Dear Friends in Christ,
This is the last time I will communicate with you all in this manner. It is being a bit of an emotional roller coaster this week as Mary had her farewell after 14 years in her position at the Manukau Institute of Technology library, then we were brought to the front of church in Waihi on Sunday to be thanked for our work in the wider Baptist family, and today (when I write this) there is a staff lunch saying goodbye to me.
As I look back I am amazed at what I have been privileged to be about serving you and our churches over the last almost 17 years. I came into the position of Accountant for the Baptist Union and the Missionary Society working alongside about 12 others in the office and with only a little computer experience, and 7 years later the mantel of National Administrator was given to me. The journey through all these years has been one of significant personal stretching and growth, huge privilege to participate in a wide variety of functions that are all part of work in the Kingdom of God, wonderful fulfilment and blessing, and an amazing array of relationships all around the country and the world.
When initially asked to come to the National Centre I was not enthusiastic until God nudged me a little harder, and then when in situ I hankered to get back into a church for the first 3 years or so. But after that I settled in and accepted that administration is a ministry of worth no less than anything else. Thereafter I was able to see my giftings, interests, and energies being utilised in ways I had never imagined for which I thank our Heavenly Father.
Some statistics from the 17 years of my tenure may be interesting.
3 office locations
4 national leaders
6 places of abode in Auckland
7+ Boards on which I have served
93 home and overseas staff of NZBMS
111 Baptist Union staff
247 churches & fellowships that we resource
$800m value of insured property
Now it is time to move away from this arena and allow Daniel Palmer to serve you in his way. Be gentle on him as he gets up to speed, pray for him and expect God to use him for the wonderful mission of Jesus that we all share in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I want to pass on a short quote that Gerard Marks sent me after last month’s epistle as I believe it is an encouragement to all who love the Church.
“I’m a Methodist Bishop, so a big part of my job is to send Pastors to Churches. Some of the churches are so difficult or so dead and deadly that sometimes a pastor doesn’t want to be sent there. The pastors are afraid that they might catch what the church has got!
One of my District Superintendents was telling me that a pastor was resisting his appointment, protesting. “That church is hopeless! There is no way to turn around the downward slide there. It’s dead! I’ll just die if I’m sent there!”
The District Superintended defended our appointment by saying, “Well, I’ll tell the Bishop what you said. But I need to warn you, this Bishop truly believes that the resurrection is a fact. He actually believes that Jesus bodily, really, truthfully, rose from the dead on Easter. He even thinks that Jesus still does. So you need to know that when you say something like “the Church is dead,” it really doesn’t mean a thing to the Bishop because he thinks Easter is true!” “Undone by Easter” by William Willimon (Methodist Bishop, very quotable says Gerard)
To God be the glory great things He has done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son..................
Great things He has taught us, great things He has done
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
But purer and higher and greater will be,
Our wonder, our rapture when Jesus we see
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice....
And give Him the glory great things He has done!
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