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 | News

What a great week I've had!

Despite continuing to recover from my hip surgery I have been able to take part in a number of pretty awesome Baptist activities. And God has blessed me greatly by surrounding me with some wonderful people!

The Regional Leader Retreat

I felt very spoilt participating in Tuesday's Regional Leader retreat day (photo below). Mick and Ruby Duncan had a session sharing some of their musings/observations on leadership, the church, ministry, mission, and New Zealand Baptists at this stage in their journey. We interacted with them and prayed together. The future will be different and better because of the wisdom they shared with us. 

Planning National Hui content with Assembly Council

On Wednesday I gathered together with Assembly Council, the Regional Leaders, and the Lead Team - and so good having Sarah Beisly, Craig and Michaela Vernall, and John Tucker join with us (see photo below). The day was to plan together the content of our National Hui, with a particular focus on presenting some of the big issues facing us as a movement. We have such wonderful people serving us! 

Safe people and places

And then on Thursday it was hanging out with Assembly Council at our bi-monthly meeting (see picture below with Ruby Duncan - Chair of Arotahi and Kerry Brewerton - Chair of Assembly Council). Our elected councils serve us so diligently. A good chunk of our meeting was spent talking about ways to ensure our people and places are kept safe...and how our ecclesiology fits in with this.

I am loving all the work happening at the moment to ensure our people and places are safe. 

What a bold and awesome move it has been for us to affirm that all of our registered pastors and leaders need to have external supervision support with qualified and experienced supervisors. The Baptist Registration team have been busy behind the scenes ensuring we are ready for the full roll-out in 2025.

A pilot training programme for supervisors was recently held in both Auckland (photo above) and Christchurch, very ably written and delivered by Neil Baker (senior pastor at the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle). The feedback was outstanding, so this 3 day supervision training will now be opened up for anyone to apply. For more information see the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning website, and keep a look out for the 2024 training dates.

Listen to this!

Talking of healthy leadership – have you heard Dr Glenn Melville’s podcast on the pastor’s emotional well-being? This is definitely worth sitting down for 45 minutes to listen to. Listen on the Baptist NZ website or app, also on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Glenn shares insights from his research on how pastors can experience emotional well-being in a profession traditionally associated with stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, and high attrition rates. Glenn is interviewed by Dr Phil Halstead, a lecturer at Carey Baptist College in the areas of pastoral care and counselling. 

Thanks Glenn for the awesome way you manage Baptist Registration!

Baptist National Hui 2023

Have you got the National Hui dates marked in your diary (2-4 November)? I am so keen to have as many Baptist people at Manukau City Baptist Church as possible as we worship together, pray together, listen to God’s Word together, and talk together - to discern the mind of Christ on some pretty big decisions facing us as a movement. 

There is no ‘pastor prerequisite’ to attend Hui and we are looking forward to gathering with people from across our New Zealand Baptist whānau. Imagine if there were delegates from every one of our 250 faith communities

How can we forget Sam Kilpatrick’s message to us last year on young people!! The conversation that followed and the subsequent decisions made have greatly shaped the future of New Zealand Baptists.

Kupu o te wiki | Word of the week

Matawhaiaro | Personal

Dear Baptist Whānau

How does God speak to you?

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned he spoke to me through his Scriptures (Isaiah 26:4). This week he spoke to me through a person. It was Kelly from Arotahi.

On Monday I was home all alone. My hip was feeling a bit sore and I was feeling disheartened that I wasn’t able to run around the block yet (two weeks after surgery!). 

In my moment of misery, a simple WhatsApp message came through from Kelly. It read, “Just dropped some lunch on your doorstep! Inspired by the sandwiches we had in Melbourne.”

Opening the door, the handwritten note on the wrapper told me how her and husband were praying for me, they hoped I would soon be back doing the things that brought me joy and, “We would love to help you build strength back with some fun tennis hits.” 

I greatly valued my colleague’s thoughtfulness and kindness.

And God spoke to me.

As I munched on my bagel I was reminded of the wisdom of Christian community and the richness of being ministered to by others. Through being on the receiving end of kindness the Spirit encouraged me about the importance of being generous and others focused.

I encourage you to think about the people around you. Is there someone you can bless today? Perhaps send them a text, give them a call, drop them off a sandwich, a bunch of flowers, or take them out for a coffee. Let them know you are thinking of them and that they are important to you. 

May Ephesians 4:32 mark out New Zealand Baptists, "Be kind and compassionate to one another."

May God encourage you in your efforts to help bring Gospel renewal to your neighbourhood.

Karakia | Prayer

While I was at the Baptist World Alliance conference in Norway, I spent time with the Baptist national leader of Niger (Pastor Panlieba Tchalieni and I are pictured here). 

Niger has very much been in the news this week because of the military coup and the subsequent removal of much-needed aid from supporting countries.

Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries and receives hundreds of millions each year in assistance. Please pray with me the prayer for peace for this part of the world, written by Baptist pastor Mahamoudou from Burkina Faso.

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Eternal God, we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, for Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

We know that in our part of the world some people are getting carried away by hatred – people who are unable to think clearly, and turn furiously on the people whom you have placed in this part of the world to enjoy your creation and witness to you. We pray for girls and boys, women and men, children and adults, and the elderly, for you to grant them peace, your peace. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Lord, change the hearts of all those who are carried away by hatred, that they may find in you the Hope of Salvation, and that they may become messengers of peace for ever.    

We thank you, Lord, for you are faithful to your promise.

Glory and praise be given to you forever and ever. 


Click here for more Charles Mail.

Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

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