At Worship 7:9, held on Saturday 7th September 2019, more than 300 people gathered to celebrate the diversity of cultures and identity that make up the Northern Baptist Association (NBA).
The title and date of Worship 7:9 mirrored the Revelation 7:9 passage in the Bible: “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”
Eastgate Christian Centre, which itself is a culturally diverse church, hosted us brilliantly, providing competent administration, technical support and hospitality. Flags of all the nations framed the auditorium ceiling, adding to the colour and celebration, and people’s national costumes created a sense of vibrancy and joy.
Beginning with a mihi whakatau, we expressed our languages in song and prayer, reading of the Word and in a superb series of cultural items from Samoan, Kachin, Chinese, Tamil and Korean groups. The message was translated into Mandarin through headsets, and Luke Kaa‑Morgan and a wonderfully ‘cut and pasted’ multicultural worship team added great wairua.
The Baptist national leader, Charles Hewlett, gathered us together around the Revelation passage, reminding us that this extraordinary scene includes a question in the text: who are they and where did they come from? Not wanting any to have a case of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out), Charles offered an opportunity to respond to the gospel. We then shared a fellowship supper that represented the gathered cultures and nationalities.
We have 37 individual ethnic language churches within the NBA, along with various language congregations of Kiwi churches and models of multicultural integration. This event was just a small taste of that prophesised gathering in Revelation. Imagine what it will be like for real!
Story: Lindsay Jones
Multicultural Ministries Coach, Northern Baptist Association