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.

So many people engaged with me about the Gospel Renewal content in last week's Charles Mail email that I haven't been able to respond to it all! – Comments, examples, excitement, struggles, and photos of the Gospel initiatives your faith communities are undertaking as the new year starts. I love it!

In this video, I asked Michael Rhodes (Old Testament Lecturer – Carey Baptist College) what Gospel Renewal looked like to him. These 3-minutes are gold – click here to be inspired! 

Kawepūrongo

Assembly Council retreat

On Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February, the Assembly Council met together for a two-day retreat (photo below). Friday was all about Gospel Renewal - together we painted a picture of what Gospel Renewal might look like in our context, and then we identified six strategies that might help Baptist faith communities see this achieved in their local neighbourhoods.

Farewells

On Saturday 10 February, Joanne and I got to participate in Chris Chamberlain's farewell evening at Oxford Terrace Baptist Church (photo here with his staff team). Thank you, Chris and Julie, for sixteen-years of visionary leadership throughout the most difficult of times. Out of the ruins you built something very beautiful for the Kingdom of God. This week Chris begins his role as Upper South Regional Leader full-time.

Also, on Sunday 11 February, Arnie and Aly Hall were farewelled after nearly 30 years at Manukau City Baptist Church. What incredible gospel leadership they have given! Thank you for leading the people of God in South Auckland so faithfully. We look expectantly to how God will use you in Nelson.

Thank you Baptist elders 

On Sunday I had the privilege of spending the day with Lincoln Baptist Church. One of the highlights was having lunch with the eldership team. Ha, I have come home giving thanks to God for Baptist elders. Thank you for the love and wisdom you voluntarily bestow upon the people of God. You are greatly needed and valued. 

30 around 30

Wednesday and Thursday were a couple of the best days in my years as National Leader. Along with Ethan Millar (Youth Catalyst) and significant visits from Luke Kaa-Morgan (Treaty Guide) and Alan Jamieson (Arotahi General Director), I got to retreat with '30 around 30' in Takanini, South Auckland (photo below).

Like the Assembly Council Retreat, the purpose of this gathering was to paint together a picture of what Gospel Renewal might look like in our context. We then discussed ways this vision might become a reality in the neighbourhoods our Baptist churches are placed in. 

I look forward to communicating with you the things my 30 colleagues shared. Bring on the future!

Two articles

Thinking about Gospel Renewal, have you seen these two articles on the Baptist NZ app or website?

1. In her article Sustainability is not a green genre, Charis Fotheringham explains the concept of sustainability and connects it to gospel renewal. 

"When Christians have the calling, power and potential for a transformational handprint, we shouldn’t leave sustainability up to those with the most extensive footprint. As people called to seek justice for the oppressed, we should set an example of sustainability."

Charis is keen to build a discussion with anyone who wants to see our movement of churches take on sustainability. You can email her at [email protected]

Click here to read the full article 

2. Just in case you missed the article Baptist pivot to Mission, I have included it again. How would your faith community answer the three questions discussed by Sarah, Lyn, Raewyn, and Dave?

What does a missionary movement look like to you?  

What does it mean to be a church planted in our local community?  

What does it mean to live as a Christian in the world in 2024?

Click here to read the full article

Te Pouarataki mō te Hīkoi 

From our Treaty Guide

Nei raa te mihi atu ki a koutou i raro i te korowai o too tatou matua nui i te rangi.

I’m grateful to God at the end of a very full and fruitful week. What a privilege it was to be with Charles and Ethan and some key leadership as we navigated some insightful and compelling discussion towards innovative participation in bringing gospel renewal on marae. I was glad to lead this and see our whaanau inspired to innovate and strategise towards action. Te Rongopai maa te tangata me ngaa waahi. (From Luke Kaa-Morgan)

Matawhaiaro

Dear Baptist Whānau 

Isn’t Jesus beautiful.

This week I have been adoring my Lord and Saviour for the way he enters into the pain and suffering of people. The fact that he cares so deeply for us and is full of compassion when we’re hurting.

Matthew paints us a beautiful, caring picture of Jesus, “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” (8:16)

He goes on to record, “A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.” (12:15)

Over a few pages we read, “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing.” (15:30)

And what about that striking scene in Luke, “At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” (4:40)

In 1 Peter we read, “By his wounds you have been healed.” (2:24)

Jesus, it is you that we adore. New Zealand Baptists sing, “Hallelujah!” 

I pray that the good and great physician would touch you again today, that you might know his healing even more fully.

Stand firm in your faith and be courageous and strong.

Charles

Karakia

Our prayer this week is from Jan Ozanne, Baptist Children & Family Ministries National Points Person. She is also the Children and Families coach for the Bay of Plenty & Eastland Baptist Association.

Please take time to pray for our children. I encourage you to use this prayer in one of your services. 

Loving God

We bring before you all those who are raising children: parents, caregivers, extended whānau, and honourary family.

Amidst the challenges and exhaustion that can come with parenting, may they know your guidance, strength and the joy of knowing you love their family deeply. 

As they juggle the demands of life, whatever they may be (education, extracurricular activities, church, additional learning needs, friendships, shared custody...), may they know your wisdom and presence. 

For those struggling or experiencing anxiety for their children, may you give them your peace which transcends all understanding. 

May you bless all our parents and their tamariki with a supportive faith community to walk the journey with them as we raise the next generation together.

May they grow ever closer to you, and may you inspire them to live a life of contagious love for God and neighbour in front of their children.

May all those who love and care for our young people sense your smile upon them.

Amen


Photos: Supplied by Charles Hewlett

Read More Articles

Anzac Day reflection 2024 Image
Articles
April 24, 2024 | Sam Schuurman Channel: 2144749

Anzac Day reflection 2024

Remember, lest we repeat our mistakes, writes Sam Schuurman in this Anzac Day reflection.

5-star biblical preaching Image
News
April 23, 2024 | Mike Crudge Channel: 2144749

5-star biblical preaching

For the fifth of people in our Baptist churches listening to podcasts, here’s a new one containing biblical preaching, and it has a 5-star rating!

Outdoor worship services Image
Stories
April 19, 2024 | Steph Wood and Sean Pawson Channel: 2144749

Outdoor worship services

Ilam Baptist Church brings their worship services out into God’s creation – An interview about the inspiration, the experiences, and the learnings.

';

Privacy Preference Center