Baptist Churches of New Zealand
v.131 † no.6
THE POWER OF WORDS THE POWER OF ACTIONS CONNECTING THE GOSPEL MEANINGFULLY A TANGIBLE WITNESS TO A WATCHING WORLD
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Magazine Manager Angela Pedersen Editor Sarah Vaine Art Director Sue Pepper Global Mission Greg Knowles Business Manager Daniel Palmer __ Contact Editorial email@example.com Churches in Action firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising email@example.com Website baptistmag.org.nz Facebook facebook.com/baptistmagazine Baptist Churches of New Zealand PO Box 12-149, Penrose, Auckland 1642, New Zealand Telephone 09 526 0333 __
Materialise the invisible..............4 RE SO U R CE
R E VIE WS
Equipping you.............................7 RE FLECT IONS
Humility, unity & intimacy..........8 D I SC I PL E SHIP
The topic we don’t want to talk about..................................10 FA M I LY
C H I LD
FA M I LY
Celebrate Advent in your family!......................................17 C U LT U R E
Printing Image Print, Auckland Photography shutterstock.com and lightstock.com Cover Image Hank Fortener __
Obeying the (second) greatest commandment in today’s multicultural world......................20
The NZ Baptist Magazine is the magazine of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand.
Criticism in Christian community................................22
LE AD E R SHIP
GLO BA L
Distributed through local Baptist Churches
Who we are and what we do.......25 Lessons from the waterpipe.........31
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D I RE C T ORY
A word from the Editor At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of Jesus, as the hope for a broken world. Yet the coming of a baby and servant king was not how a saviour was expected to arrive. In this issue of the Baptist Magazine, we want to consider the hope found in the gospel, in creativity, in compassion, in understanding and in encouragement as we try and bring a slightly different angle on some of these topics ~ Sarah Vaine.
newspaper. ISSN 1176-8711
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PHOTO: JUNIE JUMIG
Creating futures that are works of art
Erwin McManus is a worldleading advocate for the vital place of creativity in our spiritual lives and longs to see imaginations unlocked in the life of the church. He is the lead pastor at Mosaic, a church community in LA renowned for their innovation and creative expression. Erwin’s understanding of culture and leadership brings fresh insight to the church that must wrestle with its place in today’s world. Erwin was the keynote speaker at the NZ Baptist Hui 2015. He spoke of the need for the church to dream of and create futures that change the world – expressed through lives that are works of art! We caught up with him to unpack this further. Erwin, why do you believe we should be living lives that are works of art? Erwin: He who is the Creator God is the creative God, and he created us in his image and likeness. He created us with imagination and curiosity, with the capacity to hope and dream, and he placed within us all the material necessary to live an extraordinary creative life. So what does this look like? Not all of us are painters, for example. Erwin: Though we may create many beautiful works of art, the most important works of art to which we will ever give ourselves are the lives we live. We will never create anything more powerful or significant than our lives. At first our soul is like a canvas where others begin to paint the portrait of who we are. Slowly, as we develop and mature, we take the brush into our own hands and continue painting our own lives. Then we go beyond that, to leave our mark on the world around us. So a parent loving their child and
investing in their life is a work of art. A nurse helping someone deal with a terminal illness is a work of art. A teacher bringing their creative self to a subject is a work of art and it will be a loved subject. A barista who sees coffee as a work of art, will get you a great flat white! Why is this important? Erwin: The greatest artists in the world would say that the purest motivator of all art is love. When you create something beautiful, you begin to know that love is the driving force of all things beautiful. If a human always acted on love, they would look fully human and would be living up to God’s intention for them. From here, we would create a better world. How do we go about crafting lives that create a better world? Erwin: You need to dream, risk, and create. This should be the reality every moment of your life. You always need to dream, you always need to risk, and you always need to create. If you take a break, there will be a gap in the future. If you’re not dreaming now, you’re not creating tomorrow and if you’re not creating now, you weren’t dreaming yesterday. And if you’re not risking now, there is something that you are not actualising into reality. It’s an ongoing cycle of continuous reinvention. Decide who you are going to be, invest and grow. Feed on that which feeds your dreams and therefore affects what you create. Start living a life of inspiration, not obligation: go and enjoy the life that God has given you so that you can guide others to life! One time, someone asked me if I would give my life to Jesus and I said, “Well, if I do, will I become like you?
Because I don’t want to become like you!” If you tell people that Jesus will change their life but you have a life that people really wouldn’t want, that’s a threat, not a promise! You need to live a full life so that people also want to have full lives – we have to be the best proof of God! Find two or three people who are willing to be on the journey with you – two or three people with a sense of holy discontent and hold each other accountable to live life differently. What is stopping us crafting lives like this? Erwin: Fear seems to be a pretty significant factor: fear of failure or fear of rejection; fear that we are less than we hope we are or fear that we are more than that which we have given ourselves to. But fear goes further than this. For people of faith, there seems to be a fear of infringing on God’s role. We talk about it as if everything good is done by God, and everything evil is done by us. So if we do something good, we say, “Well, the Lord did it.” And if we do something evil, we say, “Well, we did it.” We have a misperception of how God works in the world and we have become paralysed because we don’t know what is our part and what is God’s part in the process of just living life. Fear is the greatest debilitator from a creativity perspective and fear will establish the boundaries of freedom: if you are afraid of heights, you stay low. If you are afraid of people, you stay alone. You have to decide that those fears will not be your boundaries because eliminating the power of fear can unlock most creative potential! Simply seeking to live a life of security and safety, when
T H O U G H W E M AY C R E AT E M A N Y B E A U T I F U L W O R K S O F A R T, T H E M O S T I M P O R T A N T WORKS OF ART TO WHICH WE WILL EVER G I V E O U R S E LV E S A R E T H E L I V E S W E L I V E v.131 no.6 † 5
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hope in what we have now is stronger than the hope in our potential, can result in a miserable life! What would the church look like if it was unlocking creativity in its ventures? Erwin: Well that’s the wonderful thing about it – there wouldn’t be one answer because different people would be dreaming different things, risking in different ways, and creating different futures. The church would be so unique and not so standardised. I think we are coming out of this industrial revolution mindset where the view of humanity was that you get in the assembly line and you do your part and you’re not really important - it’s just the whole that’s important. But then we’ve swung to a place where it is only the individual that is important and the whole doesn’t matter. We can’t seem to bring those two together: we either end up moving towards a standardised community or isolated creativity. I feel like part of what the church is to do is bring these two things together – they are not mutually exclusive. Can we all walk together and be unique? Can we be a community where everyone unlocks their God given potential and creativity but we move together as a tribe towards a goal of creating a more beautiful world? What might need to change in our churches? Erwin: I don’t really know about specifics but I think we tend to love our traditions more than our children and I think that’s a tragedy. I think we also tend to make sacred the things that God gave us – but just because he gave it to us, doesn’t make it sacred. Think about buildings – we might have been given the resources to build a building but it doesn’t mean
God wants that building to be sacred. That building is a temporary vehicle to achieve an eternal outcome. So if that building is getting in the way of reaching the world, it is time to release that. If we make sacred our past, our future can become irrelevant. I would never choose to keep my traditions and lose my kids: church is not here for us, we are the church to reach the world. We don’t have to relinquish our convictions but relevance to culture is non-negotiable. Do you have any thoughts for those in church leadership? Erwin: If you are a leader, it begins with you being teachable, adaptable, and taking courageous steps out of your comfort zone. It begins with your own transformation. I hear pastors talk negatively about their churches and I think, “It’s not your church you don’t like... it’s you! You don’t like yourself!” If there are things you don’t like about your church, you need to change it in yourself first. You can’t make your church creative if you are not prepared to create. You can’t make your church adventurous if you don’t become adventurous. You’re not going to call your church to great risk if you’re not prepared to take great risk. As you grow, so will the church. I also think that people who do not open up their lives to those who do not know God do not know how to create the future of the church. I don’t think anyone should ever have any power in any church if they don’t have friends who don’t know Jesus that they are bringing to Jesus. I really love Jesus and I really want people to know Jesus and as a church leader, you have to love those who don’t know Christ. That’s becoming really human – actually caring about people.
If we make sacred our past, our future can become irrelevant
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It also stops the fights over the colour of the wallpaper. It can be easy to get frustrated with the ways things are in a given church. What would your advice be to someone feeling like this? Erwin: Change something. Move beyond just talking about whatever it is, because if you are just talking about it, you are not frustrated enough to make better choices. Resource You can read more about unlocking your creative potential in Erwin McManus’ book The Artisan Soul. __ Story: Sarah Vaine with Erwin McManus
TAKE OUTS! 1. Erwin talks about dreaming, risking and creating. Do you have dreams that feel too big to implement? What would it take for this to change? 2. How could your church explore the balance of unlocking each person’s creative potential whilst journeying together to a future that impacts the world? 3. If you are a leader, what do you think about this line? “People who do not open up their lives to those who do not know God do not know how to create the future of the church.” 4. Perhaps this makes you feel overwhelmed or exhausted. Discuss this with others and consider what God is calling you to.
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Inside Out Families: Living the Faith Together – Diana Garland We want our children to have a resilient faith that carries them through struggles and enables them to positively contribute to the world. Here are practical communal service ideas to cultivate an “inside-out culture” in families and congregations, to develop strong faith, and to further an understanding of one another and God ~ Rachel Roche. Message To My Girl: A Dying Father’s Powerful Legacy of Hope – Dr Jared Noel with David W. Williams Jared and Hannah Noel’s story touched the nation in 2013, when they faced the prospect that terminally-ill Jared might not meet their unborn child. Yet three months later, after a Givealittle campaign enabled Jared to receive an unfunded drug, he delivered his daughter, Elise. Throughout six years of illness, Jared blogged about life, God, lost dreams, and making the most of life. In August 2014, with weeks to live, Jared’s thoughts were penned in a book as a way for Elise to know a little of her father. Jared suggests that in suffering, asking, “How,” not, “Why,” is
better: “How can I create something in the context of this terrible situation? How can I serve someone despite my own suffering?” Jared sought to live and die well, with heart-breaking transparency and honesty ~ Sarah Vaine. Jesus’ Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount – Richard Rohr with John Feister Rohr uses Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount to offer a totally different view of the poor, the church, and Jesus’ ultimate mission. It could be described as both a manifesto for societal revolution and a call to revisit the biblical foundations of our faith. Easily readable, intellectually challenging, and accessible to all on their journey of faith ~ Justin Latif. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski Jonathan, a hermit-like wood-carver who dislikes Christmas, accepts a commission to replace a widow’s lost nativity set. Seven-year-old Thomas is
One Wild Life: Soul – Gungor “What will you do with your one wild (and precious) life?”1 This question exclaimed by the poet Mary Oliver forms the overarching theme for this trilogy of albums of which One Wild Life: Soul is the first. Focusing on the chaos that life can bring, a sense of disorientation is conveyed lyrically and musically with twelve tracks touching on electronic pop, symphonic orchestration, folk, indie rock, and worship styles. The album ends powerfully with “Vapor,” declaring that hope for the soul and for the whole world lies with the Holy One alone ~ Matt Vaine.
R E VIE WS
desperate to watch and promises to sit very still... though he can’t help giving some advice! As we learn what has made Jonathan so sad, he finds a new way to be happy. This award-winning book will appeal to children and adults, and might be especially appreciated if Christmas is a bittersweet time for you or someone you know ~ Thalia Kehoe Rowden. The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in Our Multicultural World – Werner Mischke The Global Gospel explores the Bible’s honor and shame themes beyond our own cultural interpretation, enriching our understanding of, and appreciation for, all that God has done for us. As we explore this, we see that cross-cultural evangelism can be more fruitful when we shift from trying to teach others to think about guilt like Westerners, to learning how the gospel addresses every culture’s deepest concerns ~ Shireen Chua. VIDEO
The Bible Project This outstanding new resource provides free videos that unpack books of the Bible and biblical themes. With beautiful artwork and exceptional commentaries, these short videos captivate and inspire. Available on YouTube with study guides, these are ideal for use in youth groups and churches, as well as personal reflection. Check out The Bible Project channel on YouTube or jointhebibleproject.com. Highly recommended ~ Sarah Vaine.
Mary Oliver. 1992. The Summer Day. In New and Selected Poems. Boston. Beacon.
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INTIMACY Bethlehem Baptist Church hosted around 550 Baptist delegates this year from all over Aotearoa New Zealand for our annual gathering.
We spent an afternoon learning of the local history and heard from Shanaene Totowera about her experience of a bicultural marriage. An Australian herself, Shaneane shared many funny and personal anecdotes from her marriage to Ray, and she challenged us to move into relationship with people of other cultures, so that we might really understand each other and value our different strengths. The Baptist Research Dinner, held at the Huria Marae, gave us the opportunity to listen to reflections from Judge David Ambler. David’s experience as a Māori Land Court Judge gave us many challenging insights into the bicultural journey and the process of reconciliation that Aotearoa New Zealand presently faces. This all contributed to the overall sense that with God we are honouring our identity as 21st Century New Zealand
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Baptists. This has been warmly embraced which is so very encouraging and we appreciate the leadership and grace of our Manatā Iriiri Māori (newly named Māori Ministries) team. Erwin McManus from the Mosaic Church movement spoke to us on three occasions. Erwin reminded us that we are the Creator's children and that faith and imagination are part of our spiritual DNA. He challenged us to reimagine our futures and be leaders in our culture, not followers. When prayer was offered, hundreds stood to capture from the Lord a refreshing for the power of imagination. An important focus for the Hui this year was the discussion around same-sex marriage. A working party was commissioned at the 2013 Manukau Gathering and the resolutions that resulted from two years of work by this group were discussed over three hours. There was an overwhelming affirmation of traditional marriage (97%). In addition, two other resolutions were passed that saw delegates affirm that Baptist pastors would not conduct samesex marriages and that those who do will forfeit their role as a Baptist
celebrant. We acknowledge that this remains controversial and will need our deepest care and mutual respect for points of difference, but we are grateful for the spirit in which these conversations took place. The Baptist Missions Day held on the Wednesday showcased how our existing missionaries are being used by God in so many fruitful ways, and over the weekend we were awed at how God is releasing a fresh wave of missionaries into all five of our traditional mission fields. We acknowledged the outpouring of God’s love to the nations and were humbled as individuals and families were prayed for and commissioned into the field as our representatives. We also celebrated the Easter Camps of Baptist Youth Ministries (BYM) and honoured past and present Easter Camp directors, as well as volunteers. These camps are so part of our family’s work and BYM leader Gary Grut reminded us of their fruitfulness – God is faithful. Jonny Weir from Carey Baptist College interviewed past and present students who spoke about their own journey into leadership and PHOTOS: JUNIE JUMIG
This was the first time we met under the banner of Hui, which reflects our response to God’s call to grow into our bicultural identity. As part of this, we were led in a powhiri and poroporaki, joined together in waiata and for a hangi, and celebrated our elders.
they discussed the need to develop our future leaders. Carey also shared in celebrating some of their graduates becoming newly recognised ministers. The full list included: Peter Alpe, Heather Ameye-Bevers, Daniel Choi, Ian Goodman, Matthew Gordon, Sandra Gordon, Titus Lian, Daniel Marshall, James McBurney, Samoeun Mom, Ravi Musuku, Timothy Perry, Josh Pound, Mike Renner, Christine Saywell, Richard Starling, Raymond Tamala, Samuel Taylor and Jason Urquhart. We honoured those who have served in long-term leadership in Baptist circles. Those who have served for over thirty years included: John and Sandra Alpe, Steve and Lyn Davis, Mike and Lorraine Enright, Susan Osborne, David Eves and Richard Cutforth. Those who have served for over fifty years included: Ken and Joy McCormack, and Rob and Wyn Thomson. A reflection from President John Douglas was followed by the introduction of Ben Wakefield as our new President, and Jim Patrick was elected as our Vice President. Great worship times, regional meetings, a children’s Hui, presentations from various parts of our movement, excellent food, plenty of laughter, and beautiful sunshine made for an inspirational and Godhonouring event in Bethlehem. The Hui next year will be hosted by Dunedin City Baptist Church. We look forward to that famous southern hospitality. __ Story: Craig Vernall Craig Vernall is the National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand.
YE A R
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As the 2015 President of the Baptist Union of Churches of NZ and the NZ Baptist Missionary Society, I have met with, shared in the challenges of, and enjoyed association with, great people from churches and regions in both islands, especially through clusters and regional retreats. I have observed that each church or community I visited is active in local missional activity and is intentional in engaging with, praying for, and supporting those in overseas missions. Connecting to the spectrum of teams that is par-for-the-course in this role has enabled me to serve our varied and related Baptist endeavours through ‘crosspollination’ – relationally sharing stories, inspirations and lessons from diverse localised settings. As I have reflected on our family of churches, I believe we have elements of historic and contemporary values and beliefs to ground, shape, and motivate us. As such we are: •
A union, not a unity. Any unity we enjoy is the product of our common obedience to Christ and is a secondary outcome, not a primary goal. Our strongest point of obedience to Christ is a creative and multi-faceted
DOUG L A S
pursuit of his Great Commission. • A union of churches (not a union of ministers), that gives a local (or located) church its functional autonomy. We are not the church, we are churches. • A union characterised by doctrine that’s essential, minimal, and missional. In the life and mission of each church we hold doctrine and ‘do theology.’ • Linked in a community of conviction, mutual recognition, accountable relationships, and common stewardship whilst actively exploring kingdom-of-God missional relationships. Simply put, we hold that there is not a New Zealand Baptist Church beyond the local church. There is the church Catholic and Apostolic in the nation, and local Baptist churches are a diversity of living elements within its whole. We are not the church, we are churches. One of this year’s challenges was our working party led process on same-sex marriage and Baptist church autonomy. Whilst this specific task has challenged us in 2015, it has not defined us: our ongoing broad-engagement response is pursuing Christ’s Great Commission – this is what has, and will continue, to define us. __ Story: John Douglas John Douglas is the outgoing President of the Baptist Union of Churches of NZ and the NZ Baptist Missionary Society.
Our newly recognised ministers
John Douglas passes the mantle of presidency to Ben Wakefield (above)
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THE TOPIC WE DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT
(The article you don’t want to read... but read it anyway!)
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Evangelism, the communication of the Christian message, has become a taboo subject amongst many Christians and churches. Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of non-disciples (Matthew 28) – it’s clear that evangelism is integral to our mission – and yet it is something many of us struggle with or are seemingly uninterested in. How can a central component of our mission be something we don’t want to talk about? How did it get this way? There are very understandable reasons why evangelism has increasingly slipped off our radars. For starters, sharing faith with someone who doesn’t believe in the need for Jesus has always been a little bit difficult. Then add to that the significant cultural changes we’ve been through since the 1950s, and it’s little wonder we’re struggling! Many people are now ‘multireligious’ in their views. They believe that all religions are essentially the same. As a result our message is not viewed as favourably, and sharing it ‘directly’ like we used to has become harder. And because of these cultural changes, the continuing use of evangelism ‘methods’ we used in the past has resulted in many disappointments in outreach. These
have served to bring discouragement (which represents a loss of courage), causing our passion and energy levels for outreach to subside. We have become de-motivated and de-skilled. Past approaches Many of us have lived through one change in approach to evangelism already. In the 1950s and 1960s, ‘confrontational’ evangelism was significant – both in personal witnessing and through large outreaches. Think of Billy Graham’s 1959 crusade explaining sin, separation and then salvation through Christ to an audience who generally believed in the existence of a single, knowable, good, Creator God. The effectiveness of these outreaches began to wane because religious culture was changing. People didn’t respond the same and so by the 1990s it was rightly concluded that evangelism needed to be more relational than in the past, and that it might be helpful to engage more with our communities through community ministries, because fewer people were coming to our churches. These changes were correct balances to other views in their time. But the problem is that twenty years later, these things seem to have become all that some churches are doing: we build relationships, and run various community ministries – but if
SOMEHOW WE NEED TO C H A N G E T H E WAY WE THINK ABOUT EVANGELISM! U N D E R S TA N D I N G THE CENTRALITY OF OUR MISSION TO SHARE THE GOSPEL IS THE S TA R T I N G P L A C E we are honest, very few people are hearing the gospel, and even fewer are responding. It is time to re-think and adapt again: people don’t come to faith through relationships with Christians alone. They come to faith because they have come to understand the Christian message, are convicted of its truth by God’s Spirit, and choose to follow Jesus and his teachings as a result. We need to do more than show love and build relationship: we need to actually communicate a message authentically. Undoubtedly, the words of love (the gospel) and the actions of love (good works) must be integrated – but we need to
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readdress this balance. The challenge is how we do this in the midst of a changing culture. What can we do? What we do is the product of how we think. If our current thinking is producing limited witnessing efforts and results, could it be that the solution will be found through changing the way we think about evangelism? Understanding the centrality of our mission to share the gospel is the starting place. Then there are seemingly some primary ‘missing links’ in the way we view and approach evangelism. One major missing link has been in the way we have typically sought to equip church members as witnesses. We run seminars to which maybe 10% of a church will come. But if evangelism is integral to our mission, is this content not more appropriately discussed in the pulpit rather than the seminar? Seminars are suitable for things that only apply to a few people. Sharing the gospel applies to everyone. Another major missing link is teaching content that will make sense to our church members. Telling each other (once again) what the gospel is and how to share it is insufficient to help a person witness in today’s multireligious environment. Our members had this kind of evangelism training twenty years ago, and those they communicated it to responded, “I’m so glad you’ve found what works for you!” The key skill-set most Christians are struggling with is not how to articulate the gospel: it is how to engage in an open, non-threatening, two-way conversation about spiritual things with your average multireligious New Zealander! The great irony here is that New Zealanders are
spiritual people, who are interested in spiritual things! Could it be that seeing evangelism as a ‘truth confrontation’ inhibits our engaging in spiritual conversations in a way that can be received? The missing wall An additional missing link is so significant that it has been labelled ‘the missing wall.’ In most of our churches, small groups exist for fellowship. They are the place for personal encouragement, accountability, learning, and prayer. However, whilst these might be some of the purposes of our small groups, have we missed their main mission? The early church met in large groups and small groups (in the synagogue and from house to house). When persecution came, they met mostly just in small groups. A possible revelation here is that the mission of the church is the mission of our church small groups. They are one and the same! The beauty of the small group setting is that most people are incapable of sustaining a focus on personal evangelism by themselves. Nodding and smiling to a rousing sermon doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is going to act upon it. In a small group, however, there can be personal encouragement and accountability from a team of individuals who all have different strengths. In addition, small groups are naturally relational and so they are also an ideal setting to be sharing the gospel. Remember, people recall 10% of what they hear, compared to 40% of what they say, and 60-70% of what they do. My experience leaves me convinced that church small groups
are the home-base for evangelism in our churches. The practical challenge is to work out how we could cause this to be – because most church’s small groups don’t have much of a focus on achieving what I am suggesting is actually their primary mission. Prayer The role of prayer and the Holy Spirit are not to be missed out. If we were to summarise Jesus’ approach to ‘evangelism’ we could say that he (A) asked questions (B) with an ear open to the Holy Spirit. It was a conversational approach in which he was very attentive and attuned to God’s leading. The results spoke for themselves. We could develop the same conversational skill-set, combined with the same ability to listen to the Holy Spirit’s whispers! Some like to reduce evangelism to a method. While I believe we all need to find a way to concisely explain our faith when asked, it remains that conversations are organic. You have to make it up as you go. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit can give us ideas for our outreach, so that fresh opportunities to share or encourage faith come about. Then, when in conversation, the Holy Spirit can prompt our hearts and minds to say or ask certain things that causes hearts to open in ways that they might not otherwise have done. A growing awareness of the Spirit’s leading and presence brings an increase of God’s power to our witness! God wants us to succeed Connecting the gospel meaningfully with all 7 billion people on this planet is possible! Connecting the gospel meaningfully with all 4.5 million
A growing awareness of the Spirit’s leading and presence brings an increase of God’s power to our witness! 12 † v.131 no.6 baptistmag.org.nz
people in our nation is possible! When we give God our best, he works with us and can enable influence that extends well beyond us! But times have changed, and we need to adapt. If we continue to live out of the evangelistic perspectives of the past, we will continue to get the results we’ve been getting. I believe that ideas about evangelism are being placed on the table for discussion that could start a chain reaction. But this will only happen if we are convinced change is needed. Is the mission Jesus gave us the mission of your local church (and your life) in an authentic, observable, and measurable way? What do you think?
Resource This article has drawn from the fuller text of The Elephant in the Room. This book was written to give some alternative perspectives like the above, which, when applied, could help us become mobilised as witnesses where we currently feel stuck. You can buy this book at bigbookpublishing.co.nz. Check out 10daychallenge.co.nz and alltogether.co.nz for further resources. __ Story: Dave Mann Dave Mann is the Director of the Shining Lights Trust and Coordinator of the Hope Project. He spent a number of years in Singapore before returning to NZ to try help address evangelistic gaps.
TAKE OUTS! 1. Do you believe that evangelism is integral to our mission? 2. What is the balance of love through actions and love through words? 3. What aspects of evangelism do you struggle with? What could you do about this? 4. Is evangelism lived out in your church in an authentic, observable and measurable way? Check out Ruby Duncan’s article Fruitfulness in the discipleship section of
Connecting the gospel meaningfully with all 4.5 million people in our nation is possible!
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C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S !
Congratulations to Lisa Woolley of Glen Eden Baptist Church who was recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award for Professional Excellence in Housing in both New Zealand and Australasia. Lisa is the CEO of Vision West Community Trust, which seeks to bring hope and transformation to families in West Auckland.
150 YEARS OF BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP Approximately 150 current or former associates of New Plymouth Central Baptist Church were present at the church’s 150th Jubilee in October for church services and a celebration dinner. Some will remember the centenary celebrations in 1993... only twenty-two years ago! Senior Pastor Martein Kelderman explains: “In 1993 Central Baptist Church in New Plymouth celebrated 100 years as a registered Baptist church. In reality, Baptists had already been fellowshipping in New Plymouth for 128 years. When is a church a church? We decided that a church exists when Christians gather and commit to relational fellowship. If a church did not exist until registered, then there wasn’t a church for some 300 years after Christ. We decided that 150 years of Baptist fellowship was worth celebrating!”
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Muriel Ormrod was a highly intelligent, vivid red-head full of laughter and energy, a New Testament Greek scholar, a pioneer for women in Baptist ministry, an exceptional minister to colleagues and students, and an inspiring secondary school teacher. She was a graduate of Victoria University in Wellington and one of the first deaconesses to graduate from the Baptist Theological College in the early 1960s, where she was an outstanding scholar, topping Greek and Hebrew classes. She had an extraordinary eight years of ministry at Hanover Street Baptist Church, followed by many years of secondary school teaching. Sadly, her experience in ministry was affected by some of the negative attitudes commonly felt towards women in leadership in Baptist churches. Muriel was an independent woman ahead of her time. Her ministry, lively intellect, liberal instincts, and warm care had a profound effect on all who knew her. Read more on the community section of baptistmag.org.nz under In Memoriam: Muriel Ormrod 1932–2014. Akesa Havili Taungahihifo (Kezah) passed away on September 2nd, after a yearlong battle with cancer. Born in 1977 in Fatai, Tonga, Kezah was a talented and successful business woman; however before her
father died in 2010, he challenged her to seek out the God of her youth. Therefore, at the end of 2012, Kezah and her husband Sila moved from Tauranga with their four children – Tavite, Katalina, Alosio and Tavui, in order for her to study at Carey Baptist College. When she was diagnosed with stomach cancer in August 2014 and given a prognosis of just months to live, she was four papers short of her Diploma in Applied Theology. Carey subsequently awarded her their very first honorary Bachelor Degree of Applied Theology. It had been her intention to acquire a PhD in Theology and to be the first Tongan female theologian – a task she has now charged to her daughter Katalina. Kezah will be remembered for her thirst for understanding God, her passion for Christ, her infectious laughter, and her desire to be used missionally for her beloved Tonga.
PHOTO: JASMINE MACLEAN
PHOTO: BARRY EASTON
The 2015 New Zealand Faith Community Nurses Association AGM and conference was held in Christchurch in September. The conference theme was Living in the Fullness of Life with keynote speaker, Karen Smith, reflecting on Developing a Dementia-Friendly Christchurch. This included reflecting on what dementia friendly churches might look like – we believe that FCNs are ideally placed to be leading the way here. For more information contact Shirley at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit faithcommunitynursing.nz. Each year Carey Baptist College graduates a group of students who have intentionally trained for pastoral ministry in the Baptist Union of NZ. These students undertake a leadership formation programme alongside their degree in Applied Theology. It is a rigorous training that exposes them to a range of church experiences, and provides specific mentoring to help integrate their studies, develop their skills, and deepen their spiritual life. This year, we have an exciting group of graduates to commend to our
Baptist Union of churches: Colin and Hayley, Cameron and Anna, Hayden and Tanya, Tim and Lindy, Elliot and Sarah, Kenny and Sarah, Lyall and Emily, and Lyndon and Rachel. A mix of ages, genders, ministry models, and backgrounds are reflected in this cohort. Each student has worked hard and demonstrated significant growth throughout their three years with us. At Carey we are convinced that our movement of churches needs strong leadership to meet the demands of ministry and mission in today’s world. We are confident these graduates will contribute meaningfully to our future. Manatū Iriiri Māori is the new name of our Baptist Māori Ministries. This change does not represent a change in ethos but provides a fuller Māori expression. It means: • Manatū: ministry, authority. From two words mana-tu: mana – personal and collective identity in who God created us; tū – standing in that God given identity. • Iriiri: immersion, recognition of Baptist family. • Māori: normal, usual, natural, common. A known word for the collective iwi, tangata whenua.
PHOTO: JAMES SMITH
LIVING IN THE FULLNESS OF LIFE
A NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Bethlehem Baptist Church welcomes you to A Night Before Christmas, their annual Christmas event planned for 19th December 2015 at Mills Reef Winery. Visit anightbeforechristmas.co.nz for all the details. Plus they share an article with us about using a traffic light scheme to plan the spiritual level of events, as a way to help build trust and rapport with the community, and to draw people to Christ. Check it out on our community section of baptistmag.org.nz under Traffic Lights.
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Baptist / F A M I L Y N E W S
Disappearing 100 YEARS AGO
It is said that J. Pierpont Morgan, looking up from his well-beloved solitaire in the saloon of the Olympic, asked a resident of Denver the news of western polities. “Well, sir, our most startling news,” said the Denverite, smiling, “is that John Blank” – he named a Colorado statesman – “has turned Baptist.” “Turned Baptist?” said Mr. Morgan. “Yes, sir; turned Baptist.” “But to turn Baptist don’t you have to be totally immersed?” “Yes, sir; that is correct.” Mr. Morgan shook his head grimly, and his cold blue eyes twinkled as he said:
Unconsciously the great financier emphasised the practical side of believer’s baptism, for it signifies putting off the old man of the self-life, and putting on Christ in practical holiness of life. There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is by dying, and the only way to die, is to see by faith our death with Christ in his death. Believer’s baptism teaches that by virtue of our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection, we are not only dead to sin and self-judicially but practically, by putting off the old man of sinful habit, and by putting on Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. __ Story: Baptist Magazine,
“Then I can’t believe this report. Blank would never consent to disappear from the public view for that length of time.”
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FA M I LY
CELEBRATE IN YOUR FAMILY!
Amidst the busyness of the Christmas season, do you have time to remember the amazing hope that Jesus brings?
Advent is a time of waiting and remembering what life was like before God moved into our neighbourhood. It is a time to soak in the before so that we can enjoy the contrast of the after. It provides us with a rhythm in which we can remind ourselves how much the world needed and was anticipating Jesus and it provides us with time to get ready to celebrate him. A significant part of this is reflecting on how much we and the world need the hope of Christ! This Advent, we invite you to join people around the country and slow the December roller-coaster down a bit to remember... remember your need for hope and remember this hope that we have to share. Weâ€™re providing a bunch of ideas for each week of Advent, to help you and your household get ready for the good news. With a bit of thought and planning, Advent might be the most spiritually rich part of the year for your household!
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Baptist / C H I L D & F A M I L Y
FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT
What is Advent? Read Isaiah 9: 1-7 (from a child friendly version) and talk about what Advent is all about. Here are some conversation ideas: “One of the big ideas of Advent is that Jesus is our hope. What does hope mean? Hope means that things will get better. When people decide to follow Jesus, he helps them to remember that even when things are hard, they will get better. This can help people to make things around them better too. You know how there are some sad things in the world? And sad things in our family sometimes? Advent is a good time to think about those things, and ask God to help us with them. Then we can thank God that Jesus came to bring hope to the world, and ask for Jesus’ help to make these things better.” Advent calendars Make an Advent calendar of the things you could be praying for in the lead up to Christmas. Include examples where those you know, those in the world and those in your own family need Jesus’ hope and also include thanks for the hope that Jesus brings. There are so many designs on Pinterest! Advent candles You could use Advent candles with the calendars to remind you that Jesus brings light. Advent candles consist of five candles, usually arranged in a wreath, one for each Sunday of Advent, and one for Christmas Day. Each candle stands for something different and you could use different
colours to distinguish this: • Week 1 – hope (green candle) • Week 2 – peace (blue candle) • Week 3 – joy (yellow candle) • Week 4 – love (red candle) • Christmas Day – Jesus (white candle). On the first week, you light the green candle each night. On the second week, you light the green and the blue candles, adding an extra candle each Sunday, and the final candle on Christmas Day. Talk about this as you light them. Here’s an example: “What does the green candle remind us of?” “Jesus is our HOPE!” “And what does hope mean?” “Things will get better!” “What does the blue candle remind us of?” “Jesus is our PEACE!” “And what does peace mean?” “Jesus helps us get along with everyone.” “What does the yellow candle remind us of?” “Jesus is our JOY!” “And what does joy mean?” “Jesus helps us be happy, even when things are hard.” “What does the red candle remind us of?” “Jesus is our LOVE!” “And what does that mean?” “God loves us enough to give us Jesus.” Check craft or gift shops for wreathmaking supplies and candles – and go for big candles, as the first one will be lit twenty or thirty times!*
SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT
Christmas dinner and hospitality Have a look at what the Bible says about hospitality. Read Isaiah 58: 7, Matthew 25: 34-46 and Luke 14:12-14. Are you planning Christmas meals with your family? Who could you invite to share this with you? How would this shape your meal together? Carol service Will you go to a carol service this year? Talk about who you could take along and pray that they would know that God loves them. As you spend time with them, find out how you could keep encouraging them. Father Christmas and presents Explain where the story of Father Christmas came from. Did you know that St Nicholas lived nearly 2000 years ago? He responded to God’s love by caring for others – he was kind and generous and gave gifts to show love. Talk as a family about what you could do to show God’s love through gifts to those who need it. What about: •
One of the big ideas of Advent is that Jesus is our hope
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Christmas baking for someone you know who is sad. You could set yourselves a challenge of using fair trade ingredients and explore why this is important. Make Christmas cards for your neighbours. Consider the message. What are your favourite Christmas groceries? Could you share some of these with a foodbank? Perhaps you could look around and see the great work they do, or help out. Could you take some presents to those in hospital? You could check out consciousconsumers.org.nz for ideas of ethical gifts. If this is all starting to sound a little expensive, could you challenge yourself as a family to receive one less gift each and use the money for some of the ideas you have?
Giving the gift of your time is sometimes more valuable than the biggest present in the world!
THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT
Acts of service vouchers Read Philippians 2:4, Proverbs 19: 17 and 28: 7, Luke 12: 48 and John 34-35. Discuss as a family what it means to do an ‘act of service’ for someone. You could mention that giving the gift of your time is sometimes more valuable than the biggest present in the world! Make some vouchers. Cut some reasonably sized rectangular paper cards. Let the children decide what acts of service they would like to offer people. It can be things like: • • • • •
Mowing the lawn Taking a dog for a walk Washing a car Making a meal Tidying the house
Draw or write these acts of service on the cards making them into
vouchers. Decide who you would like to give them to and go and deliver them as a family.** Thinking ahead Assemble some photos of people you know who serve Jesus by doing something significant to make the world a better place. Have a mix of people your kids know, as well as overseas missionaries and aid workers. Reflect as a family that Advent is about remembering we need Jesus, and how much difference following Jesus can make to the people around us. Consider what you could do as a family to follow Jesus in 2016. How could you bring hope to the people around you? Create a list of these ideas that can go up on the fridge for the coming year.
Thanks to: Thalia Kehoe Rowden, Marelize Bester and Karen Warner for their help with these ideas.
__ Thalia Kehoe Rowden is a mother, the former pastor of New Plymouth West Baptist Church, and has recently moved to Thailand to work with Partners Relief & Development. She created the parenting website sacraparental.com where she writes on social justice and spirituality for parents and kids. Karen Warner and Marelize Bester head up NZ Baptist Children and Family Ministries. They have created a great booklet Christmas@Home, which is full of more ideas for your family this Christmas and is available for purchase by churches to gift to families. See bcfm.org.nz/resources/ christmas-home.
FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT
The Nativity Read the Matthew and Luke accounts of the birth of Jesus. As you read, set up a nativity scene. Trade Aid have some great ones. Christmas crackers Read Psalms 7:17, 28: 7, and 100:4, and 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Make your own Christmas crackers! Fill them with thanksgiving messages of things that have happened during the year (everyone gets to write or draw their own messages in ‘secret’), and some
lollies, small toys or paper hats. On Christmas Day everyone gets to choose a different cracker from the one they made and share in the reading of the thanksgiving messages. This becomes a time to thank God for all that he has done in our lives throughout the past year. Consider who you have invited for Christmas dinner. Do you need to make extra crackers? Might there be difficult situations in their lives that would be good to be aware of?**
*Adaped from sacraparental.com **Adaped from Christmas@Home.
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Baptist / C U L T U R E
OBEYING THE (SECOND) GREATEST COMMANDMENT IN TODAY’S MULTICULTURAL WORLD
What does it mean to love those who are from cultures other than our own?
The face of New Zealand is changing. Globalisation has scattered the nations all around the world, including to Aotearoa New Zealand and in the past ten years, the ethnic diversity of this country has increased vastly. Auckland today, for example, has over 200 ethnicities and 160 languages spoken.1 As part of this, many churches are reporting growing ethnic diversity within their congregations, resulting in ‘multicultural churches.’ This is both an opportunity and a challenge.
experience the richness that it brings. But it leaves us with a challenge: how do we follow Jesus’ command in John 13: 34-35 to love one another as Jesus loves us? What does it mean to love each other, especially when the other is different to us? Many of us struggle to interact meaningfully within familiar culture, so how do we interact meaningfully with different, diverse cultures? In order to answer these questions, we need to understand some principles of cultural relationships.
It is an opportunity to learn to embrace the diversity of the global church and
Multicultural relationships Multicultural relationships suggests an
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acceptance of multiple cultures within a community. Cross-cultural relationships Cross-cultural relationships suggests there are efforts to recognise similarities and differences between cultures and to hear and learn from each other. Intercultural relationships Intercultural relationships suggests that there is interaction, learning, and understanding between cultures to create a community that moves forward together, with equality of contribution and standing. Identities are not neglected but commonality is also sought.
Cultural intelligence Culture is dynamic and complex, which makes it challenging to define, understand, and navigate. Attempting to do so challenges our assumptions and stereotypes even before we’ve begun to get past the initial, “Hello, how are you?” One phrase that is becoming popular is ‘cultural intelligence.’ This measures the ability of individuals to effectively reach across cultural differences by providing not only tangible skills to navigate culture, but also for inward transformation required for deep understanding and lasting change. It involves developing our knowledge, interpretation of cultural situations, and communication skills, and goes beyond relating to different ethnicities and nationalities: the skills learned can be applied in so many different contexts. Importantly, the journey of cultural intelligence begins with a journey inwards, to an understanding of ourselves. In this journey of discipleship, we grow in our awareness of how we see the world, define our values, and the way we do things. We are brought face-to-face with our
best and worst parts. We discover that others see the world differently, have different values and do things in ways that we would “never do...” but we also learn that this does not necessarily make them wrong. When cultural norms collide, we need to learn to respond in ways that are loving and respectful. It is very easy to make gross generalisations about the ‘other.’ It is harder to seek to understand why the ‘other’ behaves in a certain way, and how we can respond. A tangible witness to a watching world Our witness to the world challenges how the world views Christians. Imagine an Arab and a Jew, transformed by the love of Christ and demonstrating it by choosing to live side by side in peace. This would show the gospel’s power to reconcile to a watching world. It would open doors of mission and ministry, particularly in cross-cultural contexts. One similar example is that of Keimei and Grace Suzuki and their family. Keimei is Japanese. Grace is Chinese. Their three children were born in New Zealand, and are Kiwis. They are bound together as a Christian family, incorporating the best of all the different cultures. If you know your history, you’ll know the atrocities that the Japanese committed in China. The love of Christ in this family is a strong witness to the watching world about a loving God who redeems culture for his plans and purposes, in the closest human relationship of all. The Suzuki family hope to bring this message of reconciliation to Japan, as they seek to show the Japanese people about the love of Christ through their family’s witness. As they go, we need to also consider: each of us is called to bear witness wherever God has placed us, whether overseas or here in New Zealand. This requires that we are equipped to love well. It is a lifelong journey of discipleship, that brings joys and richness, as well as misunderstandings and heartaches –
PHOTO: SHIREEN CHUA
nderstanding this should result in our grasping that in order for us to begin to love each other, we need to grow from being multicultural churches and communities, to intercultural churches and communities. It is at this intercultural level that we can truly know each other and then love each other for who we are rather than our ethnicities or where we have come from. This takes time, intentionality, communication skills, humility, and ultimately the love of Christ - but it can show a watching world the power of the gospel. For as John 13: 34-35 goes on to say, when we love each other as Jesus loves us, the world will see our discipleship.
Keimei and Grace Suzuki
but we become all the richer for it as we become more Christlike on this journey together. When we see others for who they are and learn to interact deeply with those who are unlike us, we can begin to love others as Jesus did. This has the power to deepen relationships, transform lives and show the love of Christ to the watching world. This is radical! __ Story: Shireen Chua Shireen Chua is a member of the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle and works for OMF New Zealand. She coaches cultural intelligence in the cross-cultural mission context. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAKE OUTS! 1. What are the different cultural groups represented in your church? 2. Do your times together reflect these different cultural expressions? 3. What could you do to explore this?
Chen, M. 2015, October 19. Superdiversity has reached critical mass – it’s New Zealand’s future. Retrieved from nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article. cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11531147. 1
v.131 no.6 † 21
Baptist / L E A D E R S H I P
CRITICISM IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY Is there a place for criticism in Christian community and if so, where and how?
iI struggle receiving criticism.i iWhether it is towards me,i itowardsisomething I am invested in,i ior towards a loved one, I findi iI react badly.iiI tend to get defensivei iand placeithe giver of the criticismi iat arm’silength. Yet at the samei itime,iI catch myself liberallyi ispoutingidisapproval, sometimesi iwithoutijustification, and I battle noti itoidevelop a critical spirit.i According to the Oxford Dictionary, criticism is defined as: “The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.”1 At times, I find myself questioning whether there is any place for this in Christian community: after all, we each have plenty of our own stuff to work on without focusing on others and really, encouragement is so much more palatable. Yet I know that in this life, we need constructive feedback to help us grow and become more Christ-like. However, I believe that examining
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the way we provide this constructive feedback is vital for our hearts and our communities. I want to propose some points to consider. Negotiables and fundamentals Oftentimes, the things we criticise actually don’t matter in the bigger picture. Sometimes things are done differently to the way we would have done it and this really isn’t a problem - it is just different! We must guard ourselves to make sure our preference for the way something is done does not automatically translate into a belief that our way is the only way. We will be poorer for this as we will fail to learn from the richness of difference. Yes, there are some fundamentals in our lives that we should seek in unity and clearly there are some actions that are destructive. These should be addressed. But in the absence of this, when you find yourself considering criticism, ask, “Is this really a problem?” Do you know the whole story? How often have you criticised without
THE USE OF ENCOURAGEMENT IS MUCH MORE L I K E LY T O E N A B L E THE OTHER TO CONSIDER THE ISSUE THAN HARSH O R N E G AT I V E LANGUAGE
actually knowing the full picture? It can be so easy to do this based on a glimpse of someone’s actions or what you are told from a third party. But be careful! The only way you can know the full story is through genuine interaction with those involved. Emotional health It would seem that more often than we would like to admit, criticism flows from us more freely when we are tired, lonely, disappointed, or frustrated. Perhaps we could insert Matthew 12: 34 here: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The likelihood is that any feedback we give from this place is not going to be constructive or make life better. In addition, I have found that the faults I mostly pick up on in others (and therefore am prone to criticise) are in fact faults in myself. Perhaps I see them in others because they are familiar to me! Recognising these possibilities reminds us that we are not better than others, and we do not have all the answers. Rather we are people who need to first address our own hearts before God. So, the next question might be: “Is there something here that is in fact my problem and not someone else’s?” If it is, go and sort it out with God first and then see where you are. I suspect the issues in those around us may pale as we do this. When criticism is required There is a place for helping others to grow and become more like Christ. Perhaps the word ‘criticism’ could be applied here. But there is one important point to consider in this definition: I do not believe that we have a right to disapprove of someone’s personhood. God created us and Christ died for us, because we were worth saving in God’s eyes – so our very identity flows from this. In our beings, we are not better than the next person – we all need Christ. Therefore to criticise another person’s very being is to go far beyond where we have right to speak. What this means is that we must be specific about the aspect of a person that may
WHAT’S THE REAL PROBLEM HERE? A QUICK LOOK AT APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY “FINALLY, BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” Philippians 4:8. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) originally came from business management in the 1980s and gained increasing momentum with use by companies like British Airways, Verizon and NASA. It essentially looks to create the best possible version of an organisation and it is based on the idea that what we focus on and how we talk about things, shapes our organisation. This is the case whether we are a company, a church or otherwise. So if we spend our time and energy focusing on what is wrong, on the problems that need to be fixed, we become defined by these problems and our energy is used up simply trying to plug the gaps. On the other hand, if we focus on what has gone right, on our strengths or potential, we can ‘appreciate’ the value. In particular, AI uses stories to do this. The process gathers the key stakeholders of an organisation (all those affected by leadership decisions, along with those who are actually making the decisions), and
need addressing, and not label the entire person as one big fault. Communicate well As you prepare for this conversation (and it should be a conversation and not a one-way tirade), consider how you will frame it. Words are incredibly powerful and can be so destructive if not used
asks them to share stories around a specific goal: •
How can we be the bank known for the best customer service? Let’s share stories of when we have exceeded customer expectations. • Where should our church be heading? Let’s share stories of where we are seeing God use us. The process of AI values each person, and sees everyone as having something valuable to contribute. Crucially it argues that if you take these contributions and use them as the basis for designing a concrete way forward, you will have an organisation with high levels of buy-in to the vision: we take ownership of what we help create. Warning! This isn’t a tool you can pick and choose with: attempting to create buy-in from a group of people by using some of the strategies of AI, without actually committing to going the whole way and giving them the power to help create a shared vision, will backfire on you! __ Story: Julia Moore-Pilbrow Julia Moore-Pilbrow is an Associate Pastor at Northpoint Baptist Church in New Plymouth, a role she shares with her husband Lance, along with raising two energetic preschoolers! She would love to chat if this is something you would like to know more about.
well. Choose your words carefully and consider their possible effect. Where possible, talk face to face, so that any misunderstandings can be quickly clarified. This also acts as a safeguard against overly harsh or negative expressions that can be more easily communicated in text, email, or even over the phone. If it is
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Baptist / L E A D E R S H I P
a significant area of character, it probably should be journeyed in an established relationship, and there must be an awareness that it is the Holy Spirit who changes each of us. Our role is not to force change: our role is to lovingly point back to God and his ways. Encouragement Consider how you will encourage the other in your discussion. The use of encouragement is much more likely to enable the other to consider the issue than harsh or negative language. Proverbs 15: 1-2 reads: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” To encourage another also reminds us who we are. Straight, harsh criticism may reflect arrogance and can breed contempt. So consider, how often do you encourage compared to how often you criticise? The receiver So far, I have really only addressed the issue of giving criticism. But how do we handle receiving it? We need others to help us on our journey of becoming more like Christ. So to receive gentle, well thought out correction is actually a blessing. In this situation, our responsibility is to hear it, and then go away and weigh it with the Holy Spirit, asking: “Is this something that is an issue for me?” Where possible, don’t react straight away, especially if you are
feeling sensitive. You may want to go back and process it further; ask the Holy Spirit to dig deeper where it is needed and follow his leading. Proverbs 13: 18 reads: “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honoured.” But what about if you are the unfortunate receiver of thoughtless criticism? I think the initial response is no different – hear the comments and then go away and weigh it. Ask the Spirit if there is truth in it. When you can peacefully respond (if you need to), do so with gentleness, kindness, and humility. In repeated thoughtless criticism, however, you may need to go back to the giver and have a conversation about this.
could be summarised by Ephesians 4: 29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I believe there is a place for ‘criticism,’ but we would do well to weigh our thoughts and speech to ensure that we are “building others up according to their needs.” __ Story: Sarah Vaine
A note about gossip and a critical spirit As a general rule, providing constructive critical feedback should be between you and the person you believe needs to hear it. There may be times when you want to discuss the wisdom of this with a trusted friend, but beware if the conversation between you and family or friends becomes habitual criticism of your mutual acquaintances – this would suggest things are not well with your heart and relationships. Closing thoughts Perhaps many of these thoughts
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1. What are your thoughts about the place of criticism in Christian community?
2. Do you struggle receiving criticism? Why might this be?
3. How often do you encourage compared to how often you criticise?
4. What are your thoughts about the place of Appreciative Inquiry?
Oxford University Press. 2015. Criticism. oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/ american_english/criticism. 1
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Orakei Baptist Church
Part time Pastor (2-3 days) ––––– Jump into the driver’s seat. We’ve got a drum kit, a barista machine, a carpark and a space reserved for you! We’re in a missionally strategic area and have an outward focus. Our tank's running a bit low and we may need an overhaul. But bring us encouraging leadership, vision and some preaching and we’ll journey with you beyond the carpark! ––––– Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 09 575 4214
Wilson Street Baptist Church Timaru, South Canterbury ––––– This multi-generational, multi-cultural congregation is seeking a proven leader who is passionate about God and people to lead us on to do the Lord’s work in our community. You should be a team player willing to empower, equip and release people to serve, who enjoys encouraging spiritual growth through preaching and teaching. ––––– Email email@example.com
Romans 15: 13 Strength Programme Facilitator Doubtless Bay, Northland ––––– Interested in working closely with local schools and community organisations to deliver the Strength Programme to young men in the Mangonui area? We have a 0.5 FTE role starting April 2016. Full-time position intended as funds allow. ––––– Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 021 406 173. Written applications close 19th Feb 2016
LET US HELP YOU THROUGH... Our dedicated team are available to you 24 hours to help put in place funeral plans. 31 Ocean View Road, Northcote Phone. (09) 489 5737 Email. email@example.com
30 † v.131 no.6 baptistmag.org.nz
New Zealand Association of Theological Schools
Combined Conference Call for Papers
Professor of Theology University of Otago
Dr Tim Meadowcroft Senior Lecturer in Old Testament Studies Laidlaw College
Dr Rebecca Dudley
Human rights-based research, policy, education, and training
28-30 June 2016
Carey Baptist College
• Paper proposals should be between 200-250 words in length and must include your full name, title, institution (or location), and an email address.
• If you are a graduate or post-graduate student, you are asked to include certification from your supervisor regarding the suitability of your proposal.
• Ensure your abstract clearly names which stream your paper fits (Bible, theology, applied) and send it to Myk Habets (firstname.lastname@example.org).
• Note that papers should be no longer than 30 minutes in length. This will allow an additional 15 minutes for Q&A.
• Papers in history, ethics, etc. are also welcome, as are papers which don’t neatly fit a particular stream (just name which stream you would like to have it evaluated by).
473 Great South Road Penrose, Auckland Cost: $150 Visit www.carey.ac.nz to register.
• Audio/Visual equipment will be available in each room. • The organising committee will give due consideration to all papers. • Abstracts must be submitted by 13 March 2016.
Semester One 2016 29 February - 1 July
ONSITE COURSES Monday
MB6/736 Gospels: John
Formation Tuesday: PL Training, YPL Groups, Mission Track, Intermission and Formation Groups
MB526 Insights into Church History
MB532 Reading and Interpreting the New Testament
MM581 Mission of God
MM561 Introduction to Pastoral Care MB630 Understanding & Interrogating Culture*
MM6/782 World Religions
BLOCK AND NON-CLASSROOM COURSES MM6/768 Adolescence & Spirituality May 30 - June 2 Plus mini-block March 10 - 11 MS6/705 Christian Spirituality May 2 - 6
FIELD EDUCATION COURSES
MF602 Reflective Field Education Cross Cultural
MI700 Thematic Integrative Seminar March 17 - 18
Available in Semester One only
MB734 The Letters to Timothy and Titus: Resourcing Mission Then and Now
MF604 Field Education II Family and Children
May 2 - 6 (Mornings) AND September 12 – 16 (Mornings)
Available in both Semester One or Semester Two MF501 / 601 / 701 Reflective Field Education I/II/III
MF504 Field Education I Family and Children Full Year courses MF505/605/705 Christian Ministry Training I/II/III Internship (RR) Research Courses (available by semester) MB790 Research Essay (Bible and Theology) MM790 Research Essay (Mission & Ministry)
MB6/724 Humanity & Hope
MM663 Intro to Preaching
MB532 Reading and Interpreting the New Testament
MM581 Mission of God
MB526 Insights into Church History
MM663 Introduction to Preaching
MB630 Understanding & Interrogating Culture*
MM6/782 World Religions
MB6/724 Humanity and Hope
MB790 Research Essay (Bible and Theology)
MB6/736 Gospels: John
MM790 Research Essay (Mission and Ministry)
MM561 Introduction to Pastoral Care
*This course includes a mini-block: 2 full days of classes: Dates to be advised
*This course includes a mini-block: 2 full days of classes: Dates to be advised
Please contact us for more information.
473 Great South Road, Penrose Auckland, New Zealand 1061 PO Box 12149, Penrose Auckland 1642 New Zealand
T +64 9 525 4017 0800 773 776 F +64 525 4096 E email@example.com
In this issue of Baptist Magazine we: - Interview Erwin McManus about Releasing creativity for a better future - Ways to celebrate advent wi...
Published on Dec 6, 2015
In this issue of Baptist Magazine we: - Interview Erwin McManus about Releasing creativity for a better future - Ways to celebrate advent wi...