The Baptist Union exists to bring gospel renewal to people and places in their local neighbourhoods. We endeavour to do this through faith communities that are marked out by robust leadership, effective mission, growing disciples, healthy resources and authentic worship.

Since June 2021 the Baptist Support Centre, as part of the Lead Team, has a part-time Communication Director on staff. Prior to this, in the era of a printed Baptist magazine there was an ‘Editor of the Baptist’ which was an elected role through the Baptist National Hui (Assembly). In May 2023 an advisory group was formed primarily to oversee the content on the Baptist NZ platform (content for this website, the Baptist NZ app, and social media), to ensure it is fulfilling the objectives of the Baptist Union (paragraph one above). The Editorial Advisory Group is a group of volunteers with an active interest in this form of communication as a unifying feature of our collective of faith communities. The group meets quarterly together online, with one of these meetings hopefully in person, with communication between meetings.

The Editorial Advisory Group

Shania Norman

Shania is a member at Whangārei Central Baptist Church. She is a recent graduate of Carey Baptist College who is currently praying and searching for a pastoral call within Northland. Shania is a current member of the Northern Baptist Association board. Shania is passionate about seeing others realize their potential and calling in God’s kingdom.

Elesha Gordon

Elesha is a member of Hills Church in Hillsborough, Auckland, where she attends with her husband Daniel and daughter Keziah. She is the General Manager of Media Chaplaincy New Zealand, having previously worked as a journalist. Elesha also runs Salt, an initiative to support Christians working in mainstream media. She is passionate about advocating for sustainability and the overall well-being of those working in media.

Mike Crudge

Mike is a member of Royal Oak Baptist Church in central Auckland where his family has lived since 2017. As the Communication Director at the Baptist National Support Centre he is passionate about how the Team of 40,000 Baptists in New Zealand connect together. His favourite way to consume content is listening to podcasts on his walk to work.

Jonan Castillon

Jonan is the pastor of Oamaru Baptist Church in North Otago. He is also the Multicultural Response Ministry Coordinator of Gleniti Baptist Church, Timaru. He and his family have resided in Timaru since 2012. Jonan works part-time as an online marketing consultant. He is passionate about playing and composing music, blogging, and developing pastoral ministry tools.

Sophie Bond

Sophie Bond lives in Ōtautahi with her husband, two sons and a very clingy cat. She works as a freelance writer and editor and volunteers at the local school and community garden. She attends South West Baptist Church and appreciates the strong focus on both global and local outreach.

Andrew Baldwin

Originally from Palmerston North, Andrew has spent time living in Wellington, Auckland, Napier and Thailand. Together with his family, he now lives and works in Petone in Te Awa Kairangi (Lower Hutt) where he enjoys walking the beach, browsing the op shops and visiting the cafes. He is a member of Petone Baptist Church, which he has attended since 2021.

The purposes of the Editorial Advisory Group members

  1. Have a commitment to the Baptist Union of New Zealand and be a member of a local Baptist faith community.
  2. Assist with identifying topics that are of importance to the Baptist NZ community, as well as potential contributors, in alignment with the Baptist Union’s purpose.
  3. Ensure content is being responsive to the Baptist NZ community’s needs and focus, helping us to engage with the world that we live in, particularly from a justice/kingdom perspective.
  4. Ensure the diversity of the movement of churches is represented in the content on the Baptist NZ platform.
  5. Be available for content review, assisting the Communication Director with decision making when needed on the suitability or censorship of content, being guided by Baptist Union values, eg: unity.
  6. Have an active interest in content publication and direction.
  7. Provide feedback on the Baptist NZ platform performance, achievement, growth and development.
  8. Create occasional content for the Baptist NZ platform (at least 2 items/year from each Editorial Advisory Group member).
  9. Use their experience and influence to identify and encourage new creatives within our movement of faith communities.
  10. Be a promoter of the Baptist NZ platform – seeking and sharing content within their networks, being an advocate for this communication mechanism.

The Editorial Advisory Group is established and led by the Communication Director, with appointments for 1 year with no limit to the number of possible years of service in the role, but subject to the ability to participate in the purposes listed above. The formation of the group will be guided by the diverse representation of the Team of 40,000 Baptists in New Zealand, will be at least 5 people, drawing beyond employees of the Baptist Union or it’s sub-groups (except the Communication Director), with the following make-up:

  • A gender balance.
  • At least one Māori person on the group.
  • At least one non-European ethnicity on the group (in addition to the Māori person).
  • A generational balance, at least one of each: Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X.