“I have never regarded myself as an author,” Robin Cox says. “While I have had a number of books linked to youth mentoring published over the years, a book for Christian educators was a totally different proposition.”
Robin, who attends Whangaparaoa Baptist Church, is speaking of his book 7 Key Qualities of Effective Teachers: Encouragement for Christian Educators.
In 2018, soon after retiring, Robin felt God nudging him to write a short, user-friendly book to encourage Christian educators. Declined by an Australian publisher, Robin next approached Wipf and Stock, which offered Robin a publishing contract within a week of being contacted. In January 2020, 7 Key Qualities of Effective Teachers was published.
“I was still finishing off that book when I felt God again nudging me,” says Robin. “In 2017 I had produced a series of free short podcasts about mentoring. How about updating those and turning them into a book? I contacted Wipf and Stock. Within 48 hours they had offered me another contract! Mentoring Minutes: Weekly Messages to Encourage Anyone Guiding Youth was published in August 2020.
“Would you believe that the story does not end there? During the lockdown in March, I was prayerfully walking along Orewa Beach. I felt God telling me to write a short book of encouragement to Christians of all ages about Barnabas, an apostle who has fascinated me for years. I sent the outline of the idea to Wipf and Stock. Within three weeks I was offered another publishing contract. The Barnabas Prayer: Becoming an Encourager in Your Community will be published later this year.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think one Christian book would be picked up by a US publisher. And now, three books, all published in 2020! God is good, although I do wonder with a mixture of trepidation and excitement where he wants all this to go!”
For more information about Robin’s books, go to yess.co.nz.
Dr Glennis Mafi’s book I’m Ralph, I’m Dad, about her father’s journey with dementia, was launched on 26th July 2020.
Putting it together was a 10-year project. The book incorporates poems by Glennis, anecdotes about her father, Ralph Wood, plus family photos, illustrations by her artist step‑brother Graham Braddock, and medical commentary about dementia and its treatment.
“What started as fairly light‑hearted poems about Dad gradually became more of a thoughtful delving into what was really going on in his mind,” says Glennis, who attends Māngere Bridge Baptist Church.
“What makes a person, a person, regardless of what faculties they may have lost? What can we do as people possibly destined to have dementia ourselves, or people who will care for someone with dementia, to take away the fear, to prepare for it, and to provide care with greater insight and more compassion? How can we soften the journey? Those thoughts and ideas are woven through the book and Dad’s story is almost like a parable, to help us think about it.”
Glennis believes that what we put into our minds as we go through life is likely to be what comes out when we have dementia. She observed this in her father. A devoted Christian, Ralph would sometimes unexpectedly utter Scripture passages he had obviously memorised before his illness.
“Because we are spiritual people designed to relate to God, what we do about that in our younger life is likely to still be there at the end,” says Glennis.
“That’s something that made me pause and think. If I get dementia, I hope what comes out of my mouth and out of my behaviour will be a blessing and a joy. And I hope that I am still praising God and living for him, even if I have dementia.”
Brian Winslade’s latest book is The Essence—Unpacking Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It explores the essential teaching of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 5-7, with discussion questions concluding each of the book’s 20 chapters.
Brian has been a Baptist pastor for over 40 years, in New Zealand, Bangladesh, Australia and the USA. He is currently the senior pastor of Hamilton Central Baptist Church. He was the national leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand from 2001 to 2006, and national director for the Baptist Union of Australia from 2008 to 2011.
One of seven books Brian has written, The Essence is the second published with Wipf and Stock. While there are many resource books on this same passage of Scripture, the pitch for this one was something accessible and readable by those unfamiliar with the rarefied air of theological commentaries.
“I wanted to put something in the hands of ordinary Christians as a personal discipleship resource, or better still a discussion starter for small groups—reading a chapter a week,” says Brian.
“It reads like a manifesto at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Were a person to grasp nothing else of Jesus’ teaching apart from the Sermon on the Mount, he or she catches the essence of his timeless message.”
The book began as a preaching series, and was polished during a short sabbatical in 2019, including a visit to Israel.
“What a privilege to wander the places Jesus walked and to visit the likely hillside where these life‑changing words were delivered. Every Christian, and every preacher, must wrestle with the application of Jesus’ famous sermon, as he clarified how God is to be understood and approached. His teaching on essential human ethics remain breathtakingly relevant for 21st century living,” says Brian.