Jo

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.

November’s Missional Movements

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The Hicks family arrived in the Solomon Islands last month. We also congratulate Jonathan on the upcoming publication of his book Trinity, Economy, and Scripture.

Dianne Bailey returns to New Zealand from the Philippines late November for two months.

Nick and Tessa will be coming back to New Zealand at the beginning of November for four months of Leave and Home Service. Also, the new Alcohol Ordinance which Tessa’s community group have been campaigning for should now be completed!

The Jesus Model

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Now that I’m officially old, I’m coming to discover that this journey called faith really is all about Jesus. It may sound like a bit of a non-realisation, but I think it’s easy to forget that Jesus didn’t just do something for us. He showed us what a true human being could be, which is another way of saying he showed me how I can and should live. And, as it turns out, Jesus knew what he was doing when he made discipleship central to his strategy to transform the world and to expand his Kingdom. At it’s core, mission is all about discipleship.

The topic of discipleship is the focus of the latest edition of Intermission. We’ve got articles by Spanky, Bishop Justin Duckworth, some missionaries, ministry leaders in England (from 3dm), plus a couple from the CMS team – and we’re use a number of them as recent #NZCMS posts because they were just so good! If you don’t have a copy of the magazine, email me and I’ll send you as many as you need for your group, but for now I thought we’d start of exploration of the topic of discipleship with this brilliant video.

The video makes a pretty simple point: Jesus orientated his life around three simple principles or modes. He had time to spend with his Father, he had time to spend with his spiritual family, and he had time to spend engaging the world. If being a disciple is about becoming more like Jesus, then I’m supposed to be growing in these three areas – not just my favourite one or two. Imagine what would happen if we learned to find a balance between these three modes. Those we’re discipling – something we’re all involved in one way or another – would come to imitate us as we live out this balance. And those they disciple would do the same. And so on. We’d have masses of people who know how to connect with God, fellowship with and support one another, and reach out to the world.

 

THE MUSE

What stands out to you in the video?

 

THE MOVE

Which of the three areas are you weakest in? What steps can you make to grow in that area? And who are your going to grow with?

#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!) 

Haerenga Update

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At the start of this year we announced that the Haerenga Mission Internship wouldn’t be running in 2015. At first we were quite disappointed by this, but we quickly realised that God had given us an amazing opportunity to review our internship and consider its future. After many discussions, interviews and surveys we realised that we had been trying to do two things with Haerenga: offer a gap year that focused on missional discipleship, and offer a purposeful mission internship.

As it turns out, it’s hard to offer both of these in one package. That’s why we’re launching two pathways, one focused on grass-roots missional discipleship and one focused on cross-cultural mission equipping. We’re still working out the details for the discipleship pathway, but this revised Haerenga Mission Internship will be for those a little further down the missional journey who want to seriously explore cross-cultural mission in a supportive environment. Much like an apprenticeship, interns are placed under the care of experienced missionaries and ‘learn the trade’ through a hands on, guided experience typically lasting 3 – 6 months. Interns will be equipped to live missionally within their callings, whether that’s pursuing a vocation back in NZ or a life of overseas mission.

If you know anyone who might be interested, please contact Jon (jon@nzcms.org.nz)

Get Praying With Prayer Mate

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For those into technology, PrayerMate is an app for smart-phones and tablet-computers that helps you pray for the people and causes you care about, including NZCMS! Each day, the latest prayer prompts from NZCMS will be available at the touch of a button, and you can even set an alarm to remind you that it’s time to pray. It’s available on Android and iOS, so that you have prayer points from our Mission Partners right at your fingertips.

Download the app from iTunes here Download the Android app here

Once you have installed PrayerMate, the app should show you how it’s operated. It allows you to include a variety of topics in your prayer list, include prayers for NZCMS. You can add NZCMS to your prayer list by selecting the small + in the top corner.

Choose “Add new subject” then “World mission.” On the next page choose the bottom option, “Subscribe to feed.” Select the category “Mission & Bible Translation” then scroll down until you see NZCMS. The last step: select “Subscribe to this feed.” (If you are asked if you want push notifications, you can select “Yes” to be alerted to new prayer items from NZCMS.)

You can add in your own prayers, find other groups to be praying for, and remove some of the default items if you wish. To remove an item, select the arrow at the bottom of the item and then select “Archive subject.” To add an alarm to remind you to prayer each day, go to settings / advanced settings / Add reminder alarm.

For advice for getting started click here and watch the video at the end.

Intermission from July

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A number of churches and groups across the country have asked for extra copies of July’s Intermission publication, Strangers Among Us. If your church has spare copies (Issue 23), please consider returning them to NZCMS so we can pass them along.

The edition, which looked at how the church of New Zealand can be reaching out to migrants and refugees, continues to have great relevance in light of the growing refugee crisis.

The image to the right is the cover of the edition that we’re interested in.

Copies can be posted to: NZCMS PO Box 25098 Christchurch 8144

 

 

Following Your Rabbi (Issue 24)

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In my early 20s I led a team to India. Early on we were invited to a Bible study by an elder of the church we were working with. Kumar was a wrinkly old man who never left the house without a bright smile, but he wasn’t particularly charismatic. Arriving at the meeting, I was shocked to discover there was basically no space left in his large living room. It was packed with young people eager to hear God’s Word.

Afterwards I asked how he managed to gather such a group. Being a wise old man, he answered with a story. His house was directly opposite the Bishop’s residence and church offices. Years earlier a church official had moved in. From his comfortable, second story window he could see young people streaming in and out of Kumar’s home virtually all the time. Puzzled, he visited and asked why people were visiting a regular church elder instead of him. Kumar’s response was both brilliant and blunt: “With you it’s all structure and hierarchy. But with me, they know my door is always open. You rely on your rank and status to attract people to yourself. I just seek to live out the Gospel.”

Discipleship in a nutshell

Jesus called twelve disciples to follow him. They weren’t there just to listen to his teachings (Matthew 5:1), to help him out (Matthew 10) or to act as his self-appointed bodyguards (Matthew 19:13). In Jewish culture, you followed a rabbi to become like him, to do the things he did and to live as he lived in every way. That’s what being a disciple meant, and that’s what it means today: being people who are becoming like Jesus.

What is discipleship at the end of the day? It’s following your master. It’s looking like Jesus. It’s being Jesus to the world. As Dallas Willard said, a “disciple is who Jesus would be if he were you” – with your personality, skills, family, knowledge, culture.

But Jesus didn’t just call us to be disciples but to make disciples (not just converts!), and I don’t think that’s a role reserved for the elite. We’re all called to be disciple-makers. While it’s easy to overcomplicate, the core of disciple-making is actually beautifully simple: we’re to demonstrate what following Jesus looks like (1 Corinthians 11:1). Disciple-making isn’t about having enough knowledge. It’s not about being up to date with the latest discipleship techniques or models. It’s not about being a skilled teacher or having a charismatic personality. It’s about whether you’re living a life worth imitating.

And it’s not just about me as an individual. Try following Jesus alone. It doesn’t work! It’s not supposed to. That’s why Jesus gave the charter for his people’s way of life to a community (Matthew 5-7). Learning to follow Jesus is something we’re supposed to learn in community, not as islands. Likewise, people can only imitate me within a community because it’s in community that the way I interact with others is on show. (Try teaching someone to love one another without any others around!) Individually I can only tell people how to live – in community I can not only demonstrate it, but welcome people to participate in it. But when someone joins your community will they see and learn how to follow Jesus, or will they just learn how to run a good church service?

What did Kumar do? He opened up his life so people could imitate him as he sought to imitate Christ. It’s easier to rely on rank, status or programmes… but these things don’t make disciples.

For Discussion

Jesus’ disciples were with him, learning to be like him. Is there space in your life for people to be ‘with you’ like the young people with Kumar?

In what ways can people see Jesus in the way you live? What would it look like if Jesus had your personality, skills, family, knowledge and culture?

 

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.

September’s Missional Movements

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At the start of each month we put out a list of Missional Movements, updating you on the ‘whos,’ ‘wheres’ and ‘whats’ of NZCMS. The same list will be found in the latest edition of Prayer Fuel.

Iri and Kate Mato will be on deputation in the South Island during September and the North Island in October.

Peter & Chris Akester will be departing New Zealand for Tanzania early in September.

Margaret Poynton will be leaving NZ next month, bound for Papua New Guinea.

From the Editor (Issue 24)

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The Great Omission. That’s what Dallas Willard called today’s Church’s failure to make disciples. We produce Christians and church-goers, but not necessarily disciples. Yet as Dallas said, “The church is for discipleship, and discipleship is for the world” – mission flows out of discipleship.

In Jesus’ day, a disciple was a follower of a great teacher, a rabbi. But they weren’t just interested in learning some information or the rabbi’s interpretation of Scripture. They were there to learn his entire way of life, learning to imitate him in every way. They were his total-life apprentices. Disciples would follow their rabbi along dry, dusty roads, so close that they’d eventually get covered in the dust from his feet.

How might it look for us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus today? And how can we become a people who are so covered in the dust of our rabbi that others can follow in our footsteps? Can we learn to imitate Christ so well that, by imitating our lives, people are really imitating Christ himself?

We’re convinced that what’s needed to transform today’s Church into a world-changing missional force is simple: discipleship.

 

 

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.

Pacific 2 Nations breakfast highlights

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NZCMS was privileged to help host a Pacific 2 Nations vision breakfast on August 8. It was a fantastic morning, where Pasifika church leaders gathered to be challenged about their role in global mission. Pacific 2 Nations is a movement of Pacific people, rising up and launching into the nations, proclaiming the Gospel, demonstrating God’s love and power. And NZCMS is excited about the opportunity to be able to get behind this growing movement.

Our office intern, Alicia, is putting together a few highlight videos from the breakfast that capture what was said. In this short clip, Steve Maina shares about why Pacific people are well set up for cross-cultural mission.

If you’re in the Auckland region, we encourage you to support P2N by attending their free annual conference on 11 – 12 September at the Vodafone Events Centre. More info can be found by clicking here.