"He nama kei runga i ahau na nga Kariki, a na nga Tautangata, na te hunga mohio, a na te hunga whakaarokore. Na reira e ngakau nui ana ahau kia whakapaua taku ki te kauwhau hoki i te rongopai ki a koutou i Roma."
"I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome."
"Ua ia te au mea a Eleni atoa ma nuu ese, o e popoto atoa ma e valelea; o le mea lea ou te naunau ai, ia ou folafola le tala lelei ia te outou foi o i Roma."
In these verses, Paul says something profound:
"I am obligated to both the bright and the barbarians, to the cultured and the uncouth. I am obligated to the wise and the stupid."
Paul says he has a moral responsibility towards the Greeks and non-Greeks. Paul is saying: "Because of what God has done to me and in me, because of God’s grace to me through the gospel, I have a duty towards the pagans. I have a duty towards both the powerful and the pathetic."
This sense of duty towards pagan Greeks is not a dreary demand for Paul. It is a delight.
The news of Jesus’ death and resurrection has transformed Paul from the inside out. He understands the profound goodness of the good news.
This delight in the goodness of God wells up in an eagerness to preach the gospel to those in house churches in Rome.
I am reminded here that the goodness of God, seen most clearly in the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus, is our wellspring. How wonderful, how incredible, how good, and how gracious is our God.
How good is the good news!
How transforming, renewing, reconciling is the good news of the gospel. How sin-crushing, how evil-defeating, how power-inverting is the good news!
It is a privilege to live in the Manawatū, and to be part of a local church in a movement where our forbearers took this obligation to take the good news to Pakeha and Māori joyfully and seriously.
Through these verses, I am reminded that my delight comes with a duty.
It comes with a duty to see the people of Feilding and the Manawatū hear the good news.
It comes with a duty to play my part, in my sphere of influence, in the local church I’m a part of, in my generation, so that all kinds of people hear of the death and resurrection of Jesus from the Scriptures.
By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador
News from Churches
One of the strengths of our movement of churches is that we recognise that everyone is gifted; therefore, everyone can muck in and work to see the gospel spread.
It is delightful then to see that eighteen teenagers and five parents volunteered at the Kingston Community Church School Holiday Programme last week.
The team served 56 children—the majority of whom were from the community.
They listened to a gospel-orientated Bible talk each day, and participated in sports, science and art activities along with a wide range of games!
It was lovely to hear from Bruce Scott today about how the church plant Church @ Cedarwood on the Kāpiti Coast is going.
Bruce writes: “We give thanks to God for what he is doing in our midst.
"We love the sense of community growing in the life of the church through a regular Sunday lunch. We also love the sense of increasing community outreach through the men's monthly community breakfast, and growing involvement in the Waikanae drop-in centre.”
I am struck by the simple but significant act of hospitality and its role in the health of the church.
On Sunday afternoon I met with the eldership team at Church on Vogel in Palmerston North.
I am grateful for this team, consisting of Phil Cullen, Nevin Beukes, Tasa Havea, Tony Martin, AJ Graham, Jason Hockly, Frits van Echten and Brian Smith (pictured above, left to right).
It was lovely to be meeting in The House Next Door, situated next to the church building.
I was encouraged by the ways Church on Vogel is reaching into its community through Rally and in partnership with the ministries of the House Next Door Community Trust managed by a church family member, Lee Chard.
Clint Craig, Lead Pastor at LifeSwitch, wrote to me about how great it is to be able to run Camp Survivor again.
"As a church we have 300 local kids attending our kids camp, most of whom are from unchurched families.
"The camp utilises around 50 youth and a total of 125 volunteers from our church community. We see many kids respond to the gospel and hope to see a significant number of campers and families engage with the church in the coming weeks.
"The coolest part about camp is that we make it free for the campers to come. The church contributes $50,000 so that the camp can be free, but we see it less as an expense and more as an investment in the next generation—one from which we see incredible kingdom returns.
"I couldn't encourage churches to engage with camping enough and would love to chat to anyone who would like to see how embracing camping can have an incredible impact on kids' ministry, youth ministry and the wider church. It really is remarkably powerful.”
Financial Resources to Support Churches in their Mission through Camping
CCCNZ Children’s & Family Ministries Enabler Julie McKinnon manages a fund (on behalf of Lichfield Lands Inc) that CCCNZ/OBH churches are warmly invited to apply for. The fund enables churches to engage school children and their schools, inviting them to hear and experience the gospel through camping.
It has been a privilege to support the LifeSwitch church family in reaching children and their families in their community through Camp Survivor.
If your church would like to know more about the fund and how it can serve your reaching out into your community, contact Julie here.
Churches Linking In
We are delighted to let you know that Wainuiomata Gospel Church in Wellington, Mafutaga Au Uso Kerisiano (Otara Brethren Christian Fellowship) in Auckland and The Lighthouse Church in Masterton have linked in to the CCCNZ Service Trust and movement.
Please be praying for these churches as they seek to point people to Jesus through the gospel from the Scriptures.
Churches Reaching out through Camps
CCCNZ PastorLink Enabler Mark van Wijk writes:
“This week, more than 130 campers, leaders and adults gathered at Willow Park Christian Camp in East Auckland for the Willow Park Kids Camp.
"Many of the volunteers are from local CCCNZ churches, including Mt Wellington Community Church, Tāmaki Community Church, Manurewa Bible Church and Auckland Bible Church."
With a 'space camp’ theme, campers enjoyed a range of activities, games and meals—as well as special presentations from Stardome Astronomy Educator John Rowe, and Rocket Lab Engineer Ben Klammer, both of Mt Wellington Community Church.
Camp speaker Steph van Wijk of Auckland Bible Church (pictured above), shared a clear gospel message in the daily TAG (Talk About God) sessions, making the most of the camp theme to engage the campers in fun and creative ways.
Steph writes: “I was so excited to see ten young people respond to a gospel invitation on Wednesday morning—God is so good!”
An Unexpected Phone Call
As a church leader or camp manager, what happens when you receive that phone call?
A journalist is calling you at 11am and needing your comment for their 3pm deadline. They are raising questions about a church leader, or questions about content in a Bible talk, or questions about handling of funds…
What will you say?
What procedures and policies do you have in place to equip you in this moment?
Managing communications in a crisis is an increasing feature of Christian leadership in our culture.
The time to prepare for the crisis is before the crisis.
At each Regional Summit we invite professional communicators to introduce leaders to the types of procedures and planning that can make all the difference when a crisis hits.
We have had very positive feedback from elders, ministry leaders, and camp managers who attended the Waikato workshop.
We would like to invite all elderships, chairpersons (of elderships, community trusts, campsites and ministries), and pastoral leaders to attend.
CCCNZ Board Meeting
On Friday the CCCNZ Board met at LifeChurch's building in Manurewa in Auckland.
CCCNZ Board Members are:
- Board Chair Gordon Fountain (Eden Community Church)
- Graham Fletcher (Rosedale Bible Chapel)
- Alan Aitken (Riccarton Community Church)
- Rick Isles (Tāmaki Community Church)
- Stuart Bay (Manawaru Bible Chapel)
- Shannon Samuels (Tāmaki Community Church)
- Chris Broadbent (Northcross Church)
- Gillian Guptill (Mt Wellington Community Church)
- Bruce Stormer (The Anchor Church)
- Ane Ponifasio (LifeChurch Manurewa)
- Murray Frost (Rutland Street Church)
- Richard Goodwin (Raleigh Street Christian Centre)
One of the questions we explored is: "What are the challenges facing elderships?"
We discussed the challenges of shepherding and managing, and the challenges of looking for new elders and people not wanting to step into the role.
We discussed the challenges of caring and conflict within an eldership. The challenge of spiritual leadership and increasing compliance complexity. The challenge of the role of an elder and of training potential future elders into the role. The challenges of volunteer elders and elders who are paid.
I am incredibly thankful for the board's meeting, and it is my hope that the discussion will result in more churches pointing people to the gospel from the Scriptures.