Lower North Island Baptist Association

An update from Regional Leader Mike Warring for 2022.

The last year has been very challenging, both personally and for the churches of our region. I wish to take this opportunity to personally thank those of you who have supported our whānau as we face significant health issues which are impacting our family.

In the region’s churches, one of the ongoing effects of COVID-19 is fatigue amongst leaders. However, despite being tired, they have continued to be faithful to their call to minister in the local church, which is a reason to give thanks!

The lower North Island is a diverse region. Yet, we have found lots in common when we talk about Gospel renewal for people and communities across our area. Mick & Ruby Duncan and I have all enjoyed working together to see health in the churches of our region. Initially, it was an informal working relationship between the churches of the Wellington and Central Regions. However, this year, we chose to formalise the relationship between Central Districts and Wellington by creating a new association. Officially we are now the Lower North Island Baptist Association.

At our Regional Hui this year, Greg Motu from Dannevirke gifted us with a Te Reo name for our region; Ikatonga. It is a play on the name for the North Island, Te Ika a Maui (Maui’s fish), and the name for the south, Tonga. We, the people of the Baptist churches of this region, are Ngāti Ikatonga. So look out for our new logo that will be coming soon.

Palmerston North Central Baptist Church generously hosted us for our Regional Hui this year. It was so good spending a couple of days together listening and reflecting on what the Spirit is doing in and through our churches. We discussed some really important questions, giving us some good insights into how we can support the churches of our region well. We had a great discussion about how we can identify and develop future leaders for our churches. This issue is relevant for all of us, with a growing shortage of pastors in our country. It is something we can all pray about.

Finally, 2022 also meant the cancellation of lots of meetings and events. The most significant of these in our region is Easter Camp. It has been a tough season for church in the last couple of years, but it has been even worse for our young people. We would appreciate your ongoing support and prayers as we work towards relaunching Central Easter Camp in 2023, and for our region’s young people—that they would find hope, purpose and significance as they find life in and through Jesus Christ.

This update is from the 2022 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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