At the Hui 2016, Ben Wakefield passed the mantle of presidency onto Jim Patrick. Jim and Lois are planning to travel the country to provide support and encouragement to the Baptist churches in New Zealand. Jim writes:
Last year, my wife Lois tore out a page from a daily devotional booklet. She clipped it onto the fridge door in our home in Wanaka, where we were working with a fledgling church fellowship. It was based on Psalm 134, and included this verse: “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord!” In the daytime, crowds gathered at the temple to worship. It was where the priests paraded in their gowns and tassels. It was the place of obvious blessing. However, there was also another ministry taking place… at night. It was dark and lonely, and no-one expected anything of consequence to happen. In Psalm 134, the psalmist encourages the priests on the night watch to praise God because, despite all appearances, God was at work.
Within our family of New Zealand Baptist churches, there are many of us who can identify with the priests who ministered in the night. We minister to small congregations, or to groups that are off the radar. At times it can be discouraging, and it can feel like nothing of consequence is happening. But God IS at work. We need to place our confidence in him, and believe that amid the most unlikely places and with the most unlikely people, he can do amazing things!
This year, Lois and I plan to visit many of you who are ministering “by night.” We are starting in Invercargill, and will work our way north, aiming to cross the Cook Strait sometime in May. We will be travelling in our self-contained caravan, and parking somewhere near you. If you would like a visit, please let us know. We may not be able to give you a definite date immediately, but it will help us plan which direction we take! To contact us, or to follow our progress, go to nzwanderer.com.
We look forward to learning about what is happening among our churches, and also to provide some encouragement where we can.
Scripture: Unless otherwise specified, Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.