What is God saying to you and to others? What will future ministry and mission look like? What things need to remain the same? What changes do we need to embrace? In 2020 we invited New Zealand Baptists to reflect upon these questions in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic and to share their thoughts on the future. We’re now reproducing these reflections here for all to see and be inspired by!

With great expectation I prayed for years that God would revive the Church from the inside out—our methods, our programmes, and our people. What I didn’t expect was how quickly things could change. Yes, I have missed face-to-face friendships, and are still a fan of large gatherings for a sense of togetherness and communal worship, however, what I have experienced over the past few months has released a new sense of hope and vision that the Church could be as transformational as the Bible describes it to be. 

Pastors often talk about 20% of the congregation do 80% of the work, this seems so far from our current truth. During this time, I have been challenged to release leadership and on the flip side, provide more leadership. My expectation for group leaders to be focused on the task of discipleship has risen, because without the Sunday morning ‘check-in’ we’ve had to rely on others to take responsibility to care and connect with those in their groups and social networks. 

I have attempted to inspire and encourage innovation in all areas of church life, and then let go and trust that God will cover all the gaps. I love what Craig Groeschel said “You can have control, and you can have growth, but you can’t have them at the same time.” 

I’m also so much more aware that it takes everyone actively involved, for the Church to be the Church. Every tech person doing their thing, every social media comment, every relational connection is the chance to reach out and be Jesus to those around us. Personally, I have limited capacity, but together we have a huge reach! 

Isn’t this what I already knew—yes! So I say forgive me Lord, and help me to never lose sight of these principles and to lead by example as we navigate our way out the other side of this unique period in history.

Contributor: Christine Saywell, Eastgate Christian Centre

Read other reflections on the future of ministry and mission by New Zealand Baptists:

Fiona Beals; Grant Harris; Kate Dunstan-Brown; Chris Chamberlain; Helen Geddes; Jonathan Edmeades; Cliff Thompson; Jamie Li; Dave Tims; Donna Denmead; Richardson LauMike Crudge

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