What is God saying to you and to others? What will future ministry and mission look like? What things need to remain the same? What changes do we need to embrace? In 2020 we invited New Zealand Baptists to reflect upon these questions in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic and to share their thoughts on the future. We’re now reproducing these reflections here for all to see and be inspired by!

For those of us who call NZ home, but whose home is also an ocean away, this global pandemic hits where it hurts. Our sense of safety, security and innocence has been shattered. Our understanding of the phrase, “This could never happen to us” obliterated. And yet in that sea of anxiety and uncertainty, I have been wholeheartedly challenged to trust, be patient, and find joy in the Lord. My desire is that trust, patience and joy can deepen our relationship with God and others as we look to the future. 

Trust that God is still good and with us, amongst the angst and global suffering. Trust that as students grieve the loss of graduations and coming of age milestones, we can build our empathy and kindness. Trust in Jesus’ humanity, that he knows each feeling we feel, and we are not alone in our questions and doubts. Trust that even during difficult times we are called sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in Christ and we have opportunities to love others in new ways. 

Patience that this season offers a glimpse into the unhurried life. That maybe less is more. That slowing down is (dare I say it) is a biblical pursuit. To know God and make him known is the cry of our hearts, with the added wisdom that you cannot pour out of an empty well, so taking care of ourselves is actually a God honouring thing. 

Joy at rethinking our normal. Joy at supporting our local and small businesses. Joy that parts of our environment are healing. Joy of families getting to know each other again. Joy of new life. 

Joy of knowing hope in Jesus even in the darkest shadows of life and global pandemics. 

As we look towards our new normal, let us look to grow in our trust, patience and joy.

Contributor: Kate Dunstan-Brown, Palmerston North Central Baptist Church


Read other reflections on the future of ministry and mission by New Zealand Baptists:
Fiona Beals; Grant HarrisChris Chamberlain; Helen Geddes; Jonathan Edmeades; Cliff Thompson; Jamie Li; Dave Tims; Donna Denmead; Richardson Lau; Christine Saywell; Mike Crudge