Jonah and Noah or is it Noah or Was That Jonah, I Get Confused!

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New Zealand- Churches

At the outset I will post the disclaimer that I am not an expert on the church in NZ and in some points that I make may stand to be corrected. If any misinformation is stated the intent is not to degredate the hard work of the Gospel ministers in NZ or to unduly criticize the past history of the church in NZ. All I have to work with is the experiences that I had while in NZ and the antedotal stories that I heard while visiting there.
The Hastings/Napier churches of 'The Church @ Riverbend" and "Hastings Bible Church" where euphemistically called, 'the Mecca of Christian Churches in New Zealand" others referred to the two churches as a sort of 'Christian Disney Land". Neither of the euphemisms were negative in anyway, rather the expressed the uniqueness of the particular ministries of these two churches in the Hawkes Bay region of NZ. The joking terms really reflect more low state of the status quo in the state of the NZ church. Things are so spiritually poor outside of this region that those who look from the outside in and see the ministry of these two churches are really complimenting and marvelling at the accomplishments of the C@R and HBC.
The islands as a whole are bereft of Biblical leaders. This is evidenced by the fact that every fad and new trend that the sewer piper of modern evangelicalism can spit out flows through this country with abandon. It is also evidenced by the numerous small faithful congregations that dot NZ. The situation is a little better in the North Island and while there may not be more than a dozen or two dozen biblical churches in the North Island, I found through visitors to the Impact conference that the South Island from Invercargill to Picton is nearly void of thriving, vibrant fellowship. Believers in many communities meet in small home studies or have Sunday worship that consists of no more than prayer and Scripture reading amongst a dozen or so people. Established mainline churches are liberal or apostate and exegetical bible teaching is so rare that it was expressed to me that the Impact conference was the one time a year that some people hear an expository sermon without having to press the 'play' button on their audio device.
But in this bleak assessment are some brilliantly shining testimonies of light! If you hadn't picked up yet that there are believers in both islands let me inform you that some of them have a zeal and passion and knowledge of the Lord that set this seminarian humbly back. There are precious sheep scattered and without shepherds. There are those calling and earnestly seeking Christ centered, God honoring preaching! Additionally, the liberalism of the past is bearing necrotic fruit now and some of those duped by the promises of liberalism and beginning to reexamine the Christian doctrine and if luck are finding churches like the ones in Howick and Wanganui. There are biblically trained men, few as they be, that are preaching and teaching. A bible college at the Church @ Riverbend is beginning to produce biblically minded people for the ministry. But the assests of the church at hand are so incredibly small and insufficent for the work, esspecially if the Lord were to unleash a Biblically defined revival in this land. The opportunties are breath taking.
I sat in on a meeting at the end of the conference for which I will forever be greatful to have been a participent. In the room where a handful of men which probably represented the better part of the Biblically minded Pastors in NZ. During the meeting the needs of the ministry and the present opportunties were discussed. TIme and time again the problem wasn't a lack of ministry opportunity but of laborers and workers to exploit the opportunities to their greatest advantage. This is truly a unique dynamic that is almost unknown in the U.S.
The past in NZ has left the present church in great need but the future also holds great opportuntity as well. My prayer is that the Lord would see fit to replicate the same situation in nations around the world. I also pray that the Lord would provide all the needed man power and teaching to meet the present need. If ever the statement were true, 'the fields are white unto harvest, but few are the labors' then NZ is the example to illustrate this. Faithful ministers shepherd their flocks with a passion and precision that left be impressed and the next generation of pastors stands poised to make great impact in this nation.

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