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!

Since February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought lots of changes. Some challenges lay in front of us, such as how faith could be lived out with family members who are close to us in the same bubble at a particular time, and so on. 

Although lockdown seemed to limit the ability of believers to worship God, in reality it opened a new way to examine our faith and practise it in every area of our real lives. Honestly, during quarantine our family had several times when we became tighter in our relationship, when it could have exploded in one way or another. For the family it might be easier to see the true colour of our faith. One thing I tried was simply to talk with my family member on the phone while I went shopping, asking what kinds of things he liked. Talking about food calmed the situation down. Living together might cause clashes of opinion too. When that happened I tried to get his point of view instead of just reacting to it. By listening more to what the other one says we become less self-centred, and the closed one could pick that up instantly. 

It absolutely is not easy to confess what I have done that might have agitated others. During lockdown there was a chance to become more fully aware of it. So, lockdown may not be that bad, it could be a rhythm of life, called “Selah” in the Bible, a moment to pause and become more fully aware. I am more than ever convinced by Luke 16:10: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” When people see the true transformation in our life, that might cause them to wonder what a Christian looks like. It is an opportunity to proclaim to the world who God is, and that the foundation of the world is fear of God rather than being afraid of an insignificant virus. I believe that is our mission. 

Contributor: Jamie Li, Manukau City Baptist Church

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 ThompsonDave Tims; Donna Denmead; Richardson Lau; Christine Saywell; Mike Crudge

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