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!

As much has changed, when you think about it, much has stayed the same. The physical practice of church has had to be different, but this is what the church has been clamouring for, for some time now, and the question is, will we make the most of the opportunity afforded us? The opportunity to implement what the ‘rethought’ church looks and outworks like. 

We have gained access into homes and people’s lives like never before. Exposure to love and communication of that love through video calls, and digital windows to the world. The opportunity to have a seeker, or unchurched person sit, watch and consider their life and the finality of it through your online group and church service is what we’ve been praying for in recent years, isn’t it? 

For many of us it is different. I acknowledge that. But different isn’t bad or good. It’s what it says on the box. It’s just different, and that means we can make some new decisions, some different ones. To keep some things the same, to change some things and to stop others. 

I’m excited about the future, and I’m equally challenged on how we get there. But I’ve taken this season to evaluate my own leadership. My own preferences in relation to Gods preference when it comes to methods and mission, and here’s where I’ve landed in this season. 

The mission truly hasn’t changed, the methods have, will and need to. Not just now but in every season. I give these sentiments, and I’m probably viewed as one of the more radical, or willing to be radical leaders, and I recognise I too can become quickly preferential. 

I think of the key instructions from John 21:15 through 19, feed my sheep, feed my lambs, take care of my sheep, and follow me. Much has changed, much stays the same. 

Be encouraged. He has overcome the world.

Contributor: Cliff Thompson, The Render Gathering

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; Jamie Li; Dave Tims; Donna Denmead; Richardson Lau; Christine Saywell; Mike Crudge

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