Here’s an overview of the goings on at Hui 2022: Day 3, Saturday 5 November 2022, by Charis Fortheringham, Communication Assistant at the Baptist Support Centre.

It may be the last day of Hui, but the conversations it ignited are far from over. When you hear the same message repeatedly through different people’s talks across the three days, it is definitely something to respond to!

The call towards treating all brothers and sisters as participators in the Church rather than recipients and building two-way beneficial relationships was confirmed in the keynotes today. God works through the marginalized, where his power is displayed and through our youth – the NOW of the Church.

Keynote 4, Sam Kilpatrick:

Spectacular youth

John 13:34-35

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Sam asks, how well are we demonstrating love to young people?

Their youthful enthusiasm brings new life and vitality to our sometimes stale places…They are essential to the body of Christ, yet they are struggling to find a place in our local churches.

Sam challenges us to think more carefully about the place of the youth in our faith communities.

How do young people feel when we say they are the ‘future of the Church’. Sam explains how this saying can be damaging, implying that youth are to wait their turn when they have something to contribute now. Are church leaders and elders positioning themselves as the passers and youth as the receivers, or are different generations learning from each other?

What should our relationships with youth have?:

Authenticity 

Empathy

Collaboration

Companionship

Healthy churches reach young people, and young people make churches healthier.

Sam asks us if youth are experiencing a sharing of faith, responsibility and space in your Church? On day 1 of Hui, Charles Hewlett asked us what makes you weep? For Sam and many of the representatives at Hui, it is the youth who are no longer part of the faith.

Young people want to belong; in what ways do you think our churches help and hinder that belonging?

Significant conversations followed this question to overflow from Hui into your local churches. Here are some of the responses: 

• Be our youth’s biggest advocates, standing up for them when they are misconceived

• Build strong relationships between youth and different generations

• Do our absolute best to support and protect youth pastors

• Value young people enough to include them

• Stand beside youth through action as well as words

• Bring more priority to youth and youth pastors and communicate clearly with them

• Treat youth as who we need now, not who we need for the future

• Faith communities – responsibility and relationship to youth don’t lie solely on those involved in youth ministry but on the whole family. 

• Are we getting distracted from the whole picture by focusing on separate ministries?

• Repent from hindering or neglecting youth

And there was a lot more to say, and we can come away acknowledging the need for family-wide involvement in supporting our young people.

Keynote 5. panel: Hannah Cossey, Jonathan Edmeadas, Eduardo Mendonca and Tanya Lameta:

Spectacular future 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What is the Church you lead going to look like?

Here is some of what we heard from our fantastic panel:

Putting relationship with God before working for God. Hannah shared a word she received from God: If you want to receive what I have for you, you have to get close enough to me to receive it. She also shared Psalm 27:4.

It’s going to look like experienced leaders working alongside emerging leaders. Everyone is heard, valued and taken seriously and participates in discerning God’s voice together.

Going off Philippians 3, Eduardo explains that if we run a relay without the Gospel as our baton, we are running a meaningless race.

Tanya shares the value in the Samoan culture of weaving together, demonstrating its relevance to the Church. She says We are losing the value of meeting face to face, identity, and practices of sitting, conversing and forgiving because they’re slowly becoming irrelevant… It’s time to tell our stories, to share our stories of measina, our taonga, our treasure...

Keynote 6. Michael Rhodes:

Spectacular power

What you don’t know can hurt you. It can hinder you from getting to where you want to go.

Are we seeing the marginalized as participators or recipients? Michael illustrated this point with soup kitchens and potlucks. Are we scooping our familiar recipes into people’s bowls or joining God in preparing the table for their unique and flavoursome contributions. 

God spoke to many of us through this talk. We heard that the things we think disqualify us or others are the very things God uses for his kingdom.

Our Hui finished with a poroaki appreciating all who made this Hui happen. Our hosts, Bethlehem Baptist Church passed on the putorino to Manakau City Baptist Church, our hosts next year.

Here are a few pics from the day:

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