Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Church Body at its Best
Can I tell you that i have a STRONG respect for ministers over here! This is not pastors over here complaining, but just my take on their lives & sacrifice:
NO MONEY: The large majority of pastors have to earn their income outside the church's giving
EVEN LESS MONEY: Living is more expensive
WORKING MOTHERS:Most homes have to have 2 incomes in New Zealand because of living, let alone ministry families with kids and little church income.
NO SYMPATHY: New Zealand does not have a huge poverty level or huge visible problem. it is very secular with a very high teen suicide rate, but it doesn't have the same effect as people starving or constantly dying of AIDS
NO US SYMPATHY: For most people in the US, I often feel like going to NZ sounds like more of a vacation than missions trip or work
NO GLORY: Since Christianity has never been the cultural norm, most of the ministry here is a lot slower since there takes are many barriers, questions, and mindsets that have to be breached before someone will readily accept the gospel
LACK OF RECOGNITION: In terms of recognition, good pastors in NZ will not get the respect or publicity they would get in the US. God still sees it, but sometimes it is hard from the human part to not get that affirmation.
They are sacrificing money, time, and numbers for a more than worthy and noble cause. New Zealand is a very secularized place, that is well overdue for Christ to cause a great movement among the people. yet, since NZ seems to be considered luxurious from other parts of the world, and it is not in huge poverty, and it doesn't have a huge crisis; its pastors often get the shaft on needed financial and educated support and the people often get the shaft on full-time pastors dedicated to their church or most of ministries are therefore led by lay people in ministry.
THE COOL THING: People are still coming to Christ and the church is alive and active in being incarnational with their ministry. They are touching people in their community and the church as a whole and the Wesleyan churches are growing because of it!
East City Wesleyan
Dan and i went to East City Wesleyan today. THis picture does not do the room or ministry justice. Richard Waugh it the pastor in the white speaking off to the right of this picture. The room was packed out with a variety of nationalities and age groups. It was fun to watch. Dan and I were invited up and handed a microphone and asked to welcome the congregation... in a split moment i was asking, "what's a welcome?!?" I gave a quick testimony of our journey over and how the church has blessed us so far Rev. Waugh gave a great message of reading the word and making sure that you read for the bible to change you, not just to read to gain knowledge like you do with other books.
Cession Community Church
Dan and i took this one week off from Shoregrace to visit the other Wesleyan church that meets at night, as well. It had a relaxed feel and was the youngest congregation we have been a part of yet. Brett took time to share his vision of making sure they are reaching the unchurched and not just having transfer growth from other churches. That takes a lot of sacrifice, because you are sacrficing a lot growth in numbers to stick to your goal. That also affects the way you promote and bring people in. Brett gave a great sermon on Jesus and the fig tree and his challenge was very innovative and fresh.
Me & the Pastor at Cession, Brett Jones