An update from the Multicultural Ministries Advisory Team for 2022.

Ni hao, talofa lava, anneyong haseo, kumusta, vanakkam, vandanam, namasthe. Greetings to the Baptist Whanāu of churches in the matchless and mighty Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from the Multicultural Ministries Advisory Team.

The Team comprises a great bunch of pastors from diverse ethnicities passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ in Aotearoa. The above greetings tell of the diverse nature of this group. However, we need to mention that other ethnicities among the NZ Baptists are not part of the Advisory Team yet. There are more than 50 ethnic churches spread all around the nation, with about seven ethnicities.

Our monthly team meetings have discussions on how our different cultural expressions and our individual rich cultural values can be used in the propagation of the gospel. We love to celebrate the God-given diversity and, through that diversity, build God’s kingdom here on earth. We would appreciate the wider Baptist whānau to identify and value the rich treasures that are embedded in every ethnicity and culture, which are a blessing among Baptists, and embrace the idea of how well we as Baptists can thrive in Christian multiculturalism in our nation.

Looking at the past year, the verse that comes to mind is from Jeremiah 31:4, ‘I will build you up again, and you...will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful.’

This verse gives us wonderful hope but also alludes to the challenges we experience as a group. The past year was mostly spent on solidifying our position as a team. We did struggle without an Ethnic Ministries Consultant leading us as pastor Lindsay Jones, who did very well in that role, retired from ministry. Our National Leader, Charles Hewlett, meets with us every other month and constantly encourages us. We are working on some key objectives for our group moving forward. We are planning to meet with Charles in an Ethnic Leaders Retreat, which will happen in the near future, and that should help us to consolidate as a Team.

There is much work to be done in identifying ethnic representation in the regions. In our meetings, we often talk about identifying people in regions, which is a challenge. We talk about new church plants, and there are challenges in that area as well. We talk about how to support our ethnic pastors, where many are bi-vocational—working hard to meet the high demands of their respective churches and provide for their own families at the same time. There is much to talk about and work on. On the whole, we are getting there, and we will get there. We have strong hope in the Lord, as the above verse points us to. We will be built up again with the help of the Lord, and there will be joyful music and dance as before.

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

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