Look around most malls, schools or your own street and you’ll quickly recognise something – the DNA of a typical “Kiwi” has undergone a rapid cultural shift. No surprise there, but here’s a stat for you. Globally, way more people are living in a country outside of their birth than ever before. Yes, God is moving the nations around, and if current trends continue, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
In the 2006 census, 37% of Aucklanders were born overseas. That’s one of the highest figures in the world for a city of its size…and that was almost a decade ago! Twenty-first century New Zealand has become a cultural mosaic. Recent years have seen the mix become ever more eclectic, adding to the Asian background cultures many more migrant communities.
How do you feel about the many new faces and diverse cultures colouring and flavouring our society? Change and the unfamiliar often make us a bit uncomfortable. The old adage also rings true. We often fear what we don’t know. We’d like to suggest however, that God is presenting us with an awesome opportunity – one that many other countries missed.
The church in New Zealand has an open door, a divine opportunity to share Christ. In a world where mission has become “from anywhere to everywhere,” God’s people need to better understand cross-cultural principles and grab the possibilities with both hands.
Once we had to cross seas to communicate Christ across a culture. Now we can begin by simply crossing the street. Start by asking lots of questions about their faith. Show genuine interest and seek to understand their values and experience of the world. Be ready to share what God has done in your life. Begin with commonalities and then, like Paul, seek to shape and share the essence of the gospel in ways they can understand. Be bold and ask if you can pray for them and their family. Open your home and invite them for a meal. Better yet, honour them by visiting them in their home. Pray lots and trust God to equip you to communicate His love in meaningful ways to peoples He’s brought to us. Need encouragement, training or support? We’re only a phone call away – it’s what we do!