November 2015

Communicating the Faith in a Post-modern World (Issue 25)

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By Hamish Galloway

It goes without saying that the world is very different to what it was fifty years ago. There’ve been changes and developments – both positive and negative – which have turned the West into a very different society. A major factor has been the rise of post-modernism, and unless the Church learns to engage a post-modern context, we’ll continue to lose traction with today’s world.

Post-modernism emerged as a reaction to aspects of modernism. Modernism is a way of seeing the world that promised humanity would progress to the point of attaining utopia if we embraced rationalism and threw aside the shackles of a spiritualized worldview. Instead, modernity delivered two horrific world wars, genocides and death camps, the Great Depression, Hiroshima, oppressive and totalitarian fascist and communist regimes, a widening gap between rich and poor, and frightening ecological deterioration. The Vietnam War was the final straw, after which a post-modern way of thinking began to emerge, with more emphasis on feelings, emotions, intuition, creativity, imagination and fantasy. Yet the Church has struggled knowing how to relate to post-modernism and therefore to the emerging generations who have grown up in an entirely post-modern context.

As Chaplain of St Andrew’s College in Christchurch from 1989 to 2010, I witnessed a remarkable rise in the view that if something was right to you, it was truth. This right for quite different points of view to co-exist as ‘truth’ is something postmoderns fight for with a passion. During discussions, if I challenged a student’s point of view, there would inevitably be push back from the group: ‘you can’t say that what she said isn’t true sir. If it is true for her then it’s true!’ This is the generation for whom Harry Potter was a formative text. Towards the end of the last book, Harry asks Dumbledore ‘Is this real, or has this been happening inside my head?’ Dumbledore’s reply is archetypally post-modern: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Opportunity or Threat?

Though the post-modern position of different ideas co-existing may sound threatening, it actually gives the Church a wonderful opportunity to engage in new and creative ways. Theology and the reading of Scripture become ongoing, imaginative and important rhythms, with worship being purposefully transformational. Change doesn’t happen through arguments over doctrine and morals alone. Change actually takes place through conversations that offer new ideas, models and images of how this all fits together in a particular place for a particular community.

But is the Church courageous enough to move beyond the matrix of modernity? Do we have enough confidence in the biblical text to let it be what Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann calls a fund for the post-modern imagination? If not, then perhaps the Church is sentencing itself to disappear with the rest of modernity!

Speaking with a Post-modern Accent

Carlton Johnstone identifies some helpful ways to communicate well with this generation: Be less directive and more open ended. Allow for questions, struggles and doubts. And communicate in a way that’s relevant, applicable to life and has depth and authenticity. Leonard Sweet states that this kind of preaching will ‘draw fewer conclusions than it does entertain possibilities.’

The night services at Hope Presbyterian seek to communicate in this style. One evening the service leader was met at the door by two people in close succession, each with very different perspectives of what had happened. The first was of the older generation and lamented that the sermon had left too many loose ends – the young people would not know what to think. The second person was a young adult who came out raving about the fact that the service had given him so many questions to ponder during the week. The difference between the generations (and between post-/modernism) was palpable.

The Church is in trouble if she doesn’t adapt to post-modernism. Philip Yancey was inspired to write his recent book, Vanishing Grace, when he discovered the plummeting respect for Christians in the USA. He writes that “in 1996, 85% of Americans who had no religious commitment still viewed Christianity favourably. Thirteen years later in 2009, only 16% of young ‘outsiders’ had a favourable impression of Christians and only 3% of evangelicals.” My experience with similar ‘outsiders’ in New Zealand suggest similar trends here. I believe this is largely the reaction of a post-modern generation to a Church still communicating out of a modern paradigm.

The rise of post-modernism means the way we do church and Christianity needs to be reshaped. In this new context we need Christians who are pilgrims (on the journey alongside others), activists (expressing faith through deeds) and artists (connecting faith and the human condition authentically and creatively). The Church needs to find ways to connect with the growing number of non-Christians in this post-modern age of questions, dialogue, pluralism and tolerance. We must learn to engage a generation who are seeking answers, longing for meaningful conversation, and searching for peace and harmony amongst difference.

Hamish Galloway is Senior Pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church, Christchurch. This article is based on a Study Leave report completed in July 2015 on the topic of young adults and the Church. It can be downloaded from hopechurch.net.nz/media/publications

For discussion

Can postmoderns feel at home in the Church in NZ? What about in your church?

 

Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of Intermission will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. Why not take up the challenge and start using Intermission in your community? For more information or to order copies click here.

Whose Kingdom?

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By Katie Wivell

What is it that stops me?

What is it that keeps my eyes fixed on my feet when you walk past?

What is it that makes it so hard for me to stretch out my arms and welcome you?

Maybe it’s the ugly truth that I profess to be part of a Kingdom of grace, and unconditional love, and authentic community – and yet, I’ve still managed to carve out my own space.

My own space where I’m building a different kind of kingdom… Katie’s Kingdom.

In my kingdom, things roll smoothly for me. And I work hard to keep it that way, I please the right people and I make sure I belong. I make sure I have enough; love, respect, clothes, money, social hangs, Facebook likes, success stories… Security, comfort, and belonging. These are my treasured possessions.

And you, with your differences and difficulties, you embody the insecurity that I flee from daily.

Why should I be the one to give up my seat and make a scene, and walk over to the one who is different! I worked hard to get here! And I work hard daily, to keep everything in the right place.

So I’m sorry. This kingdom can’t accommodate for your complicated need set today. If I reach out to you, I’m afraid I’ll lose my balance. And I’ll fall. And this kingdom of comfort will slip from my hands. And I’ll be the one on the outside. Without a seat to sit in.

And that, that is the thing I fear the most.

 

For me, these are the worries that have stopped me from helping people far too many times in the past. And they are the same kind of worries I see popping up everywhere at the moment. We look at refugees, and their insecurity and need and state of loss, and are reluctant to offer them substantial support. At the root of our reasons to not help those in need is FEAR.

Fear of what the cost might be to us.

I think for many of us, we are reluctant to take a stand on this refugee issue because we are too busy asking the question: “If I do this, what will happen to me?”

If I welcome refugees into my country, my city, my community, what will happen to me?

Not enough of us are asking the question, “If I don’t to this, if we don’t do this, what will happen for them?”

And maybe we brush this question off by saying, well, someone else will help them, someone else will pick up the pieces. The countries closer to Syria will take them, and will be better equipped. We are just little New Zealand after all. But we weren’t just little New Zealand when we hosted the Rugby world cup, or signed the TPPA agreement…

As Christians, I think at a time like this we have an opportunity to be the voice of hope. And I would go as far as to call it a responsibility. Comfortable Christians have been saying, “somebody else will do it” about too many issues for too long. As followers of Jesus, who spent his entire life teaching us how to love sacrificially and restore what is broken, we are called to be those ‘somebody elses’ who do something about it.

This is a hard pill to swallow, especially because we live our day to day lives in an environment where nobody expects this kind of extravagant love and care from us. In our society, and sadly even in some of our churches, we are taught to pursue success. If we have a good career, stability, and still manage to be kind to others and turn up at church, then we are doing pretty well.

For a long time I was largely blind to the problem with this attitude in my own life.

But then I started to fall in love with Jesus. And study him more. And soak up his ways and his purposes more. And I realised if I was really a follower of Jesus, I needed to change my priorities, my goals, and broaden my social circles, to not just people like me, but to everyone, especially those who are strangers, or in need. And that is hard!

And this situation is HARD! And scary! And risky! I’m not saying that it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean we can step over the issue and walk away.

Sometimes I catch myself trying to side step the possible things I could do to show God’s love to these people who desperately need it. And when I do, or when I see other Christians in our nation doing a similar thing, I remember when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. If we’ve spent any time reading our Bibles or sitting in church, it’s a story we’ll be well familiar with. I remember this man who has been robbed and beaten lying in a desert road, close to death. And I see the priest approach him. Jesus sets up this scene so that we expect the priest to intervene and help, as any follower of a God of love would… But the priest looks at the man lying in the dust, weighs up his own desires and schedules, then steps over him and carries on his way.

When I deny any responsibility to help the refugees that want to start lives of freedom and safety in my community, I am like that priest. When we, as the body of Christ in New Zealand, deny or fail to rise to any responsibility to help the refugees that want to start lives of freedom and safety in our communities, we are like that priest.

I’m not an expert on the refugee crisis. I don’t claim to be. I don’t work with them every day. There are questions I have about risks of taking on large numbers of refugees, and there are worries I’d have about trying to support a family when I know nothing about the reality of the suffering they’ve faced. But I can’t look at Jesus, and claim to follow him, and do nothing.

So my hope is that we would look at this issue with new eyes.

That we would start to be brave, and remember the kind of God that we follow.

That we would stop only asking the question, “but what will happen to me?”

That we would see refugees not as a threat to our comfort but as men and women and boys and girls who are just as loved and treasured by God as we are.

And we would start asking, “God, we are scared, and at time overwhelmed, but help us, what can we do for these your children?”

 

Katie is a youth worker in Campbell Bay, and also studying for her Social Work Degree in Auckland.

 

THE MUSE

What are the fears that keep you from action? How have you responded to the refugee crisis?

 

THE MOVE

What can you do this week to counter your fears?

#NZCMS is all about exploring what it means to be God’s missional people in today’s world. Sign up for the emailer by filling in your email at the top of the page or join the discussion at the #NZCMS Facebook Group (and turn on ‘all notifications’ to stay in the loop!) 

Buy-in

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By Floyd McClung.

“Buy-in is believing in a leader. People buy into a relationship first and then the person’s vision. Through close association with Him, Jesus’ disciples bought into Jesus and then His vision. They even became willing to die for Him. Every effective leader has a core team of people who believe in him or her personally, and because they believe in their leader, they believe in the vision.

We shouldn’t expect others to buy into us as leaders if we have not bought into another leader ourselves. It is our authenticity, believability and Christ-likeness that compels people to buy into our vision. Are your team members buying into you because you have bought deeply into Jesus?…”

To read more about Jesus style leadership click here to find Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle

(Image by Pedro Ribeiro Simões)

Crossing the Line (Issue 25)

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By Sam Harvey

There are those moments when you’re ‘all in.’ Palms sweaty, heart racing, trying to look cool on the outside but feeling the nervous excitement that comes when you’re taking a risk for God. There’s something about the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom that seems to centre around these sort of moments… but what do we mean by ‘Kingdom of God’ and how does it relate to evangelism?

As a fan of theologian NT Wright (particularly his outstanding book Surprised by Hope), my worldview as a Christian has been centred around the belief that Scripture is a unified story of God putting back together a world marred by sin, and of Jesus as the climax of that great narrative. Through his death and resurrection the future reality of God’s redemptive plan burst into the present, and we don’t just wait for the return of the King but we partner with God to see his Kingdom come now.

This shapes our ‘good works,’ our serving the poor, the sick, the lonely, those that society has left behind. This shapes our expectation around the supernatural, as we pray for the sick and the broken. And this shapes our evangelistic passion – we can confidently, wisely and humbly invite people to embrace love, wholeness, life and healing in a relationship with Jesus, the humble King.

What kind of pants do you wear?

Two quite distinct camps have emerged over the years that have caused us to lose something of our effectiveness. Scot McKnight has captured something of this in his recent book Kingdom Conspiracy. He talks about ’Skinny Jeans Christians’ who love Kingdom work – helping the poor, drawing alongside those society has left behind, and sometimes living in ‘intentional community’ to outwork this. Yet there is reluctance to invite people to give their lives to Jesus. But Scot doesn’t stop there. He critiques ‘Pleated Pants Christians,’ saying they’ve reduced the Kingdom to ‘redemptive moments’ where people come to faith, neglecting things like caring for the poor as a waste of time since mission is all about getting people into heaven.

I am convinced we’re called to it all! We’re called to serve the poor, care for God’s creation, care for the refugee, draw alongside the lonely, roll up our sleeves and serve our communities. And we’re called to invite everyone to the banqueting table of God’s love, challenging them to give their lives to follow Jesus, to pursue and be pursued by him, and to partner with him to see his Kingdom come.

So the skinny jeans and the pleated pants crowds need each other. I wonder whether we’ve lost something of a humble spirit that would learn from those who have a different focus or passion (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). There’s great power in a passion for both servant hearted Kingdom works and helping people journey towards Jesus. If I’m honest, I don’t think we’re weak in doing ‘good works’ here in NZ. I’m proud of all the initiatives just about every church I come across is doing to serve their wider community. But I wonder whether we’ve lost some confidence in God’s power to break into the world and move supernaturally.

For example, a whole article could be written about Power Evangelism. A friend of mine was recently talking to someone who was very resistant to the topic of Jesus! But my friend asked to pray for the man’s back which had been causing him pain for many years. He said yes, even though he didn’t believe in God and had never been to church. His back was instantly healed, his eyes just about popped out in surprise and a conversation ensued that ultimately led to the person asking Jesus into his life! What a reminder that God’s Kingdom is not just of words but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

The Awesome in the Awkward

The area I’ve felt particularly challenged in is the lack of ‘redemptive moments’ I’ve offered people. I felt the Lord gently challenge me earlier this year: “Sam, in your church services, when is there an opportunity for people to cross the line to come to faith?”

I realised I was afraid nothing would happen, that people would reject me, that I’d look like a fool. So I began to step out, giving people an opportunity at the end of our services to become a Christian… and I was excited to see people actually respond! I realised I needed a ’Kingdom expectation’ around people coming to faith in our gatherings. Often God’s awesome power and Kingdom are found in awkward moments where people step out in faith. Sometimes the awesome is in the awkward!

We’re called to make disciples not converts, but conversion is a vital step in the journey. It requires someone asking a question: “Do you want to give your life to Jesus? Can I pray for you? Do you want to come to our Alpha course? Do you want to come and visit my church?”

The most thrilling part of seeing God’s Kingdom break in is when we see one of his precious children return to him. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the indescribable privilege of watching people who are a part of our latest Alpha course take real steps towards faith. Every Alpha night people from our community who wouldn’t call themselves Christians come in to our building. Some are going to Alpha, some to a parenting course, some to community youth programmes, some have engaged with our free budgeting service throughout the week. Through all of this we’ve created an ‘on ramp’ for people to journey towards faith in Christ.

My prayer is that there would be a fresh passion for God’s Kingdom in all its expressions and a fresh confidence in the power of the Gospel to change lives. May there be a ‘new normal’ in our expectation of the supernatural, the expectation that people will come to faith, and a great passion to pour out our lives to see God’s Kingdom bless all who encounter us.

Sam is the pastor of Grace Vineyard’s Beach Campus in Christchurch.

For discussion

Are you in the ‘Skinny Jeans’ or ‘Pleated Pants’ brigade? How can you find a better balance between these two extremes?

What’s needed for your church to become a place where people can cross the line and come to faith regularly? What role will you play?

 

Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of Intermission will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. Why not take up the challenge and start using Intermission in your community? For more information or to order copies click here.

Who’ll suffer from Climate Change?

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By Ian Wells (writing about the fifth ‘mark of mission’: environmental concern).

God has given us all the gift of being able to understand the creation he has placed us in. Not only can we start to contemplate the mysteries  of stars and galaxies far beyond our own world, but we’re also learning more and more about the world here on earth that God has given us. The more we learn about our world and nature, the more we can see we are blessed and have been given a very special planet to care for.

God has also given us the ability to understand that our earth’s natural environment is at great risk right now. Scientific data is  clear. We humans are changing the climate, a climate that has been reasonably stable for tens of thousands of years. Climate change is a global problem and, despite what we might wish, is now one of the principal challenges facing humanity.

God has given us the ability to understand the effects of these climate changes and we can easily predict they will  have a disproportional effect on the poor of the world. As a small example, rich people can afford to move, while the poor cannot.

Christians have a special contribution in addressing climate change, because Jesus has taught us to care for the poor. This is a time for us to act on the principles that Jesus taught us.

Climate change is no longer a scientific issues – science is very clear what is happening to our earth. It’s not a technical issue – there is no magic “technical fix” or “app” that will reverse climate change (although we wish there was one!). It’s not just an economic issue or a business issue – dollars alone will not buy a “solution” (and parts of exponential economic growth are hitting hard our planetary boundaries). It’s not something that will get resolved only by some expert or a political leader. The Paris climate summit will help, but isn’t sufficient. The actions required to help the poor and our planet require significant choices and work by all of us.

Addressing climate change also requires moral choices. Which is why our Christian voice is so important.

How is Climate Change related to mission?  Here are five Oceania environmental impacts (as measured by Caritas)

Extreme weather Coastal erosion, flooding and rising sea levels Access to safe, healthy food and water Offshore mining Climate finance – who is benefiting?

​The major Oceania communities are currently seeing the most impact from extreme weather (such as recent severe cyclones). Money and resources should be going into building a low-carbon, climate resilient future, not “business as usual.” Ecological citizenship needs to be developed, in our faith communities and in our mission.

This topic can appear overwhelming. Some people feel its so big and our voices are so small, we just do nothing. Apathy results. This is not what Jesus taught us to do. There are similarities to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. Christians, even those benefiting economically from the slave trade, acted on their Christian values to end the slave trade. It was not easy. But it was the Christian thing to do. Again we are called.

What can you do now? Start simple. Start fun. Take the first step and join with other Christians in this Saturday’s Climate march: Christchurch – Victoria Square,  12:30;  Auckland – Mt Albert park, 11am; Wellington – Civic Square, 1pm. There will be many groups at these parades – look for the Christian church signs and meet others.

This problem is hard. We cannot do it alone. But God is with us. Please contribute your ideas and concerns on our Facebook page.

Mucking in

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Having just finished our chapel service, the last thing I expected was to be taken to see the murky side of the Bible School. There before us was a broken lid to the sewerage pit with seething, dark liquid oozing everywhere!! After a lot of discussion and holding of noses we worked out a plan of action with the faithful few remaining to try to clear the blockage and then find a way to repair the area. A lucky strike on the pipe allowed a huge gush of the fluid to escape and flow into a ditch previously used for sawing wood, saving it from flowing into the dry river bed further on. Many bucketsful later we had removed the majority of the grime and started the repair work. New lids are now hardening up to cover the repaired pit and the crisis has eased.

Consuming Christmas

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Christmas.

I’ve seen ‘signs’ of it already.

It’s only the beginning of November and already we’re seeing the tinsel go up.  Retail places are blasting totally irrelevant songs about dreaming of a white Christmas, and telling us to start planning our spending (be that money or time).

If you were happily ignoring these signs – forgive me for pointing them out, but stay with me….

All of the above ‘signs’ of Christmas make me cringe at little bit more every year. The consumer-filled, plastic-stuffed, sugary, glittery Christmas Tune we’re meant to dance to makes me want to avoid Christmas for as long as possible!

But I actually love what Christmas is really about: a God who breaks into our world, who ‘moves into the neighbourhood,’ who comes as a baby in human skin and in doing so begins a world-changing process of reconciliation that no-one could have dreamed of. Truly the best gift of all!

The Church has a different way of pointing to the ‘signs’ of this Great Gift: Advent. It’s part of our church calendar that actually helps us build the anticipation and expectation of waiting for the coming Messiah. Some churches do this with candles in a wreath (that’s what I grew up with). Others have extra services, and (sadly) others don’t really do much different in Advent at all. But what I’ve realised this year is that Advent doesn’t have to be something that I hope my church does for me; I can find ways to participate in this advent season in my own life too.

 

So the question that’s facing me in this season is: How can I step into the church’s way of Christmas preparation rather than the culture’s way of preparation?

This question was part inspired by a blog I read last week about life-giving tips for the Christmas build-up. They talk of things like: Reflect. Give. Simplify.

One thing I’m looking forward to using to help me reflect and prepare are the Advent Art Cards produced by the Anglican Church for the Decade of Mission. Artists from around Aotearoa and the Pacific have created art that responds to the Advent texts to stimulate your missional thinking.

 

Which leads me to question number two: How do I respond missionally to Christmas? What’s one small thing I can do?

This question sounds like a tough one, but in actual fact I’ve discovered it’s not that complicated. As I examine what God has given me, (who I am, passions, skills, people etc), I found a surprising idea that was obvious:

What do I care about? Ethical, Slave-free sustainable living (read my other blogs on here and it’s obvious).  Christmas shopping is hardly ever that!

What do I like to do? To be creative and make things.

So this year, my sister and I (always good to have an ally in these things) are hosting an Ethical Christmas Crafternoon. An opportunity to bring a bunch of people together to encourage making alternative Christmas gifts and decorations which is fun for us, good for the environment and isn’t exploiting other people for our own Christmas cheer. From recycled and raw materials we’ll be making our own wrapping paper, Christmas wreaths, Christmas crackers, decorations, and even might try making wooden manger scenes! We hope this will inspire others to consider their consumer choices this Christmas whilst giving them opportunity to find alternative ideas.

Other ideas that I’ve done in previous years for advent include: helping out at a community Christmas Lunch, inviting friends to a church service around Christmas time, organise to send the Shoebox Christmas gifts with friends/church, make a countdown Christmas Chain (we did this growing up as kids!), or find a good advent calendar like this one made by Kiwis with NZ-contextual images of the Christmas Story.

Whatever it might be, the church has a Gift to offer this world, and I hope we can all find a meaningful way of living that Truth this Advent season.

 

 

THE MUSE

How can I step into the church’s way of Christmas preparation rather than the culture’s way of preparation?

 

THE MOVE

What’s God given me passion for that might be one small thing I can do to respond missionally in this Christmas season?

#NZCMS is all about exploring what it means to be God’s missional people in today’s world. Sign up for the emailer by filling in your email at the top of the page or join the discussion at the #NZCMS Facebook Group (and turn on ‘all notifications’ to stay in the loop!) 

From the Editors (Issue 25)

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“I’m not an evangelist.” Many of us have used this line to remind ourselves of the people in our churches who naturally talk about Jesus with whoever they meet… and that we’re not one of those people. But it seems assumed that if I’m not one of these natural evangelists, then I’m not really called to speak the faith much at all. The words of St Francis are comforting: “Preach the Gospel at all times; use words only when necessary.”

The idea behind the saying is beautifully simple – we need to live the Gospel, not just speak it – but it’s also deceptive, as the quote can be used to justify never speaking at all. (Plus, as it turns out, St Francis probably never said it!)

Concluding that words are important, many of us don’t know what words to say! We’ve realised that older models of sharing just don’t work in our post-modern, post-Christian context. Like the one where we present two options – heaven or hell – and ask people to ‘choose’ which one they want. Or the “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” approach. We need to find new approaches suitable for the post-Christian era in which we find ourselves – one that’s ‘secular’ yet also full of people seeking a true spiritual (but not ‘religious’) encounter.

I may not be called to preach to thousands, but I am called to witness to the Gospel through my life and my words.

 

Alicia Hibbert

 

Issue 25 of Intermission was released earlier this month. Over the coming weeks the articles will be posted to nzcms.org.nz/intermission. Occasionally we will highlight an article by including it in our weekly Interchange newsletter.

Out of St Martin’s

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It is estimated that, over a period of some sixty years, upwards of 125 people with connections to St Martin’s Christchurch have been called into ordained ministry or to the ‘mission field.’

A new book, Out from St Martin’s, comprises a collection of engaging stories that recount the lives, callings, and missionary endeavours of 62 of those people.  Ministry locations are diverse and each story is different, but all are wonderful examples of how God uses our trust in Him and our faithfulness to His calling for His glory.

As one reviewer has written, under God’s grace and passionate leadership in the parish the little church in Spreydon became a mini Pentecost with the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit coming upon those who gathered to study the Scriptures and worship God.  Through the years, as faithful clergy and parishioners have kept the faith alive and thriving in Spreydon, many have heard the call of God in their hearts and on their lives, and have followed that call onto the mission field or into ordained ministry.

This collection of stories about God’s goodness, provision, and protection inspires and challenges.  It’s a wonderful tribute both to the faith of those who have responded to God’s call and to the unremitting dedication and passion for evangelism and mission that has always burned in the hearts of St Martin’s parishioners and clergy.

Copies may be ordered by emailing Lyn Smith at lynatwyn@icloud.com ($25 plus P&P). 

December – January Missional Movements

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Partners in Asia made an unexpected return to NZ for the birth of their third child. Their time here in NZ is primarily for rest, refreshment and the birth of their child; they will not be available for speaking engagements.

Margaret Poynton arrived in Papua New Guinea in early November.

The Thornberrys are finding ways to better support refugees. Nigel will also visit Germany to train pastors to understand and integrate Syrians into their ministries – it’s expected 10-20 new churches will be planted next year due to the influx of refugees. Then in January, the family will be visiting a significant gathering of neo-pagans.

Murray and Féy Cotter have found a new church plant to partner with. The Kisha e Perendise (Church of God) church and church plant are in a densely populated suburb called Mëzez, on the outskirts of Tirana.

 Dianne Bayley, her team and up to 600 guests will be celebrating the 40th year of Children’s Bible Ministries in the Philippines on 22 January.