SM NZ Leaders Retreat: A Time for Change
Taking on the National Coordinators role of a country is no simple journey. The task at hand can very easily seem overwhelming, especially coming into a situation where course numbers have been steadily declining, and some regions have gradually become inactive. But our transition into the role has been made so much easier as we look at the amazing wisdom and depth of the team who we have to journey with, and as we seek to hear God’s direction for us as a country.
From 10th-11th April 2023 Simply Mobilizing New Zealand’s leaders met for two days in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Our goal for our first day together was to clarify who we are as an organisation, why we do what we do, and how to clearly present this to others, promoting Simply Mobilizing within New Zealand. The aim was for everything to be presented in a form which our team could easily reproduce and take back for their regional teams. As part of this, we also completed ‘The River Module’ of franchise training with support from Geof Gunton, joining us online from the Philippines.
One of the key areas we have previously identified as needing work is our communications. We recognized the need for people being able to find and contact us in New Zealand.
During our meeting we were able to share the development of our new website design, our SMNZ facebook page, video testimonies from local courses (particularly Interface), and promotional material for church leaders. We also recognized that there is more work to be done in keeping up regular contact with both our SM teams and the churches we have journeyed with.
The team also found it very helpful to look again at SM’s vision, mission, distinctives and values, and how our courses fit into this framework. We then invited Max Chismon to talk to us about the journey of a missional church, and how SM courses can work in this journey. It is so easy as mobilisers to think of our agenda when approaching courses, and what we want to achieve, but we really need to have the church’s journey to become missional at the heart of all we do.
Our goal for our second day together was for vision casting and praying together for the future of SMNZ. As part of this we looked at our finances, the journey we had been on so far as a country, and the direction we felt the Lord had put on our hearts for the future.
In the past SMNZ has run many Kairos courses and the focus had been on getting as many people as possible through Kairos.
We have been in a period of transition for several years now, and our numbers doing Kairos have reflected this. Our focus is shifting to how we can engage with churches and assist them on their journey to become missional, so there is a new focus on Interface and general courses for churches to be used in-house. A lot of our discussions were around how we best partner with local churches and what this could look like going forward.
This is an exciting time for mission mobilisation in NZ, but as change always is, it is also a challenging time. It is easy to look only at the declining course numbers and become discouraged. One word that came through clearly, though, was ‘Lift up your vision, we need to see things from God’s perspective’.