November 2016

Meet the Robbs

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We’ve​ ​spent​ ​the​ ​last​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​months​ ​searching​ ​for​ ​someone​ ​to​ ​join​ ​the​ ​NZCMS​ ​Personnel​ ​team.​ ​We’re delighted​ ​to​ ​announce​ ​that​ ​that​ ​‘someone’​ ​is​ ​actually​ ​not​ ​one​ ​person​ ​but​ ​two:​ ​Mike​ ​and​ ​Ruth​ ​Robb. 

Mike​ ​and​ ​Ruth​ ​bring​ ​vast​ ​experience​ ​from​ ​their​ ​years​ ​in​ ​mission​ ​and​ ​ministry​ ​both​ ​in​ ​NZ​ ​and​ ​beyond. They’re​ ​easy-going​ ​and​ ​able​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​people.​ ​They​ ​also​ ​bring​ ​skills​ ​in​ ​pastoral​ ​care, coaching,​ ​mentoring​ ​and​ ​a​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​equip​ ​congregations​ ​to​ ​be​ ​more​ ​effective​ ​in​ ​doing​ ​their​ ​part to​ ​extend​ ​God’s​ ​Kingdom.​ ​Their​ ​life’s​ ​calling​ ​is​ ​to​ ​“Train​ ​100’s​ ​to​ ​win​ ​1000’s.”​ ​We’re​ ​sure​ ​there’s​ ​much we​ ​will​ ​gain​ ​in​ ​having​ ​them​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​NZCMS​ ​team. 

Here’s​ ​a​ ​quick​ ​introduction​ ​from​ ​each​ ​of​ ​them. 

 

Introducing​ ​Mike 

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Mike​ ​Robb​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​born​ ​in​ ​Rangiora,​ ​North​ ​Canterbury​ ​in​ ​1957​ ​–​ ​a​ ​very​ ​important​ ​year, the​ ​same​ ​as​ ​singer-songwriter​ ​Dave​ ​Dobbyn​ ​and​ ​All​ ​Black​ ​rugby​ ​player​ ​and​ ​coach​ ​Wayne​ ​Smith,​ ​and the​ ​year​ ​that​ ​Elvis​ ​Presley​ ​released​ ​“Jail​ ​House​ ​Rock.”​​ ​I​ ​love​ ​big​ ​motor​ ​bikes,​ ​big​ ​trout, and​ ​the​ ​big outdoors. I​ ​love​ ​music​ ​From​ ​Elvis​ ​Presley​ ​to​ ​Les​ ​Miserable​ ​to​ ​Pink​ ​Floyd​ ​and​ ​even​ ​a​ ​little​ ​21​ ​Pilots.

I​ ​wasn’t​ ​raised​ ​in​ ​a​ ​Christian​ ​home​ ​but​ ​had​ ​a​ ​Christian​ ​conversion​ ​just​ ​before​ ​my​ ​20​th​​ ​birthday.​ ​From the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​my​ ​conversion​ ​I’ve​ ​had​ ​a​ ​passion​ ​to​ ​help​ ​others​ ​to​ ​encounter​ ​our​ ​living​ ​God​ ​and​ ​discover the​ ​plans​ ​and​ ​purposes​ ​he​ ​has​ ​for​ ​their​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​the​ ​communities​ ​they’re​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of.​ ​I​ ​married​ ​my​ ​best friend​ ​in​ ​1980​ ​and,​ ​from​ ​that​ ​time,​ ​we’ve​ ​been​ ​a​ ​team​ ​of​ ​two,​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​missions​ ​in​ ​Papua​ ​New Guinea​ ​and​ ​Cambodia,​ ​and​ ​pastoring​ ​two​ ​churches​ ​in​ ​NZ.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​also​ ​a​ ​lecturer​ ​in​ ​theology​ ​and ministry​ ​studies​ ​at​ ​Vision​ ​College.

​​Ruth​ ​and​ ​I​ ​are​ ​Head​ ​Facilitators​ ​for​ ​‘Kairos’​ ​and​ ​‘Empowered​ ​to​ ​Influence’​ ​courses, produced​ ​by Simply​ ​Mobilising,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​are​ ​so​ ​encouraged​ ​to​ ​see​ ​others​ ​come​ ​to​ ​realise​ ​that​ ​God​ ​has​ ​given​ ​every believer​ ​a​ ​part​ ​to​ ​play​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Great​ ​Commission.

Introducing Ruth

I was raised in Christchurch and attended a number of Anglican churches with my family, my father Maurice Goodall being a vicar and later Bishop. I’m very grateful for the input of my parent’s faith. I still remember God’s challenge to follow him, as a 13 year old, from a missionary talking at St John’s Latimer Square when Roger Thompson was Vicar and dad was the City Missioner.

As a teenager I loved Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar and Bread and was part of a Youth Choir. I completed my nursing training at CPIT and met my husband at a Scripture Union Coffee Bar Outreach at Waikuku Beach.

After our wedding in August 1980 we joined the Apostolic church in Christchurch. A friend invited us to go and help at a hospital in Papua New Guinea and this set the direction for the next 13 years of our lives. During this time our family grew to three daughters and twin sons.

We returned to NZ in 1993 and, following Michael’s ordination, pastored a church in Golden Bay and then joined the team at Dunedin Apostolic Church for six years. In 2004 we  spent two years in Cambodia with our 3 youngest teenagers, leading Asian Outreach, before returning, this time to Christchurch.

I started Home Schooling our children when we lived in PNG and eventually continued for 20 years! Following this I completed a part-time Spiritual Direction course and a Return to Nursing course.

With all our children grown we thought we could relax and maybe have a few overseas trips later in life but God challenged us to be available for short term needs, so we resigned from our jobs. Since 2014 we have spent a from a week to 6 months at a time in PNG doing hospital admin, pastoral care of staff, discipling of Community Health students and teaching grade seven.

Our daughters and one of our twin sons are married and we enjoy our seven grandchildren. It’s been wonderful to have multi-cultural members added to our family and see all of them continue in their own faith walks. Life thus far has been an amazing adventure with many challenges and hard times but has been a privilege to see God working in NZ and overseas, calling us to continue growing and passing on the many blessings we’ve received, as we walk alongside others.

We look forward to continuing this journey with the NZCMS family.

Eulogy for Ron Taylor

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Paul Cooper (NZCMS Council Chairperson) delivered the eulogy at Ron Taylor’s funeral last week. The following is adapted from what he shared.

It’s a privilege to be here on this day of sadness yet in celebration of a life that has been such a witness to Jesus Christ and a life well lived.

Ron and NZCMS.

“Following Jesus the Trailblazer” was the title Ron gave to a talk about his life and ministry to a men’s group in 2009. And while Ron may have been following Jesus his Lord and Saviour, he too was a trail blazer witnessing to God’s glory and the life-saving death of Jesus on the cross.

Ron Taylor and Barbara, were NZCMS Mission Partners in Tanzania from 1964 to 1974  along with their four daughters: Elisabeth, Katherine, Alison, Priscilla. In 1964 Ron, Barbara and family went by ship via Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth to Columbo and then Bombay and finally across to Dar-es-Salaam.

Ron was versatile. From 1964 to 1967 while initially destined to teach at the theological college, Ron was made Diocesan Secretary which involved oversite of 61 Primary and three secondary schools in a vast diocese, was also responsible for visiting and training pastors and evangelists in the villages as well as serving as the Chaplain to the Dodoma Cathedral and Msalato Girls’ School. Ron also supported the planning and construction of a new 70 bed conference centre and became its first warden.

Family was important to Ron, and family holidays were an adventure, and on occasion, a misadventure. (Thank you Elisabeth, Katherine, Alison, Priscilla for sharing some of those stories with me.)

After Home Leave and Service in NZ in mid 1967, Ron, Barbara and family returned to Tanzania to a place called Arusha, Ron to be Chaplain to an English speaking international congregation and to take up the role of Rural Dean of two northern Deaneries and support the ministries of African clergy in Swahili speaking congregations. Barbara taught at Arusha School. During his whole time in Tanzania Ron maintained a regime of theological study, and a highlight for Ron was being asked to assist at the Nairobi University Mission led by Rev Dr John Stott.

Home leave & Service came around again from the end 1971 to mid-1972. Upon returning to Tanzania and Arusha in 1972 as “Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Tanzania” Ron travelled widely, and along with some colleagues prepared and published some new Swhaili and English Liturgies. Ron was the appointed Chaplain of the University of Dar-e-salaam from 1973 to August 1974. In this time Ron and the RC Chaplain designed and built an ecumenical chapel which was distinctive with African carvings on the Lord’s table and other furniture. At the end of this time Ron was also privileged to lead a team of delegates to the Congress on World Evangelisation in Lausanne.

Ron and Barbara were totally committed to the calling God had placed on their hearts to share the Good News to those who had not heard of Jesus Christ. When Ron talked with me of highlights of his time in Tanzania he spoke about about seeing people commit and come to Christ and of a growing church.

At the beginning of 1975 the family returned to New Zealand. In 1975 Ron was elected to NZCMS Council, and in 1976 to the role of Chairman of finance and buildings committee. It was at this time he also wrote up his research thesis on The Growth of Tanzanian Churches and the Aide They Received From Overseas Sources.

From 1992 until 1999 Ron took up the role of General Secretary of the Anglican Board of Missions , and during most of this time he was also the ABM representative on the NZCMS Council.

It was in this time that my family and I first met Ron. We were in South Asia for language exams and Ron was passing through on the way to a conference of some description. He took time out to take us all to a rather flash restaurant and ‘Uncle Ron,’ as he insisted the children call him, wowed our children with stories. Ron had the ability to make people feel special and his interest in us and our work at that early time of our family’s mission service was memorable and encouraging. I know we were not the only ones supported by Ron in this way.

Ron was became NZCMS Vice-President from March 2002 through to March 2007, and Ron was also NZCMS Council Chairperson from 2003-2007. I had the privilege of coming on to NZCMS Council at the start of this time and Ron always impressed me with his ability to recall names, faces and conversations, as well as the important details of Council discussions and decisions. What a great ability to bring to the role of Chairperson. Over 18 months it was Ron who coaxed me to chair different small portions of the NZCMS Council meetings. I didn’t realise at the time, but this was Ron’s succession plan and so I was mentored to be ready to follow in his footsteps.

Ron was made a NZCMS Life Member March 2008.

Ron always impressed me with his unshakable faith and belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and his passion for NZCMS and Overseas Mission, especially his passion for sharing with people who did not know the Good News of God’s amazing gift of Jesus, and the availability of a living relationship with our Heavenly Father. His relationship with Jesus was deep and personal and when he sang hymns and songs of Praise to God his rich strong singing voice transported you to another more heavenly place.

Today is a sad day, but also one of celebration – we know with certainty, Ron is inside Heavens Gates and I am sure, once again Ron is singing with gusto praises to God.

Ron will be long remembered in Church Missionary Society circles and by many others who have come to know Christ for the first time and in a deeper way through his preaching and witness.

The  Kenya Kiwi Encounter

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The visit by the Kenyan team to our shores in October expressed the spirit of the Maori proverb “With your basket and my basket the people can thrive.” The team of 22 came from Nairobi in response to God’s call to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The journey began with huge lessons on radical faith; most of the team waited for their visas to be issued on the day they were due to leave. Such stretches of faith would put many on edge but the team believed to the last minute that God would open the door for them to come here to encourage the Church in mission.

Spending time at a Marae in Ruatoria, engaging the homeless in Newtown, Q&A time with youth in Christchurch and sharing about Jesus on Auckland’s Queen St gave the Kenyan team an epic Kiwi mission experience. They also shared their vibrant music and many in the congregations couldn’t resist dancing to the African beat. There were many Gospel opportunities and space to experience the beauty of NZ as well as a fitting Maori farewell.

The team left having learned many lessons, such as the challenge of Biblical illiteracy in Kiwi schools and youth groups, the lack of confidence many have in the Gospel, and the need for more workers especially among youth. If you’d like to explore how your church could develop a partnership with one in another culture, drop me a line.

Cambodia four years on

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Maureen and Gerald Harley recently returned from a pastoral visit to Mission Partners working in Cambodia, a country where they themselves once served. Below are some reflections from Maureen about this visit.

“How is it to return to a place we called home for nine years?” people ask. And indeed it was a question we asked ourselves as the plane came into land in Cambodia. Would it be the same or would it all be horribly different so that we had to finally let go of our vision of ourselves as people who somehow belonged there? Would people look at us and say “Who?” and would we have become people who are forever bewildering (and boring?) people who now live there with stories of “what used to be”?

Our airport experience began differently – we actually had to queue to hand in our visa applications, and we walked along clearly defined lines to retrieve our passports after they had passed through – then, oh yes, the 5 or 6 pairs of hands, one to look, one to write, one to stamp, one, two, three to pass… but ‘normalcy’ was restored at the other end when we were all encouraged to leave our ordered queue and gather en masse around the man who finally received our visa-ed passports. Cambodians still struggle to pronounce our foreign names (as we do theirs!) and prefer to wave the passports before the gathered crowd and wait for each one to identify his/her own. This feels normal.

This mixture of ‘oh yes we recognise that’ and ‘oh that’s different’ became the norm for this visit. When we first arrived we felt everything was astonishingly familiar – crowded streets, masses of people all busy about their business, rich and poor all mixed together, shops and booths spilling their goods all over the pavements. We recognised the crazy traffic patterns with vehicles stuck like sand passing through a timer, barely trickling through any gap that appears; then suddenly there’s an opening and cars and motorbikes surge through in a flood – until the next traffic jam.

But where are all the motorbike taxis? There are private motorbikes aplenty but every street corner no longer has its gathering of men on bikes, watching, alert for a fare, or dozing in the down time after lunch, lying along the seat with feet on the handlebars. There are still tuk tuks, and so many cars, big cars, rich men’s cars, driving, parked, stuck in traffic everywhere. We wondered whether those moto drivers we once used so regularly had missed our custom and moved elsewhere, or had to fund their child’s schooling or find food for the family in labouring work or by returning to the province and the family rice fields?

And who will live in all the buildings? Everywhere, buildings completed or being built – up, up into the once clear skyline. Years ago, PM Hun Sen had returned from an Asian Summit resolved that Phnom Penh should have some skyscrapers. The first venture still sits there, unfinished, failed; but like the traffic flow a blockage seems to have been removed and the flood gates are open. Everywhere these massive concrete structures are emerging. ‘Who will live in them?’ we wondered, and were told the land had been bought by the Chinese, the buildings built by Chinese labourers and built to house the labourers and the immigrants who would follow. A Khmer man said sadly “My children won’t have their own country.”

Vast expansion is going on all around the city also – often in gated communities called “baray,” cloned structures looking a little like the retirement villages of modern NZ being built on what was previously rich rice fields. And also evident is the infrastructure to support this city as it heaves its way out of its past of civil war and desperation and into a 21st century modern-ness. Everywhere we saw overpasses and motorways, glass fronted shops selling furniture that would once have been considered a frivolous luxury and the ubiquitous chains of eating places and coffee shops – the smells of Asia are being overtaken by the smell of fried foods! The poor are still there, though we saw fewer ‘professional beggars’ – mostly they are cleared away to where they can’t be seen by tourists or the growing middle class. Slums now exist just outside the city boundaries – for now – they will be moved when it becomes inconvenient to some rich person for them to remain. We visited one still surrounded by flood waters, temporary hovels barely standing, still with no drains or water supply – just as it was four years ago.

We asked about the Church and were told it is battered after a number of the more charismatic churches were hit badly by a Ponzi scheme that swept vast numbers into its net. Many of the congregations were persuaded into it by church leadership which inevitably has left credibility issues.

Evangelism still goes on; Christianity still attracts many of the modern youth seeking to explore life outside the family as well as offering companionship for many who leave their families to come into the city looking for work. A ‘prosperity gospel’ was pushed in some quarters and has left an inevitable legacy of “rice Christianity.” Many churches remain dependent on funding from outside. Growth has slowed and while new converts join churches there remains an enormous need for quality education for pastors and good discipleship programmes.

So has Cambodia changed? Yes of course. For the better – hmmm – in some ways yes. There is a growing middle class who holds some of the wealth and power. There are credible school exams and more people are receiving education about what police can and can’t do. Orphanages are closing and children are being supported back into families. But Cambodia is still a country of extremes – and particularly extreme wealth and extreme poverty- gaining patronage from someone stronger and more powerful is vital to succeed, loyalty is bought, labour is bonded and slavery is rife. The coming elections – local this year and central next – could well be a violent clash between the young who want change and the old who want to keep the peace at all cost, between those who have money and power and those who want it… that has not changed.

But it is still Cambodia – and we loved being back!

Dodoma Changes

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In Dodoma things continue to develop and I am seeing ever more change in this fast growing city. St John’s University is currently receiving the new influx of students and it seems that numbers are up significantly. This is something to give thanks for. Please pray that their experiences will be good, and that they will encounter more of the living Christ.

Life in Dodoma has certainly changed since its old days as a sleepy backwater. I am awakened most mornings at 5.00am by what I think are the loudspeakers from at least five different Mosques. Depending on the wind direction they can be very loud! Last year I got to know a Muslim missionary a little bit. A nice guy working on social welfare projects. The Muslims and the Christians seem to be in competition about who can make the most noise. All use very large amplifiers. Noise pollution is an unknown concept here. When the students aren’t here the local independent church has the occasional all night prayer service, which can also get quite noisy as people pray out loud together. At least the Christian music is joyful!

The government is pushing to bring all the government ministries here, and the local army barracks is being extended. Certainly massive buildings are going up, and the traffic is getting heavier. Apparently there was some talk of them trying to take over some of the farmland owned by Msalato Bible College. However the college has received a grant from donors in America to help develop the farm, and my colleague Tim Lloyd Jones has been asked by the Bishop to manage it. He is working on installing a new bore hole and water pump.

What we would love to see here are some new Christian volunteers to help at the university – and even more so at the CAMS school. Both offer great opportunities to witness Christian values to Muslims and to help Christians build their understanding of their faith. In return they teach us how to be expressive and outrageously joyful in their worship! Unfortunately, at the moment expatriate numbers are dwindling steadily. We fare-welled another ex-pat from St John’s last week, and without further replacements the Lloyd Jones family could be the only non-African family on campus in a year or so.

CAMS is struggling on thanks to American Peace Corps volunteers, and Ned Kemp continues to do an excellent job with the resources he has to retain the school as one that reflects the truth of the Christian message by the way it lives and breathes. The need remains for energetic English speaking Christian teachers to teach the international syllabus, and for mature experienced teachers to help train the locals and to bring their English up to a standard where they can cope with the children (particularly in the senior classes where some of the pupils are considerably more fluent in English than their English teacher). The demand for a good quality English speaking school is growing as the civil service finally moves to Dodoma, and the opportunity for evangelism is huge. So come on Church, what are you waiting for!

There are many blessings to being here: Tim and Adrienne Lloyd-Jones are such gifted people – they interact well and have helped to move things forward. I am excited to report that at last we are building a boundary fence around the entire campus! It will be a temporary one until we have enough money to build a proper one, but it will keep stock off the young trees we plan to plant, and the existing trees that have been cut down to the roots will have a chance to regrow. At the same time I am hopeful that the first part of the permanent wall that is the dream of the VC will be erected soon. The tender board which puts out tenders for work met recently and it seems they agreed to proceed – this has only taken 15 months since I first put in the request!

Tim has also been appointed Environmental Advisor for the University Campus. His work permit has been approved and his business is slowing getting under way. So far he has yet to earn an income from these activities, which he will have to do in order to stay here. The university provides accommodation so that is some payback for his help on campus.

Yet another blessing is that after 18 months of trying I finally have an approved work permit to collect – at least that is what I am told! This means we can get the required residence permits for multiple entries. I thank God for these.

Another minor feat on the same day was that my status at St John’s (“Honorary Professor”) which was passed by the University authorities a few years back was being questioned as there was no paperwork. However the legal advisor checked and found the records so I now have proof that I am using the title legitimately!

What have I learned from this?  When I reach the point of saying to God that I have done all I can and it’s not working so I give up and hand it over to him to sort out, he seems to enjoy just showing how easy it is for him!   Why do I never seem to realise that he will do all things in his time? My role is to do what I can with what he has given me and leave the hard bits to him.

Irene returned to New Zealand at the end of October. God willing I will join her at the beginning of December. We do not have plans for next year but I pray that we will both have a clarity and common vision about what our Lord would have us do, together with the passion, energy and desire to go where he leads us.

 

Here’s a few prayer points:

That God will raise up people to join the staff at CAMS and St John’s University so that both may be places that are pleasing to God and actively fulfilling the Great Commandment, and that the Church international will be enlivened to help serve here. That the new students will have good experiences at SJUT, and that they will encounter more of the living Christ. That God will direct us as to get the work undertaken well for the temporary fence, and that the tender board will do their work well. That God will provide sufficient income to enable the Lloyd-Jones’s to continue the work they are doing.  Also for the education of their children (Naomi is at CAMS, and the boys are being home schooled by Adrienne). That God will protect the health for various staff.

Vicar and Associate Minister Positions in Asia

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Here are two job vacancies in South East Asia. If you know of someone who might be interested in these positions, please send them this page.

All Saints Church would like to welcome a new Vicar and Associate Minister to their team. We are a vibrant church, serving the English speaking Christian community of our large South East Asian city. Our ±250 members come from different countries, cultures and denominations, yet together we serve Christ and each other by “knowing and making known the love of Jesus.” We offer a wonderful congregation with which to be a part, with salary plus benefits including housing.

Key responsibilities:

To lead and pastor one of the two Church centres and the congregations who meet there. To work as part of a Ministry Team and for the Vicar, to lead this team To disciple our church members and evangelise other English-speakers To further develop our small group ministry To strengthen our witness in the English language schools and this community For the Vicar, to lead the church in the further development of the church land

Essential qualities:

Strong English speaker and must be an ordained Anglican Priest Ability to work as part of a team Leadership and pastoral experience, cross cultural and multi-denominational skills Willingness to come to South East Asia through a mission agency

 

For more details please email office@nzcms.org.nz

We’re All Called (Issue 29)

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By Steve Maina (NZCMS National Director) 

I’m often asked to speak about mission. At churches, in small groups, in Bible College classes, that’s the topic they all want me to share about. But the word ‘mission’ carries a bit of baggage with it – we all have an understanding of what it means, and more importantly, of who’s called to be involved. And that’s a major question: is mission for a select few, or is it for you? Is it for us all? The question matters, because it determines whether or not you see yourself as essential to God’s mission in the world.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?

Mission belongs to and originates from God. The Bible’s grand narrative has mission at the centre: from the start to the finish, Scripture is all about a God on a mission, a God seeking to redeem his whole creation through Christ from sin and evil. “God so loved the world that he sent…” (John 3:16). Mission flows out of God’s very heart.

God is a God of mission, and his Church is supposed to be the same. The Church doesn’t send some people with a special calling in missions; the Church itself is sent. As Emil Brunner said, “The church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning.” The Church is not and cannot be the Church unless it’s orientated around mission. Whether or not someone crosses cultural or geographic boundaries to pursue mission isn’t the issue. Wherever the Church is, it’s in God’s world and is supposed to be all about God’s mission. And here’s an important reminder: if you’re a follower of Jesus, you are the church!

NOT IF BUT WHERE

The question is not if I’m called but where I’m called. It’s time we stopped legitimising some places as ‘mission fields’ and others not. We’re sent to follow Christ as Lord in a broken world and to shine Christ’s light wherever we are.

We need to pause to ask God where our ‘wherever’ is supposed to be. It may mean leaving one’s own location (social, cultural, geographical, intellectual) to enter a new space we’re unfamiliar with. Maybe it’ll be found across an ocean, in a shift within your city or country, or simply by going out of your way to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t. Moving from the known to be with the other is exactly what Christ did. He emptied himself and left behind the glories of heaven to enter the darkness and poverty of our world (Philippians 2:5-8).

Or perhaps you’ve already discovered the ‘wherever’ that God’s called you to. But even there, maybe God’s opening new doors: opportunities with neighbours, workmates, family. Being sent by God isn’t so much about where you go, but the posture of your heart – people who know they’re ‘sent’ have a readiness deep within them for whatever God brings along.

MAKING MISSION THE CENTRE

For a while we’ve wrestled with the question: how can you sum up who NZCMS is and what we’re about? Many people view us as essentially a mission sending agency – an organisation that sends people overseas. That’s a big part of what we do, but the core of who we are is much deeper and bigger. Our purpose is to partner with the Church in order to make mission central for every follower of Jesus.

That’s it: Making Mission the Centre.

But if we’re to help believers discover what God’s mission is all about and how they can make it central to their entire lives, we need a shared understanding of what a missional follower of Jesus looks like. We’ve identified five postures – five lived-out attitudes – shared by people participating in God’s mission. These postures are the same whether you’re serving overseas or engaging here in New Zealand.

And we’ve not taken these out of thin air. These reach back at least as far as a NZCMS bookmark from 2008 that invited people to make four simple commitments: to keep informed, pray regularly, give generously and go willingly. The simplicity of this list was great and made clear that we all have a role to play, though unfortunately it implied that mission is ‘over there’ and not here; mission is for the go-ers meaning the rest of us are more-or-less merely senders. (We, of course, do need to be sending some people as Mission Partners to different parts of the world, which involves supporting, praying and financing their efforts. But all of us have a role to play in mission, not just supporting others in it.) So we’ve made some updates, keeping true to the list but making it clear that mission is for us all.

We’re all called to belong

We’re all called to participate

We’re all called to pray

We’re all called to give

We’re all called to Go

We’ve arranged this Intermission around these five missional postures, exploring what each can look like in hopes that you’ll join us in committing to living these out as best you can. That’s what it means to belong to the CMS family: it’s not about signing a piece of paper or a membership form but sharing this missional DNA.

Join us as we seek to Make Mission the Centre for every follower of Jesus.

 

For discussion

Are you familiar with the earlier four NZCMS commitments? Share what these meant in your journey of faith.

What would it mean for you, your group, your church to ‘Make Mission the Centre’? What challenges or obstacles might get in the way?

Making Mission the Centre (Issue 29)

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The latest issue of Intermission explores what it means to belong to the NZCMS family. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting these articles to our website to highlight the fact that we’re ALL called to be part of God’s mission in the world. Join us as we seek to Make Mission the Centre for every follower of Jesus.

Mission means different things to different people. For some it’s about planting churches; for others, planting trees. For some it means critiquing local or national government; for others, working within political frameworks. Some say it’s about going overseas; others say it’s going next door. For some it means developing businesses; for others it’s challenging the business worldview. There can be a lot of energy invested into figuring out what mission is. But our questions are too small if they’re only about what is and isn’t ‘mission work.’

The more important question is: what’s it mean to be missional? Mission isn’t so much about what we do, but who we are; missional activity flows out of missional lifestyles. If we focus on the activity, we’ll probably conclude that some people have ‘higher callings’ than others. But what matters isn’t so much what we’re called to do; it’s whether or not we’re being faithful to who God’s called us to be.

This Intermission is framed around five missional postures that help form us as individuals and communities on mission. Our hope is that you’ll join us in making these postures part of your own life. God’s inviting each of us to participate in his ‘community of mission service’ – will we respond to his call?