An update from the General Director of the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society, Alan Jamieson, for 2022.

Itu2019s been a full-on year! In March, I was in South Asia with our people. I was often called u2018proton visitoru2019 as I was the first international visitor to many of our communities for two years. It was wonderful to be in our global workersu2019 neighbourhoods and to walk the streets with them. My highlight was visiting Tru2014ra. Few NZ Baptists probably realise the length and depth of relationship we have with Tru2014ra Baptists; their wider faith community whakapapa back to NZ Baptist global workers and consider us family. Tru2014ra Baptists deeply respect the generations of work of NZBMS global workers. They are passionate about serving the poor, sharing the word, growing the church, and training people for ministry. If possible, I would take each of you there to meet them as they are truly inspiring! There are now 997 Baptist churches in Tru2014ra, almost 4x as many as here in New Zealand. More than 15,000 people came to faith, were baptised, and entered Baptist membership during the pandemic yearsu2014the church in Tru2014ra is growing phenomenally! John and Helen M, who lived and worked in Tru2014ra for many years, were there with me as the Tru2014ra Theological College Womenu2019s Hostel was opened. It was a day of great celebration, especially for the women faculty and students. Now there is a permanent, purpose-built home for women on campus as they study to be evangelists and leaders in the church.

Those relationships and stories are your relationships and stories. NZBMS is owned by the Baptist churches of Aotearoa, New Zealand. That means you own us. We are your global, cross-cultural mission work. Here are some reasons you can be proud of that:

  • We go to the most vulnerableu2014 serving trafficked people, marginalised children, inner-city slum dwellers and those trapped in cycles of poverty.
  • We go to the least reachedu2014 all our neighbourhoods are in the so-called u201810-40 windowu2019, where Christians are in the overwhelming minorityu2014some of these nations are mainly Muslim or Buddhist, and some have atheistic state control.
  • We go for the long haulu2014building consistency through generations. Bu2014h: 137 years, Tu2014a: 84 years, Ku2014a: more than three decades. We plant deep roots in families, communities, and cities.
  • We go for the community, looking to see locals take ownership and leadership of sustainable businesses and organisationsu2014 through the decades, we have been a part of sparking new schools, hospitals, churches, theological training spaces, and businesses. We continue to give ownership, control, and leadership to locals. One of these businesses is currently one year into a three-year succession journey of transitioning ownership, governance, and leadership to the staff and their community.
  • We seek holistic transformationu2014 physical, social, emotional, and spiritual gospel renewal in individuals and communities. We long to see people discover their God-given identity as loved members of Jesusu2019 family and their true vocation as partners with God in the Missio Dei.
  • We are learning to go as a bi-cultural peopleu2014we may be beginners, but we know God has given us a precious taonga as a bi-cultural people that can be a great gift to the people of the world. This is a space where we have much to learn but where we can already sense Godu2019s hand at work.

It was wonderful to share our heartbeat, and core values with you in our formational Renew Together messages, videos, study material, and childrenu2019s resources.

For us, in the office, there have been a few changes! We sadly farewelled Steph, Shayla and Lorna but joyfully welcomed Ruth (Admin & Accounts Lead), Niki (Admin support & CRM) and Annie (Global Catalyst) into permanent roles. We have also been blessed by Luke (Te Pouarataki mu014d te Hu012bkoi) and Michelle (Projects Manager) joining us part-time for six-month positions.

This year we have welcomed home Carol, Ryan & Sophie and their boys, and John & Helen from their global communities. Carol has accepted a childrenu2019s pastor role, and Ryan and Sophie have settled in the South Island, where Ryan has been able to continue his IT lead role with a business in South Asia. John and Helen are also home in Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) but are far from hanging up their u2018missional bootsu2019! John continues in governance roles alongside Tru2014ra leaders and the structural and legal transitions of a global business.

Looking ahead, we have some initiatives we are focussing on. While working and discerning alongside Te Kapa Rautaki, we are looking to identify and support a specific Mu0101ori-led mission initiative; by Mu0101ori and for Mu0101ori. More news on this at National Hui. At the same time, we sense a new chapter is emerging in our partnership with the Bu2014sh Baptist churches and communities. An investigative team from Mission Council and Te Kapa Rautaki will visit Ross & Cindy and Bu2014sh leaders in November to explore and discern what this might look like. Looking further ahead, we will investigate how we can serve and build meaningful relationships in regions of the Pacific. These initiatives are rooted in the past two yearsu2019 strategic process and planning.

The strategy will create two new opportunities for our Baptist faith communities on our shores. Firstly, offering global experience and exposure trips. Annie will be available to support and lead short- term teams to experience majority world contexts and learn from our global partners/communities. Secondly, we want to support churches to discern a global u2018people and placeu2019 in relationship with a community different from their own for the sake of u2018mutual gospel renewalu2019u2014a relationship where God brings mutual transformation through sharing, learning, giving, and teaching together.

In the background, we have been applying for IRD Schedule 32 status. This would allow us to offer tax receipts for global humanitarian, educational, developmental, and aid work. So far, we have received IRD approval for charitable status and can provide tax credit receipts for donations to work in NZ.

Finally, we are currently working through a rebrand. This is not because we are sensing a change in our callu2014actually, quite the opposite. We are rebranding our public-facing name (not our legal or constitutional name, which will remain NZBMS) as we focus afresh on our call. This call, and our heart and charism, will carry us forward with all generations. Our new name, which we will launch at National Hui, will be Arotahi. Arotahi carries the meaning of focusing in one direction, looking towards one horizon simultaneously, concentrating on one thing together. Although there are many different works and areas we are involved in, we have one common focus that unites us.

We look forward to another exciting chapter of transformation with you, our NZ Baptist whu0101nau, and our global neighbours!

This update is from the 2022 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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