIRE TO START OR WORK IN A FREEDOM BUSINESS. IN THIS EDITION’S GLOBAL MISSION PAGES, WE BRING YOU UP-TO-DATE WITH WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING AT THE GATEWAY OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS.
rom the second day after purchase—which was a marathon day in itself, taking ten hours to sign the documents—The Gateway became home. A dream became a miraculous reality as funds came in to meet our need. Even today, two years on, we remain incredulous of the way this building became a part of our community. Sitting right at the front and centre of the Sonagacchi main lane, the name “The Gateway,” is fitting. Our prayer and hope is that this building will become the gateway to freedom for the thousands trapped in the sex industry. From its first week, many different types of training were established from this building. With rooms available for accommodation, great kitchens, and some lovely big spaces, The Gateway is the hub for: • Freedom Encounter—a three-week intensive course for those interested in finding out about how a freedom business runs. • Freedom Exposure—a year-long internship for emerging church leaders who then move into roles
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within Freeset, e.g. into the lead role of new businesses established. • Trauma Counselling—a year-long course for social/health workers across eight separate freedom businesses and organisations. The Gateway has also hosted some significant celebrations, including Freeset’s annual birthday and Christmas parties, Sari Bari’s (freedom business) tenth birthday, and the Tamar Community Centre’s fifth birthday. A small production unit, administration office, Tamar office and counselling space have already been operating here, and Freeset Bags and Apparel’s t-shirt production moved in this month. We currently have twenty new women in training also based here. The Gateway has hosted many teams and visitors who have given of their time and talents—electricians, plumbers, painters, artists and many just willing to scrub and clean—all have contributed in changing this building into a place of freedom. With much yet to be renovated, feel free to come on over and lend a hand! As we glimpse into next year we hope to open the doors to: • The Cup—a simple gathering place where cha, coffee and chat can happen. • A childcare facility (aiming for 100 children one day). • New freedom businesses we don’t even know about yet but believe are part of the eternal plan. We long to see our community transformed from a place of slavery, despair and pain to one of hope, joy and faith, and The Gateway is helping us do that.
Story: Annie Annie is a Tranzsend worker with a heart to see those trapped in the sex-trade find freedom. She is based in South Asia.
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Baptist / G L O B A L M I S S I O N
Spencer and Emerson’s big adventure CHILDREN ARE A VITAL PART OF OUR
Stories of Treasure and Transformation
TRANZSEND FAMILY. IN THIS MONTHLY COLUMN, THE CHILDREN OF SOME OF OUR TRANZSEND WORKERS SHARE SOMETHING OF THEIR LIVES OVERSEAS. Spencer (five) and Emerson (three and a half) have a chat with their Mum, Sophie, about the family’s upcoming move to South Asia. Mum: How do you feel about moving? Spencer: I feel good about it because, well, if I learn to make friends with someone, and I talk to them in Bengali, I could make a lot of friends. Emerson: I don’t like moving. I’m worried. Mum: You’re going to miss New Zealand. What will you miss? Emerson: I will miss the toy library. And my house. Spencer: I will miss my kindy friends and I will miss Weetbix, but I hope we can buy some somewhere. I will also miss the Albany swimming pool—do you think they will have pools where we live? Mum: Let’s try to find a pool when we get there. What could we take with us, to help us feel better? Spencer: I will take the lego. Actually I will take a lot of my special things, mainly batteries. Emerson, I’ll take enough batteries for you too. Emerson: And I will take my toy cars. Mum: What do you think life will be like in South Asia? Emerson: I think I will see lots of different cars and shops. Sometimes Dad and I will have an ice cream. I would like to ride on the tram. Spencer: We will need to wear not many clothes because it will be too hot. It’s close to the equator. Sometimes it will be cold, and sometimes there will be floods. I think I will see a lot of people eating hot curries. Mum: Do you know why Mum and Dad want to go overseas? Spencer: No, we certainly don’t. Turn to Page 38 to find out why Spencer and Emerson’s mum and dad want to go overseas…
Story: Spencer and Emerson
WE LOVE SHARING THE DIFFERENT WAYS GOD IS TRANSFORMING THE COMMUNITIES WE ARE A PART OF. IN THIS MONTH’S EDITION OF ‘OUR STORIES,’ WE FEATURE THREE ACCOUNTS WHERE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS HAS BEEN A GREAT INSPIRATION TO THE PEOPLE WE SERVE.
Goats Well, it took two months longer than expected, but the goat shed is completed! Because we cannot buy steel mesh over here, every grill and pen was made from steel rod painstakingly welded into mesh panels. The raw (rusty) steel then had to be sanded, primed and painted thoroughly. We couldn’t have done it without Grant and Derek from Bethlehem Baptist. They volunteered their time and skills to come and help construct the steel shed. Most days, it was so hot that we had to start work at 6am.
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Goat farming is one solution we have to teach a sustainable income source to local people. Now we have the shed, the next step is to buy some goats—and that is not as easy as it sounds… The most straightforward way to transport goats here is by train, but only three goats are permitted on the train at any one time; and it’s not possible to book the goats on the train ahead of time; and the express train takes thirty-six hours to reach the state capital; and then there is another five-hour train journey to complete the journey. Fortunately, that is all behind us now! Colin made the journey and returned with the first three Boer goats. They moved into their new home and were quarantined for thirty days before cross breeding the first male Boer goat with our existing “Bengal Black” goats. It will then be a further five or six months before the crossbreed kids are born. They say good things take time—this is going to be GREAT!
From Tania in South Asia
A village fellowship that our team has been working amongst for the past seven years has decided they want to outreach into a neighbouring village. So, they advertised English classes for children, “with native English speaking teacher.” I have been heading up the English hour once a week for the past few months—we average thirty children aged three to thirteen years, so it takes a bit of supervision (unsuspecting visitors be warned!). We all sit on mats on the dusty ground outside under a roof. Adults hang about on the periphery too. Lessons seem to be well received—lots of noise, action, sweat, and smiles. The pastor of the fellowship comes in after us and does some activities with the children also. This is a great opportunity to share the love and hope of Jesus with this community—pray with us.
A while ago we met a young girl in the city here. She was in danger of being trafficked and so we took her back to her family home in the village. In speaking with her parents we came up with a deal; if she and her parents returned to the rented room in the city together—emphasis on the ‘together’—then we would look at employing her in one of our businesses. Move forward a few months and that girl is now employed in our business. She is currently going through the programme for our new trainees, where she participates in group therapy sessions in the morning, and is learning to sew in the afternoons. I see her every day. She greets me warmly with her cheeky grin. It makes me so happy to see this one girl who was so close to losing her child-like delight in the world, to being forced into something that she should never know… I guess having observed and understood a little more of her journey than what I have seen or known of other women’s journeys, means that I feel a little more connected to her, and so her freedom is more meaningful to me. But, however much meaning it has for me, I can only imagine what it means for her as she hears the stories of some of the women who have found freedom here, and understands just how close she came to entrapment.
From Maree in South-East Asia
R EAD M ORE
From Jo in South Asia
about the work of Tranzsend at tranzsend.org.nz. v.133 no.5 † toru tekau mā whitu 37
Baptist / G L O B A L M I S S I O N
HEADING TO SOUTH ASIA
THANKS MICHELLE There have been a few changes around the NZBMS office lately and, sadly, we need to report on another one. After five years as part of the home office team, Michelle Warner is leaving us. Michelle has been ably filling a dual-role; that of both Tranzsend and MPIL (Marketplacers International Ltd) administrator. In fact, if ever you have phoned the Tranzsend or Marketplacers office, it was probably Michelle who answered your enquiry. Michelle has been wonderful to work with—calm and patient, and always willing to go the extra mile. On top of the willing and selfless attitude she has displayed in the office, Michelle has spent hours of her own time setting up and overseeing the Marketplacers stall, selling products from our freedom businesses, at the Hui and various churches and church events. We really do wonder how we will manage without Michelle, but we wish God’s blessing on her as she moves to a new position. Michelle’s new position will be as the Executive Assistant for Lisa Woolley, CEO of VisionWest—a community ministry run out of Glen Eden Baptist Church whose aim is to “End Homelessness, Reduce Poverty, Support the Elderly, and Ensure Young People have hope for the future.”
CONGRATULATIONS TO JOEL AND LIZZIE Congratulations to Joel and Lizzie who have announced their engagement. Joel and Lizzie each work in a different one of our South Asia freedom businesses.
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“In the Bible, we see over and over again how deeply God cares for the poor and oppressed. It’s that love and care that has inspired us to take a leap of faith and move to South Asia.” That’s the simple explanation Ryan and Sophie, and their young sons, Spencer and Emerson give for leaving New Zealand mid-way through this month. With a passionate desire to be with and care for those without the freedoms we take for granted, Ryan and Sophie are excited to be joining an organisation dedicated to setting free those who are trapped in slavery. Encouraged and supported by their church, Northcote Baptist, Ryan and Sophie are confident that this is where God wants them to be—serving these people, and their community. As parents, they hope their time in South Asia will provide their boys with a lifelong awareness of, and compassion for, the ways in which the majority of the world lives. If you or your church is interested in being part of the family’s support team, or would like to receive their regular newsletters, please contact Tranzsend at email@example.com or 09 526 8440.
THE HUI AND BMF 2017 Traditionally held the day before the annual Baptist Assembly—the Hui—the BMF Day has always been a popular and well-attended event. It highlights aspects of NZBMS’s ministry and reminds us of the amazing work that is being done overseas on our behalf. This year, aspects of the BMF day will be incorporated into the NZBMS presentation at the Hui. If you are a regular attender of the BMF Day, this year you will need to attend the Hui programme for Saturday, 11 November. It will be a wonderful time with the usual quotient of inspiration guaranteed. For more information, visit the Hui website via www.baptist.org.nz.
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OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
NZBMS, through Mission World, present the following opportunities to join in God’s mission with one of our other strategic mission partners. • Surgeon (Malawi or Niger) with SIM. For general medical clinic service. Also required, doctors willing to help improve the HIV crisis in this part of the world. • Audio visual, administration, maintenance, bookshop, linguists and production personnel (Australia) with Wycliffe. A range of roles—Wycliffe seek to provide Scripture in indigenous languages. • Area Communications Officers (two) (South Sudan / Arnhem Land, Australia) with MAF. To provide a frequent and detailed flow of information to the wider MAF community in order to ensure resource groups receive accurate, detailed and timely information to support fundraising, maintain existing relationships with donors, as well as to support and encourage prayers and potential recruits. • Marketing and web design (Middle East) with Pioneers. Join the Pioneers team who are focused on serving local people in a range of ways.
• Lab technician (Gambia) with WEC—short term. Qualified, experienced, and able to work in an environment with fewer resources than in the West. Provide practical training to local staff for a lab offering basic services. • Horticulturalist/Farmer (Central Asia) with Interserve. Join a team of expatriates assisting and training local farmers to develop profitable fruit-growing farms. Experience in orchard management required; a background in fresh fruit marketing and storage would be useful. • Theological and Biblical trainers (East Asia) with OMF. To teach and train local leaders in churches and colleges to continue effective ministry work in their unique cultural contexts. • General Manager (Bangladesh) with Tranzsend. For an engineering business focused on generator servicing and supply, and alternative fuel development.
For more information and to express an interest email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 526 8446.
MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE CHANDPUR VILLAGE EDUCATION PROJECT
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT THURSDAYS 8:30PM, FRIDAYS 1:00PM & SATURDAYS 10:00PM
Melinda Gates talks philanthropy with Bill Hybells
The Global Leadership Summit is a unique leadership event by Willow Creek that brings together top leadership thinkers and practitioners from the business world, the church world, the not-for-profit world and academia. Be inspired by successful leadership thinkers like Melinda Gates, John Maxwell, Bishop T.D. Jakes and many more.
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October / November 2017