Q&A: Harnessing a Global Awareness

Q&A: Harnessing a Global Awareness


Senior Pastor, South West Baptist Church (Christchurch)

Q: How has being globally minded affected this generation’s behaviors? 01

Perhaps the most fundamental impact are changes in the way they relate or commit. Relationships seem more fragile, commitment more taxing. Committing to a specific something—friend or cause, neighborhood or partner, faith community or global concern—is a real discipleship challenge.

Q: How can churches engage this global awareness as they disciple 18–35-year-olds, particularly in secular climates? 02

First, help Millennials experience a global need personally, deeply and relationally. We encourage them to live in an intentional mission community in Kolkata for short periods of time and sense where God is at work there. Our prayer is for each person to meet God in the lives of one of the poor they meet—someone whose life they cannot forget and whose realities will shape their life choices. Second, we encourage them to make time-framed commitments to mission tasks (e.g. being a youth leader or prison visitor) or living in a locally based community for a few years. Choosing this commitment means saying no to other relationships and opportunities, but it also means experiencing the depth of friendship or service in ways that link us to God and each other in personally transformative, rich and life-shaping ways.

Q: Can you share about how your church responded after the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019? 03

As a relatively large church of around 2,000 attenders and 19 entities working in the community, we collectively employ over 400 people in mental health, youth, community development, prison support, pre-schools and social housing. We are heavily involved in the government’s pilot community-based sponsorship of refugees programme. Our church has direct friendships to many of the families in which people were injured or killed in March 2019. The impact was four-fold. First, and ongoing, was the immediate need to care for the bereaved and injured. Second, we sought to care for those indirectly involved, (police, medical staff, teachers). Thirdly, churches and organizations looked to us as an example and key provider, which led to conversations and direct support of affected families. Lastly, the government approached us to help establish a second pilot project to bring refugees into New Zealand through a new community-based sponsorship scheme.

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