At Central Baptist in Whanganui, mission isn’t something we do, it’s inherent to who we are. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would be filled with power, and would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Here in New Zealand, we are literally at the end of the earth from Jerusalem! Ours therefore is a faith inherited through the hearts and hands of missionaries, both Māori and Pakeha. Thus, mission is our heritage, our responsibility, and our privilege. One of the things I love most about being part of the Baptist Union is the strength, passion, and commitment of our mission society, NZBMS. We’re immensely proud to be a committed partner church, working with Rachel, Andrew and the team to keep mission in the forefront of our minds. We are huge believers in the principle of sowing in places where we won’t reap a harvest. So while we do not currently have any church members serving in the global mission field, we are excited to support a number of missionaries from elsewhere in our Baptist whānau – both financially and prayerfully. Every fortnight, our Mission Focus Team share with the whole church family: they introduce us to NZBMS missionaries and recount their stories, leading us in prayer for their wide variety of needs, challenges, joys, and sorrows. Once per month we also host what we call a GPS Lunch – GPS being Global Prayer & Support. During these times we drill a bit deeper in prayer, seeking the Lord for words of encouragement we can relay to our friends around the world. Our children and youth are also committed to mission: our children, through support of a missionary family; our youth, through ongoing mission awareness and short-term mission trips through NZBMS partners. And of course, every year we’re excited to participate in the Prayer & Self Denial Appeal, often embracing the theme as fully and creatively as we can. We feel richly blessed to work with NZBMS who do an outstanding job of keeping missional hearts beating throughout the Baptist movement of churches.
Article by Nigel Irwin