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 

I have lost count of the number of amazing Baptist pastors I bumped into last week.

I invited a couple of them to share what they are currently enjoying about their work. Here's what they said:

Sacha Olsen, Henderson Baptist

Last week 25 people from our church whānau started a course called ‘How to Read the Scriptures’ with Carey Baptist College's Christa and Matt McKirland. I can’t wait to see how this foundational teaching changes the way each person interacts with the Bible.

Recently we did our first intentionally intergenerational service. This was a wonderful collaboration with our children's Ministry Leader, and it was so well received. Afterwards people were saying the verse of the day: Joshua 1:9 to each other around the foyer.

Tha Boe Kyaw, Grace Baptist Church Palmerston North

I am enjoying the journey together with my fellow sisters and brothers who have deep and sustaining faith amidst all that is happening in Myanmar, the country of our origin where armed fighting is taking place, lives are being lost almost every day, and civilians, including close relatives of ours, are living in terror of conflict.

I am also enjoying the opportunity of sharing the sovereignty of God and the hope that we have in him, the very hope that one day our beloved country will be free from dictatorship and peace will prevail throughout the land.

Jeremy Thom Central Baptist Church Invercargill

I am loving seeing young people encounter God in a real way and responding to the call to follow Jesus.

It is also exciting to see God opening doors for us to serve in our local school communities.

11 baptisms at Oxford Terrace Baptist Church

I love the fact that every week a Baptist church contacts me to share the good news of baptisms. Last Sunday Oxford Terrace Baptist Church had 11 baptisms – all on one day!

Pastor of Oxford Terrace Baptist International Church Jane Cong Ye writes, "This year we have witnessed the Spirit of God working mightily in our church with 11 baptisms last Sunday, the result of a team effort. It's such a joy to participate in God's harvest season and there are two more baptisms coming up in the next two months."

Holy Spirit Retreat for Baptist leaders

Thank you so much to Greg and Joy Morris and Iain and Beth Froud for another fantastic Hanmer Retreat (see photo below). How awesome to spend time this week with so many Baptist leaders worshipping God with a passion, open to the Spirit's working in their life, and being so ready to minister to one another.

I personally came away with a fresh appreciation of how deeply my God loves me, and how special it is to be part of the Body of Christ. Thank you to everyone for the way you ministered to me so graciously. Hanmer is a real gift to the Baptist family of churches. 

One of the highlights for me was catching up with the leadership team from South West Baptist Church (see photo below). Thank you, Duane and Claire, for your prayers :)

Jo Hood: Christian entrepreneur 

Did you know Christine and I host a podcast series called Baptist People?

In the latest podcast Christine talks to Jo Hood, founder of Mainly Music, a programme for babies, young children and their caregivers. It's grown into Mainly Ministries, now a global entity, that reaches communities far and wide.

Jo talks to Christine about the challenges and highlights of her career, why Mainly Music is so enduring, and about her own faith journey.

Listen on the Baptist NZ app or websiteApple Podcasts or Spotify.

Consultation time

I'm keen to let you know that the consultation processes have started for a Governance and Constitution Review and a Serious Misconduct Review. Information on these is now on our website, at the links below. A tremendous amount of work has gone into this material, and we are inviting people who are part of Baptist churches to engage with this process. 

Click here for the Governance and Constitution Review (Big Bite 2)

Click here for the Serious Misconduct Review (Big Bite 3)

Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi 

He aha te kai ō te rangatira? He Koorero, he koorero, he koorero. (What is the food of the leader? It is knowledge. It is communication.)

I consider this whakataukii often as I meet each fortnight with Charles and koorero. He and I talk about our Baptist Treaty Affirmation statements and the actions that have followed this. We consider together what other opportunities we can engage with and strategise the 'how' for Gospel renewal to reach Māori. Together we share the heart and commitment for Māori to flourish in our whaanau of churches and beyond. We speak of the Māori leadership that is active and present in our movement and give thanks to God for their mahi. I appreciate these times and the stories that are emerging. Mauri ora. 

(from Luke Kaa-Morgan)

Karakia

Thank you Dana Ashby, pastor at Alexandra Baptist Church, for this week's prayer for our churches and our movement. Please take some time today to pray Dana's prayer, acknowledging the complete dependence of New Zealand Baptists upon God. 

Our Father,

When we feel burdened by the plentiful harvest, yet it seems that the workers are few, we ask You to send workers into the harvest-field of our local communities.

In times of uncertainty, globally and in our home communities, we pray for Your will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

We long to see the hurting, the confused, the lonely and the lost in our communities coming into a relationship with You.

Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

May Your Holy Spirit be our counsel as we live and love like Jesus with all those around us.

Amen.

Matawhaiaro

In my travels around the country this week, I asked Christine Stride (my Executive Advisor) to write a few of her personal comments...

Kia ora Baptist Whānau

This week I've been reflecting on what a blessing our Baptist pastors are. Reading what Sacha, Tha Boe and Jeremy are enjoying about pastoring highlights the multifaceted nature of their roles and makes me really appreciate our pastors' need for encouragement and support from us, their church whānau. 

I'm grateful that my pastor has good solid support from his family, the church elders, our congregation, and the staff team. Thanks for ALL you do Matt Sharpe of Titirangi Baptist Church! Thanks for leaving your home country and answering God's call to be first our Associate pastor, and then our Senior Pastor. Thanks for your (albeit Australian) sense of humour, your humility, your willingness to empower others, your kindness and your grace. Thanks for making (pretty good) coffee, and for being a listening ear. Thanks for consistently bringing the word of God and your love of Jesus to our church.

God bless you :)

Christine

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