Rongopai Editor Sophia Sinclair caught up with Craig Barrow, Lead Pastor of City Bible Church in Hamilton to chat about how God is at work in the people of Kirikiriroa, Hamilton.
This year has been a pretty strange one for lots of churches and ministries, what have you noticed since the COVID lockdown?
Like other churches here in Kirikiriroa, we’re noticing a lot of people searching since lockdown—it’s not unusual to have 3-4 families visiting each Sunday. People have had their security shaken. Whether it was a steady job that’s gone or the threat of sickness, people are being challenged to look for something truly steady—real security in Jesus.
And you’ve seen some people come to faith in Jesus?
We’ve seen 5-6 people saved this year, which is so cool to see people meet and trust in Jesus for the first time!
That must be so encouraging—what has God been teaching you during this time?
The really encouraging thing is that these are mostly the result of years of friendship, prayer and faithfully walking along with people and sharing Jesus. Nothing fancy—just faithful friendship evangelism.
One guy in his early 50s came to faith after a 30-year friendship. One day when they were out for a ride, he started asking questions and at the top of the mountain he said, ‘I need Jesus’. He was baptised recently and when he shared his testimony, he wondered just how many prayers friends and family had prayed for him.
City Bible Church has celebrated a few baptisms recently?
One of the things about baptism is putting the opportunity before people. Sometimes people have been following Jesus for a long time but have never taken the step to get baptised. So, we’ve spent time teaching on baptism, going through Bible studies, talking to our youth and meeting up to discuss baptism with people.
It’s great to see people wanting to follow Jesus’s command to get baptised. I think there can be a culture of waiting because we feel like we have to have it all together, or until we have something to bring something to the table—but the beauty of baptism is recognising that Jesus has done it all for us and we’re being obedient to him.
How would you encourage others who are hoping and praying for growth?
I was challenged by something one of our members recently shared. He reminded us that there’s no need of a light in lit places, that each of us need to be thinking, ‘where’s the dark place I can take my light?’—what’s it going to take? We need to be prepared to make an intentional investment and sacrifice to share the light of Jesus with those who need it most.
It’s classic Christian cheesiness, but our job is to be obedient—keep praying, keep trusting, sharing and believing. It’s God who does the miraculous!
To get in touch with Craig Barrow: firstname.lastname@example.org