In this regular column, our Baptist National Leader, Charles Hewlett, keeps us posted on the happenings in Baptist faith communities across Aotearoa. The original Charles Mail is emailed out on a Friday and reproduced here the following Monday.

Kawepūrongo

After a week's annual leave with Joanne, it was straight back into it on Sunday morning...

Visiting Glenfield Baptist Church

And it couldn't have been more inspiring than visiting Glenfield Baptist Church. Instead of preaching a normal sermon Helen Brereton (Transition Pastor) interviewed me for 40-minutes about my own faith journey, and my role of National Leader. 

I quite like this format – it gives me a wonderful opportunity to talk about the things I am most passionate about – Jesus, the Bible, the Gospel, the Church (especially the Baptist one!), and the mission of God. 

After the service we headed across the road with some of the leadership team to enjoy Yum Cha and conversation together (photo below). Is there anything more beautiful than the church?!

Our support team

Each Monday morning the National Support Centre staff gather in my office for 30 minutes of whanaungatanga. This week we managed to have the full team! (see the photo below). We pray. We read Scripture. We celebrate. We ask each other questions. We talk about gospel renewal. We support one another. And we laugh a lot. We are not a big team (about 9 full-time equivalents) – what a privilege it is for us to serve you. 

A visit from the leaders of the Baptist Union of Samoa

What a privilege for Reti Ah-Voa and me to have the leaders of the Baptist Union of Samoa – Fa'apale and Sena Seupule – visit the National Support Centre on Tuesday afternoon. There are three fellowships in the Samoan union and they are very keen to grow alongside us. We had a great time together!

Gathering to focus on the Regional Associations

The main focus of my week has been a Regional Association focused gathering at the National Support Centre. On Wednesday and Thursday, Christine and I hosted our Regional Association Chairs, Regional Leaders, the Lead Team, and the Assembly Council Chair for two days of strategic conversations (see photo below having dinner together).

The agenda included: 

Ongoing strengthening of our Associations 

Financial viability of our Associations

Future strategy and the shape of ministry to young people (0–25yrs)

Big Bite 2 – Constitution Review

Big Bite 3 – Keeping our people and places safe

Pivoting our priorities to mission

The revitalisation of our Associations continues to bring me heaps of joy. While there is plenty of work to do, the national alignment and excitement about the future continues to grow. I can't wait for our upcoming Regional Hui.

One of the highlights of the retreat was the engagement between regional leadership and Carey Baptist College staff on the formation of our leaders for the future (photo below).

John Tucker, Principal of Carey Baptist College, articulated with so much passion the calling God has placed on his life – the reason he gets out of bed in the morning...

"I am committed to forming leaders who can proclaim Jesus, teach Scripture, read culture, nurture disciples, and guide communities into God’s mission." 

I love it – bring on the future!

On Friday, I hosted the Regional Leaders in my home for a day of further conversations.

Mostly we talked about how we can help Baptist faith communities thrive (with robust leadership, growing disciples, healthy resources, and effective mission) so gospel renewal of people and places might occur in local neighbourhoods. 

Baptist Women’s Board Retreat

In the busyness of life, I missed the Baptist Women's Board retreat in Auckland. Fortunately, Christine (my EA) was able to attend. Christine writes: Our movement is blessed to have a group of willing and wonderful wahine dedicated to helping women thrive in Baptist church life. The Board has a new Chair, and some new faces, and I'm looking forward to supporting them as they navigate this new season. 

How exciting to see Arotahi launching the Whiria Kids website!

Jazz and Michelle write: At Arotahi (NZ Baptist Missionary Society) we believe that being woven together in mission is part of God's heart for each of us. No matter how young, we can all contribute; each prayer, expression of aroha, and small step is precious. Through Whiria Kids, we hope that our Tamariki can continue to see how they can be part of God's mahi in the world.

Register at whiriakids.org.nz to access resources created for children's ministry! 

Karakia

There are many difficult things about the world we live in.

This week I invited Izzy Fraser – Youth Worker, Karori Baptist Church to lead us in prayer for our war-torn world. Please take some time out today to pray Izzy's prayer. 

In the photo here, Izzy is pictured (bottom left) with her youth at a recent camp. 

Heavenly Father,

We are grateful you are a God who hears us, a God who has walked this earth and knows our pain.

Lord, when we look around our towns, cities, country, our world at times it is hard to see the goodness and hope but Lord we know you are there. 

May we have the eyes to see your goodness amongst the heartache.

May we have the courage and conviction to be the kindness, the hope and the carers this world needs.

Lord, may we have courage to be peaceful in a world that tells us to do otherwise.

Thank you Lord for your goodness,

In your Heavenly name,

Āmine 

Matawhaiaro

Kia ora Baptist Whānau

Philippians 1 has been where my Bible has been open this week. I have used the Apostles Paul’s words on many occasions as I have thought of you.

I thank my God every time I remember you.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel

I have you in my heart

I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Thank you New Zealand Baptists for your love for Jesus and your commitment to the mission of God. I know that you are working hard. 

May God bless you heaps this week,

Charles


Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

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