21 Feb New Zealand’s year of upside down mission
It was in 1814 that CMS missionaries first brought the gospel to Aotearoa/New Zealand. In 2014, our sister society New Zealand CMS plans to celebrate the bicentenary by inviting missionaries again, explains Steve Maina. Could you be one of them?
You’re invited!You’re invited!
Kiaora! Steve Maina here – I’m the national director of NZCMS. The New Zealand Church Missionary Society and the New Zealand Christian Network are turning traditional mission upside down to celebrate 200 years of the gospel in New Zealand.
Traditionally, mission has meant going ‘over there’. During 2014 African and Asian missionaries will be making their way over here to support local New Zealand communities, parishes, churches, schools and iwi [‘tribes’] in their evangelistic, social and spiritual development.
2014 marks the bicentennial of the Christian gospel’s arrival in New Zealand through Chief Ruatara’s invitation of CMS missionary Samuel Marsden. The New Zealand Church Missionary Society (NZCMS) initiative picks up both the missional DNA of the early CMS in New Zealand and links with what God is doing in New Zealand today.
Several Maori leaders say they can see a fresh stirring of the Holy Spirit amongst Maori. The Bible Society normally sells between 100 and 200 Maori Bibles a year. During the last four years they have sold over 1,000 a year. We are also seeing more leaders and local churches being re-awakened to the centrality of the gospel in our bicultural beginnings. They are looking to discern a more indigenous expression of what it means to be kiwi Christians and discovering ways to encourage evangelism amongst Maori and Pakeha [non-Maori New Zealanders].
The Team 2014 Project is designed to complement existing initiatives in New Zealand, or be the basis for new ones. Teams can be as small as three or large as 10 and stay from two weeks to two months.
Teams will include key leaders who are internationally respected and able to speak around the issues of gospel and mission. There are a number of African and Asian artists keen to come and minister in schools, churches, student groups and communities. Evangelism teams are available to work with local churches to serve and impact their communities with the gospel. Lastly teams of students and student workers are able to come to support evangelism amongst youth and young adults.
You can find out more about NZCMS’s plans for 2014 at their bicentenary website.