Sunday

Our Sunday morning worship time at the Otumoetai congregation

Our Sunday morning worship time at the Otumoetai congregation

Most American Christians get to enjoy the blessings of larger churches: consistent preaching, strong singing, ministries devoted to children and youth, etc. Even for those of us who belong to small churches, a large church experience is just up the road or available in some city that happens to be the site of our next vacation.

For New Zealanders, however, (and especially those associated with our heritage), there are no “large churches.” Congregations in this region of the world are very small (often no more than a dozen people). There are only a handful of congregations associated with churches of Christ that number more than 100 people in the entire South Pacific region!

Another shot of an encouraging, joyous Sunday morning worship period

Another shot of an encouraging, joyous Sunday morning worship period

So when the Otumoetai Church (where the South Pacific Bible College is located) hosts this lectureship, it provides one of the rare opportunities for church members throughout New Zealand to experience a larger gathering of believers. The Otumoetai Church averages about 125 on a regular basis (I believe it is the largest congregation in the country). But on lectureship weekend, the numbers go up considerably. We had almost 250 people gathered on Sunday morning!

What fun! They loved being together, enjoyed the powerful singing and worship, and were encouraged by the tangible evidence of Kingdom presence that morning. I spoke on the subject of “In His Steps.” The writer of Hebrews keeps urging his readers to look at Jesus, to follow his example, to go where he goes. Good advice. Only they are just like us; they will follow Jesus anywhere they want to go. They’ll follow Jesus to the Promised Land. But they don’t want to go through obedience or suffering or pain to get there. (Sound familiar?). They love the idea of new birth and fresh life. But they don’t want to die in order to have it. (Remind you of anyone?) The key to following in Jesus’ steps is to follow all of them, not just the ones we like or agree with. Mostly obedient disciples aren’t much good to Jesus and won’t make it to God’s rest.

Davd Nelson is the Academic Dean of the College

Davd Nelson is the Academic Dean of the College

Sunday afternoon was “free time.” I met with David Nelson (the Academic Dean for the College), napped, and spent time preparing my next lessons. It was rainy and cold anyway. Couldn’t do much outdoors. I must say, however, that New Zealand is a beautiful place. It’s worth a visit just for the scenery. Getting a chance to serve the church there in this was an added and very welcome bonus.

[Go to next New Zealand blog]


John and Evelyn Willis from ACU--what a great and godly couple!

John and Evelyn Willis from ACU--what a great and godly couple!Brooke leads worship--one of the talented young people serving the church in this region ... and another graduate of SPBC!


Amber (an Aussie ministry intern with the STAMP program) and Hannah (a Kiwi married to an Australian youth minister)

Amber (an Aussie ministry intern with the STAMP program) and Hannah (a Kiwi married to an Australian youth minister)

Prayer time

Prayer time