The week of May 7 was Carey Baptist College’s Mission Week, an opportunity for the missions community – predominantly members of NZBMS and our strategic mission partners – to interact with the students and to raise the profile of global missions amongst the student body.
Over the course of the week we shared meals, listened to speakers, viewed displays and gave opportunities for those who minister globally to participate in the classroom environment.
Nigel Irwin has been part of Mission Week activities for the last two years while working at his Pastoral Leadership training. “From my own experience, mission is starting to mean a whole lot more to me than it did two years ago,” he said. “This is because I’ve had the opportunity to concentrate on it for a period of time and hear some of the great things that are going on. It’s actually reframed mission for me in a lot of ways.”
Nigel admits he would happily participate in an entire month, or even an entire term, of mission if the time was available because he sees it as an important part of preparing people for ministry, even within a New Zealand context.
“I think it’s given me some impetus in terms of how I lead and shepherd a congregation … thoughts about mission, being called and being obedient. I can’t believe that in a church of 200 people only three feel called to mission. That just doesn’t seem right to me, so I think it’s certainly going to be on my radar more.”
Mission is well and truly “on the radar” of Eric Mailau. He’s a Mission Leadership student and agrees with the value of raising the profile of mission. “Steve Maina (NZCMS) came into class and it was good to hear him demystify a lot of the fairy tale ideas surrounding mission,” he said. “It was also good to hear stories from people who are out there doing mission.”
Vanessa Creamer is studying for her Bachelor of Applied Theology. She valued the exposure to real-life practitioners. “It’s really cool to hear personal stories,” she said. “Too often you get the sanitised version in the church newsletter telling all the good stuff but not necessarily the real stuff. It’s good to have the opportunity to talk to mission folk as real people.”
One of the features of Mission Week is the presence of both field staff and leaders of many of the Mission World strategic partners. Anthea Airey is working on her Graduate Diploma and appreciates the access Mission Week grants students.
“It’s cool seeing Peter [Mihaere] cooking eggs for us all! Mission Week brings many of the mission leaders into one place enabling names to be put to faces. It left me thinking, ‘Oh, I could just go and see that person if I want to.’ It breaks down walls.”
Although this was only the second annual Mission Week, its value is clear to both students and Carey staff. Principal Charles Hewlett appreciates the input of the mission community that the event provides.
“Mission Week has very quickly become one of the highlights of the Carey academic year. As a College we want to produce globally aware graduates who have a deep passion for the gospel and mission. Having so many Kingdom-focused risk-takers on our campus at one time really challenges the motivations and priorities of both students and staff!”
Mission Week also seems to be a good fit with the college’s culture. “We study ‘applied’ theology… applied just says mission, really,” Eric said. “It’s good to have such an explicit reminder that, ultimately, all this study needs to be funnelled into mission.”