Frequently asked questions

What is mission?

What does the Bible say about mission?
Believe it or not, but the whole of the Bible is about mission. From start to finish, that’s what God’s story has always been about: bringing his Kingdom across the entire planet. If we read the story of Genesis really clearly we discover that before the fall – before anything had gone wrong in God’s creation – God was on a mission.

The image we’ve given in Genesis 2 one of this glorious garden that Adam is planted in. But what about the rest of the world? Implied is that the Garden is glorious, but that beyond it things were still relatively empty. And what’s remarkable – God didn’t just go ahead and complete his creational project himself. Instead, he places Adam and Eve in the Garden and tells them to be fruitful and multiply, to full the earth and subdue it. God was saying that humanity were to continue the work of creation by spreading the blessing of the Garden around the whole earth.

So, from the very beginning, we were created with a mission.

The rest of the Bible shows how that mission went forward despite the entrance of sin. God calls Abraham to undo the sin of Adam. God calls Israel to be a light to the nations. And then God sends his Son to make it possible for us to be reconciled to God. But it’s more than that. Through Jesus life, death and resurrection we are restored to live out our original commission to spread the blessing of the Garden – the Kingdom of God – to the ends of the earth. For more about this see our article Gospel and the Kingdom: the Biblical Background for Holistic Mission.

We’ve gone ahead and highlighted a number of key bible passages that speak about mission. To read it click here.

Isn’t mission just about saving souls for heaven?
We evangelicals have an interesting history. Champions like John Wesley and William Wilberforce strongly believed in the importance of personal salvation, yet they also recognized that the Gospel must actually transform society. When liberalism – which often stressed social justice – started creeping into the church, evangelicals responded by putting all the emphasis on evangelism. Unfortunately the Bible doesn’t separate evangelism and social action as we have tended to – Scripture is clear that both are important.

Think of it this way. If Jesus is Lord of all, it means that I’m called to submit to him (“personal salvation”). It equally means that Jesus’ Lordship is to influence how we, as believers, live our lives (“discipleship”). It also means that Jesus’ Lordship is to be expressed in our societies (“social justice”). It also means that Jesus’ Lordship is to be extended into all spheres of society (“cultural transformation”). Holistic mission must incorporate all these elements because God is in the business of redeeming all things (Colossians 1:19-20).

That’s why we have Mission Partners whose prime focus is church-planting, others who focus on discipleship, and others who focus on community transformation. It’s also why we have some who are seeking to influence whole spheres of society in their regions – influencing and bringing change to the way the medical profession works or the dental profession operates.

Mission Partners

What do NZCMS Mission Partners actually do?
Our Mission Partners are involved in a variety of ministries: evangelism, theological education, medical outreach, church planting, secondary and primary education, women’s and men’s ministries, community development, pastoral support, ESOL teaching, mentoring… It’s quite a list!

Our Mission Partners are real people like you and me who share the love of Christ with their communities. We can make the mistake of thinking that mission is just for the specially chosen or spiritually perfect. That’s not the case! Our Mission Partners have seen the need for overseas workers and responded. What needs are there in your own community? Where and how is God calling you to respond?

Is there still a need for people to become Mission Partners?
Yes! Our God-given mandate is to spread the Good News to everyone. One quarter of the world’s population have never even heard the Gospel and have almost no one committed to sharing it with them – we call this group ‘unreached.’ There are only about 19 missionaries for every million among this vast group.

Approximately 40 percent of the world’s population live in places where they have the potential to hear about Jesus – but it is still unlikely that this will have happened. On average there are 28 missionaries reaching out to every million people in this group.

The final third live in places like New Zealand, Australia, United States, Kenya and Uganda – countries that have a strong church presence and where the Gospel is easily accessible. For every million people there are 178 ministers or missionaries involved in various Christian church building activities.

So where does that leave us? Well, yes there are many missionaries serving God around the world, but there is a huge need for many more workers to help share the Gospel with people in cultures other than our own. As Paul wrote, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).

Click here for more information about this need today.

Do you only send people to ‘unreached’ parts of the world?
Despite what we just said, no we don’t. As NZCMS we are committed to seeing God’s Kingdom grow both in breadth and depth. This means we want to have a presence where the message of Christ has not been heard, in hopes that more people will come to faith. We also want to have a presence where the message of Christ has already been heard – there is always room for the Gospel to go deeper in people’s hearts and to make a more definitive impact in society. That’s why we send people to some of the most ‘unreached’ parts of the world and why we send to be involved in theological training, social justice and medical work in other places.

If Jesus is Lord over all, then it is our mandate to see all spheres of life impacted as his disciples learn to live under his Kingly reign.

What’s this thing called the Samaritan Strategy?

The Samaritan Strategy is a holistic mission programme that emerged out of Africa. In the story of the Good Samaritan, the hero helps the victim by using his own donkey, his own bandages, his own coins. For too long poorer communities in the majority world have depended on donor aid their development. The question the Samaritan Strategy seeks to ask is: what does your community already have that can be used to extend God’s Kingdom?

NZCMS has presented teaching on the Samaritan Strategy in various areas in the Pacific. Since New Zealand is the gateway to the Pacific, we feel God calling us to focus more on this region. However, in many cases the church is already very strong. Our approach isn’t to send many more missionaries (though we, of course, are sending some). Instead, we want to empower Christians throughout the Pacific to see what God has already placed in their hands and to strategize how they can use it to bring transformation in their communities.

How can I learn more about holistic mission?
It’s time for a major paradigm shift in our understanding of mission. We’ve gotten half the story right – that God is out to save and transform individuals – but too often we forget that God’s also interested in bringing change to our communities and even to whole nations.

Coram Deo is a new, online training programme started by the Disciple Nations Alliance. Its twelve sessions that get you thinking about God’s big story and where you fit into it. The goal is for you to discover the breath as well as depth of the mission God invites us to join.

And the best part – it’s 100% free! Check it out at www.coramdeo.com

Short-term Mission

Does short-term mission actually help anyone?
NZCMS takes a long term view of short-term mission. If done right, short-term mission can be a gift for both those going and those receiving.

Our goals for these short-term trips are to:

  • See participants develop a larger view of God’s work in the world
  • Focus on learning and engaging with rather than ‘fixing’ another culture
  • Help relationships and partnerships form and deepen between different churches around the world
  • Sow seeds for long term mission service – 30% of short-termers will serve abroad again at some point
  • Empower locals rather than see them as missional ‘targets’
  • Build the faith of both the team member and those who support the team
What short-term opportunities are there?
NZCMS offers a wide range of short-term opportunities, from a few months to one year. We love to connect people who are passionate about God’s mission with practical placements overseas. Our short-term mission opportunities are Kingdom focused with God’s big picture in mind.

There are three options: the Haerenga Mission Internship, Engage & Encounter teams, and Short-Term Placements. (See below for details about each.)

What is the Haerenga Mission Internship?
Haerenga is a ten month internship designed to deepen your relationship with Christ and fill you with passion for God’s mission. Each phase is about challenging and growing you as you discover God’s work both here in New Zealand and overseas.

Through the Haerenga Mission Internship we are seeking to support, equip and encourage young people to understand who they are in the light of who God is, what God is doing in our world and the part they play. Through theoretical and practical learning, each intern grows in their understanding of Mission, Theology, Culture, Community and Personal Formation. As a result our Interns become a part of the NZCMS family – members who are committed to sharing the Good News of Jesus in every culture both here in NZ and overseas.

To learn more click here.

What are Encounter and Engage teams?
We believe the best way to develop a passion for mission is to experience cross-cultural mission first hand. Time and again, it’s this experience that leads people to align themselves wholeheartedly with God’s far reaching work of redemption. That’s why we’ve set up Encounter and Engage teams.

Encounter Teams are about giving young people a chance to encounter a new culture. These two to three week overseas experiences are designed to help people discover what God is doing around the world. These trips are strategic and intentional experiences created to have a long-term impact for God’s Kingdom. The name says it all: Encounter Teams are chances for people to encounter God’s work in another country.

Maybe simply encountering another culture isn’t enough for you. That’s why we’ve started Engage Teams. You already have skills and gifts that you’ve been honing all your life. Why not take the opportunity to put these to use in a community that desperately needs your help. A group of builders could visit a hospital in Papua New Guinea to build new facilities. Legal professionals could offer training to emerging leaders in Asia. Doctors could relieve medical teams in Africa. I.T. consultants could help schools, pastors or mission bases set up much needed computer systems. Engage Teams are about engaging people where they are at by putting your gifts to work in places of need.

These trips are largely about discipleship. Our model for Encounter and Engage teams is about ensuring the discipleship process doesn’t end when the teams return to NZ and disband. In fact, we think one problem in many short-term mission experiences is precisely the fact that the teams disband. So, rather than forming teams ourselves, we help resource pre-existing groups – a youth group, members of a local church, a small group – empowering them to go and experience the world together. You journey together while still in New Zealand, you journey together while overseas, and most importantly, you continue to journey together when you return home.

For more information about Encounter and Engage Teams, get in touch.

What about short-term placements?
From time to time we send out short-term Mission Partners. This placement of six to twelve months is one way you can ‘test the waters’ and see whether you are cut out for cross-cultural mission.

As described in the “How do I become a Mission Partner” question, at the initial enquiry stage we start with conversation – about you, your story, where you have a heart to go and what you might be able to offer. We ask that you fill out an Initial Enquiry form and send this to us with a copy of your CV. None of this commits you to us, or us to you – it’s a chance for us all to get to know each other better and prayerfully consider needs and opportunities.

If you’re interested in this please make contact and introduce yourself.

What about me?

Do I need to leave New Zealand to get involved with God's mission?
There are loads of opportunities to be a part of God’s mission right here in New Zealand. In fact, time and time again we’ve found that people who get plugged into mission and ministry in their local community are the most fruitful ones we send overseas. You can’t learn what it means to be a missionary without getting your hands dirty, so why not get started where you’re at? Besides, at NZCMS we value all forms of mission, whether it’s overseas or in our own backyard.

If you want to know more about NZCMS mission events, prayer meetings or like-minded people in your area of NZ, click here. For more details of how you can get behind and support NZCMS click here.

What missional opportunities are there in New Zealand?
We’ve identified a number of missional communities and groups that you can connect with. If you know of any others that should be on this list please contact us.

  • Urban Vision, a contemporary Order following Jesus on the margins.
  • Stillwaters, a Christian inner city community group in Wellington with a focus on providing a place of belonging, transformation, and expression of faith for a diverse range of people. Stillwaters provides hospitality, friendship and support and a chance for people to get involved in creating a more caring community together.
  • The Bryndwr Community in Christchurch. A network like-minded flats all intentionally engaging with their neighbours, specifically local children and refugee families. They run events, host dinners, and do crafts. For more info contact Lyndon.
  • Feed, a church in Methven run by and for skiers and snowboarders
  • The Tribe. Friends of NZCMS are putting together a global network of missional communities, and one of the key people is based in Christchurch. Each month they release a free resource pack to help you start and nurture your own missional community.
I’m under 30 – what’s there for me
Each Friday we’ll post a blog specifically for you, looking through the eyes of mission at the sort of stuff you face day-to-day. These will come from our NZCMS team, guest bloggers and even from some of you. They’ll be challenges to get you active here and now, plus questions to get your thinking. And since the point’s to get you interacting with others like you, we’re hoping you’ll add your voice into the conversation! Sign up using the email newsletter form at the top of the page (select #NZCMS).

Do I need to hear an audible call to become a Mission Partner?
We all understand that God calls people to mission, but for some reason many of us think that call has to be exactly like Paul’s in the Bible: bright lights, booming heavenly voices, unmistakable clarity. But God’s voice is often soft, quiet, gentle. And – believe it or not – many people who are clearly called to cross-cultural mission were initially less than 100% that God was calling them to it. Why is it often like that? Because following God is all about faith.

More importantly, when Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18) he didn’t limit it to those who felt they had a special calling. Newsflash. As a Christian you’re ALREADY called to mission.

We’re not saying everyone should pack their suitcase and head overseas tomorrow, but we have some helpful tips for discerning whether or not cross-cultural mission might be right for you:

  • Pray about it and ask God to speak
  • Talk about your plans with your church leaders – what do they think?
  • Arrange a short-term opportunity to visit partners already serving overseas
  • Contact NZCMS and start a conversation
  • Do some reading. The Mission of God’s People by Chris Wright is a good place to start. From time to time we’ll be posting other book reviews to our resources section.
Do I have to be an evangelist to be a Mission Partner?

Traditionally a missionary was seen as someone who goes to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel. There is still a need for this sort of work – many people have never had the opportunity to even hear the name of Jesus. But mission is infinitely broader than simply preaching the Good News. It’s about seeing Jesus’ Kingdom spread across the earth and into every area of society.

What would a local community look like if Jesus really was made Lord? People would turn to God in repentance. People would experience justice and fairness. No one would be oppressed by those who had power. Leaders would govern wisely. People would have access to adequate health-care, water, education. Families would be supported. As we see it, mission has to encompass all of this because Jesus’ is Lord over all things.

Do I have to be a teacher, doctor or pastor to be a Mission Partner?

What we just said might imply that you need a profession like one of these to be a Mission Partner. Yes, NZCMS prepares, sends and supports partners with a variety of skills, including teachers, doctors and pastors. Yes, there are many opportunities to serve overseas in ministry, education and medicine. But God has always worked through a whole variety of people.

Many opportunities exist for all sorts of people – graphic designers, IT geeks, accountants, administrators, social workers, journalists, scientists, youth workers, and even those of us who are not sure exactly where they fit. The list goes on. Don’t let you profession, skills, experience (or lack thereof) keep you from talking to us about your place in God’s mission!

How do I get involved in NZCMS?
We’re always looking for keen, missionally minded people to get behind what we do. Involvement can be anything from praying for our Mission Partners from time to time through to being sent overseas as one of them! Really, the level of engagement in NZCMS is up to you.

Getting involved with NZCMS is a fantastic way to open up missional opportunities, both in New Zealand and further afield.

If you’re not already, the best way to get involved is by signing up to receive our updates. Why? Because then you’ll get an insight into who we are and what we do. You can also pray about becoming a NZCMS supporter – someone who prays for our Mission Partners and gives so that they can do what God has called them to.

Our Encounter Teams are about giving you the chance to encounter another culture. It’s about giving you the chance to see God’s work in another context and experience life alongside Christians in another country.

Just finished school or uni and wondering what to do? Check out the Haerenga Mission Internship. It really is a year like none other that will open your eyes to God’s work in the most unlikely of places.

Maybe you’re keen to explore the possibility of a short-term placement – using your skills and gifts to contribute to God’s mission (and perhaps test the waters for future mission work).

Or maybe you’re in for the long haul and want to invest in becoming a Mission Partner long term.

How do I become a Mission Partner?
Great! You’re interested in becoming a Mission Partner! Let’s get talking – about you, your story, where you have a heart to go and what you might be able to offer. You’ll probably have some questions for us too!

The first question you’ll want to ask yourself is whether you’re interested in being a short-term (six months to a year) or a long-term Mission Partner. The process below is for a long-termer, but it’s pretty similar for short-termers as well (though a little less intense).

We’ll ask you to fill in a form to give us a clear idea of who you are. If it looks like a partnership with NZCMS could be a possibility we’ll ask you to fill out some more comprehensive paperwork, nominate referees, plus undergo a police check and medical and psychological assessments. We’ll also spend some more time getting to know you personally. All of this will culminate with an interview with the Personnel Committee, who will then make a recommendation to the NZCMS Council. The Council will make the final decision about your acceptance as a Mission Partner.

Once accepted there will be a period of support raising and cross-cultural training and preparation, usually at St Andrew’s Hall in Melbourne.

If you want to learn more or are interested in filling out the initial form please contact us.

What specific opportunities are there?

From time to time we receive requests regarding needs in particular areas. To see details about current placements and needs click here.

A to Z of admin

Where does the money go?

Download our financials here

Where does the funding come from? What are link churches?
Churches and individual supporters are foundational to providing the financial, relational, pastoral and spiritual support for our NZCMS Mission Partners. It is this commitment to the worldwide mission of the Gospel that allows a Mission Partner’s ministry and the wider ministry of NZCMS to exist. We have set up a strategy that seeks to recognise these partnerships. This diagram helps show the support structure for our Mission Partners.

A key aspect of this strategy are Link Churches: churches who have partnered with a Mission Partner (or family), committing to provide for them spiritually and physically. In other words, they have chosen to have a vested interest in the fruitfulness of the partner, recognizing their individual work as an extension of the mission of the church.

Link Churches play a significant role in the lives and mission of our Mission Partners. This might include:
1. Pastoral support
2. Prayer and financial support
3. Relationships and connection with church members
4. Practical and logistical help

What's NZCMS' connection to the Anglican Church?

NZCMS was started by people belonging to the Anglican Church. Today many of our members are Anglicans, but NZCMS involves people from a variety of denominations and backgrounds. We greatly value partnerships with a diversity of individuals and churches.

We are Anglican in origin and ethos, but have autonomous governance – meaning we are a voluntary society with roots in the Anglican Church. Our existence however is not dependant on the Anglican Church as we are not part of its formal church structure.

How do NZCMS and AMB work together?

AMB is the Anglican Missions Board, a funding organisation set up by the Anglican Church in New Zealand to provide funds for associated mission organisations. AMB’s funds come from the missions quota adopted by each Anglican Diocese in New Zealand. They also receive donations from individual church members.

AMB and NZCMS have a unique partnership. AMB collects from dioceses and parishes and then equitably distributes these funds for mission. NZCMS for its part identifies, equips and supports people in mission. 33% of NZCMS funding comes from AMB. Of every dollar given to AMB, NZCMS receives 30 cents. Overseas costs of NZCMS Mission Partners include things like travel and ministry expenses, field allowances, children’s schooling and insurance. For more about AMB visit www.angmissions.org.nz