Frequently asked questions
What is 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
This whole topic of should we/shouldn’t we do short-term mission is something that we are passionate about the church getting a grip on and we love to help churches engage in robust and ethical short-term mission. Here’s some articles we’ve written about it that you might like to read:
There are three options: Encounter Teams, Better World Gap Year, Mission Internships (See below for details of each).
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 teams.
Encounter Teams are about giving 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.
These trips are largely about discipleship. Our model for Encounter teams are about ensuring the discipleship process doesn’t begin the day they jump on the plane or 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.
NZCMS has excellent resources to recommend and also have people available to coach team leaders and provide training input for the teams. For more information about Encounter and Engage Teams, get in touch.
At NZCMS we know that young people are deeply passionate about issues of social justice in our world and we believe that issues of social justice are central to the gospel. One of the biggest obstacles to the people of the world believing that God exists and that he loves them is the pain and suffering that we see all around us.
We also know that it’s sometimes hard to find ways to bring about real change in a way that is effective, ethical, and practical. Better World is designed to take young people on a journey to explore things they are passionate about in the world and then learn together how we can bring about lasting change.
Better World has the vision of equipping a whole generation of young people to reach into the suffering in the world around us and bring the light of the gospel of Christ.
Sometimes 2 weeks on a short-term trip is not enough.
Sometimes young people want to travel overseas and try and find volunteer and mission opportunities, but how do you know if they’re ethical? How do you know if they will be with people who are doing the ‘real deal’ of mission long-term overseas?
We’ve created a Mission Internship where young people have the opportunity to apprentice to a Mission Partner overseas for a period of 3-6 months.
The internship has a flexible training phase that is 5-10 hours a week for 3 months before an intern goes overseas. An NZCMS coach guides an intern through aspects of training on mission theology, cultural intelligence and spiritual formation. They journey with an intern for the whole duration of the programme and for a period of re-entry and integration to New Zealand after the internship.
Maybe you’re exploring how your degree or skills can be used in a meaningful way overseas? Maybe you’re up for an adventure with some grit? To learn more click here.
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. We call this our Missions Internship. To learn more about this go here.
What about me?
- 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.
- Feed, a church in Methven run by and for skiers and snowboarders
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
From time to time we receive requests regarding needs in particular areas. To see details about current placements and needs click here.
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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
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.
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