Where are the workers we need in our churches? Who will go? While we face challenges in terms of sending missionaries to new and changing contexts overseas we are noting the changes here in New Zealand.
The harvest is ripe and there are Christians overseas who are being called to come and serve here as missionaries. We see this with our Kenyan brother and sister who are serving here as pastors at Ingestre Street in Whanganui. Just this last week one of our churches has received a Brazilian missionary as a pastor who will be partially supported by his church in Brazil. Exciting times!
I have been working with an Indian couple who have sensed God’s call to work in radio and in outreach among Indian folk in New Zealand. This couple came on study visas to be refreshed and have found opportunities with local New Zealand churches to use radio broadcasts in Indian and Chinese languages to reach their immigrant communities with the message of the gospel. Our challenge has been working through the process of what this looks like in terms of commendation and sponsorship. The commendation process is the same one we would use for sending folk overseas. The sponsorship process is related to the way a religious work visa can be obtained. GC3 acts to facilitate this process rather than be the sponsor. Our churches remain at the centre of sending and receiving.
Its great to see an openness to God’s way of doing things. We need the stories and passion of others to bring a renewed focus on mission both locally and globally. Where is the harvest ripe in your community? Who could you partner with to reach these people?
As we reach those locally, the call to send is being refreshed. Who among you is being equipped and prepared to be God’s ambassadors in other cultures?
In 2 Corinthians 5:11, Paul reminds us about why we should be ambassadors when he says, “Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.” He goes on in 5:20 to say, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
One of the interesting observations that Graham Hill has made at our Renew Mission summits has been that those from non-Western cultures who come to Christ have a more wholistic approach to living their Christian faith. Living with Christ at the centre of everything changes the way we view the world and the way we live out our Christian experience. Too often there are other things that have captured our attention ahead of Christ – our troubles, our need for comfort or financial security. Christ just fits around the edges where it is convenient. Will we work through what it means to allow Christ to be central and to act as His ambassadors wherever we are? Will we be open to renewal in terms of a fresh mission vision – to live and serve as Christ’s ambassadors. How can we do this as communities of God’s people around New Zealand and the world?