In our last AGM in Nelson, we made reference to the Strategic Plan for for 2015 to 2020. We have called it Vision 2020 - Jesus Shaping Every Culture. NZCMS’ vision is to see disciples of Jesus influencing every sphere of life across cultures around the world, especially in the Asia/Pacific region.
Our strategic intent is to enthuse, equip and engage the church to flourish in ways that sees disciples equipped to live and speak the whole Gospel in all spheres of society. To unpack this a little more:
a) Enthuse. We partner with the Church to mobilise believers for Christ’s mission in New Zealand and beyond.
b) Equip. We seek to enable individuals and churches to grow into missional communities by equipping, training and resourcing them for cross-cultural mission, both locally and globally.
c) Engage. We seek to support Christ-centred cross-cultural leaders to engage creatively in a world in need of the Gospel, making disciples especially in the Asia & the Pacific region.
I would like to share some highlights from 2015 along these lines.
- We have seen an increasing number of individuals, small groups and churches actively engaging with NZCMS and utilizing our mission resources and training (such as our Intermission publications).
- We are seeing an increasing number of people mobilised, funds released, stories told and healthy partnerships being developed.
- Each of our Mission Partners is intentionally partnering with about five 'Link Churches' with whom a deeper relationship is being established. We have produced resources to help Link Churches know how to support Mission Partners and will be running a Hui for Link Church co-ordinators on July 1 & 2 to provide space for mission advocates to share their stories/experiences and to get some input/resourcing from the NZCMS team.
- We are strengthening our bi-cultural and multi-cultural identity by exploring ways of serving missional needs of Tikanga Maori and Pasefika. Tikanga Maori have requested NZCMS to support them as they engage in the Decade of Mission.
- The fortnightly missional conversation/blog commonly known as #NZCMS has been a resource for equipping the under 30’s with ‘mission tools’. You don’t have to be under 30 to benefit from this great resource available online.
- 2015 was a year of re-evaluating the Haerenga Mission Internship and this has now evolved into a mission apprenticeship. You will hear more about it in due time. We are hoping this (along with other projects) will develop into a more sustainable ministry of developing missional young people.
- Last year, NZCMS provided training for Short term Encounter teams (such as PNG Pilgrimage team from Napier Diocese, Nepal rebuilding team and BOLD youth team to Fiji in Dec. Rather than NZCMS running our own Encounter teams, we continue to partner with Parishes and Dioceses to provide training for effective teams.
- Our goal is to have around six new Mission Partners each year. During this last year we sent seven long-term Mission Partners and one short-term Mission Partner. To the Pacific: Margaret Poynton to serve with Archbishop Clyde in Papua New Guinea and Jonathan and Tess Hicks and their family to teach in a Bible School in Solomon Islands. To Asia: Dean and Amanda and their family to support cutting edge work in anti-human trafficking in South Asia. And to Africa: Peter and Chris Akester to Tanzania to continue the work of Kate and Iri Mato at the Kondoa Bible School. In addition we sent out Carol Roger as a short-term Mission Partner to work as a primary school teacher in Kapuna, Papua New Guinea for a year.
- We celebrate the work of Mission Partners who completed their service overseas last year: Iri and Kate Mato (Kondoa) and John and Anna (South Asia).
- We are delighted by the work our Mission Partners are involved in around the world.
- A growing number of locals in many different countries are being raised up and are multiplying disciples of Jesus. We are currently providing project, scholarship/mentoring support to about 35 local leaders globally.
- We are working towards our goal to have most of our work focusing on the Asia-Pacific Region. The recruitment of an Asia Network coordinator is underway.
I am grateful for Council’s generous support in approving a three month study leave for me this year. I am currently undertaking a study programme in Israel after spending sometime in Kenya, UK and a country in the Middle East. We will be returning to NZ as a family at the end of April 2016.
I am thankful to Lesley Smith, NZCMS Personnel Director for accepting to be Acting National Director, taking on some of my responsibilities during these five months I am away. I know she is doing a great job with the entire NZCMS team. I am very proud of them. We are also grateful that Maureen Harley, a former NZCMS Mission Partner in Cambodia, came on staff for six months from November 2015 on a part time basis as Personnel Assistant.
The NZCMS staff team are some of the most dedicated people I know and it is a privilege for me to work with such a team of talented and committed followers of Jesus. We appreciate all the staff for their dedication and creativity at a time of momentous change.
We would like to thank you for your faithful support in 2015 and over the years. The growth we are experiencing is a direct result of your support and prayers.
Our Society also remembers with gratitude the witness of the lives of former Mission Partners and members who have died in this past year, in particular Kevin O’Sullivan, Edric Baker, Marie Oldham, Rev Noel Bythell, John Sommerville, Phyllis Veal and Ross Elliott. Their commitment and witness in the fellowship of God’s mission has inspired many. The Society is grateful also for generous bequests from a number of people.
As we look into a new year, recognizing that we live in a world that needs a Saviour, the urgency for involvement in God’s mission rings even louder. The task of discipling the nations is huge but so are the resources God has promised to provide to those who trust him. Our forebears in mission inspire us to press on and to do our part in God’s mission. Their boldness challenges us to be bold.
I close with Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 4:5-6: For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
May Christ continue to shine in and through us.
NZCMS National Director, Steve Maina