What is Diversity within the Church?

We attempt herein to incorporate our idea of what is important for the Church as a whole. What matters a great deal to the Church as a whole is for it to include members of a wide range of backgrounds. This is essentially what diversity in the context of society is about and that is the important consideration for a Church that is reflective of greater society. Hitherto there have been a range of theological beliefs and practices applying within churches, some of which have tended to produce congregations that are not diverse, because of prescriptive beliefs within these Churches about the type of people they are interested in having as members. For example, churches are often organised along majority or minority ethnic lines, where it is rare to find ethnic diversity within a church. This may not be consciously organised to be discriminatory to a particular ethnic grouping, but the theology that is employed within a particular church may consciously or unconsciously favour particular non-ethnic characteristics in society that coincidentally parallel an ethnic characteristic.

The Power of Affirmation and The Power of Healing

A very important discipline in the life of any Christian believer is affirmation. By declaring the truths that are stated in scripture, we can ensure that we live in victory every day over negative thoughts and beliefs that can have material impacts upon our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. But are affirmations alone, able to help us overcome major spiritual barriers or bondages in our lives? The answer to that question is no.

If everyone who was struggling with major challenges in their lives, such as impacts of childhood abuse, or addictions, could simply say a few words and overcome those issues, then there would be no need for ministries of healing. The fact is, however, that people who have such struggles often endure such challenges for years until they receive their freedom. This is not by the power of affirmation, but by the power of healing. The difference is that whilst we can personally make an affirmation at any time, we cannot choose the timing of when healing will take place. Major healings are often a journey consisting of many steps over a lengthy period of years. And the fact is, God chooses the timing of when a particular step of healing takes place; we don’t.

The value of affirmations is that they give us the strength to get through our day to day struggles against major issues, but the power of such acts is temporary. We can continue to struggle against the major issue for a long time, one day at a time, making declarations of the truth of scripture that apply to our situations, until eventually God delivers our healing. And when He does, it often happens when we are just about at the end of our rope on the issue.

Refocus

In July 2020, part of the Christian Events NZ site was migrated to a new one called Christian Converser, which you are reading now. This incorporates a few articles from the Christian Events NZ site. The CENZ site continues to run and receives redirected traffic from the christianevents.nz domain. However this domain will not be renewed when it expires in April 2021 and the CENZ site will then be deleted. The CENZ site will, in the interim, be redirected to this site, Christian Converser, and its companion site, Christian Controverser. No decisions have been made about registering these blogs with custom domain names. At most we may consider registering a global domain and making these blogs subdomains of it, an alternative which may be cheaper is to host both blogs and some others on a WordPress web host provider.

In April 2020, we downgraded from a paid WordPress.com site to a free one using the domain christianeventsnz.wordpress.com with the site. We retain registration of christianevents.nz which points to this site.

In December 2019, after a lot of consideration, we decided the site would keep its existing name and domain. However the purpose of the site has been changed, and will now include general articles and discussions relating to the wider issues of the Christian faith in NZ. Posts about conferences and seminars will be far fewer in number.

We first created the site in April 2019 as Christian Events NZ with the custom domain christianevents.nz.

Discipleship and Discipline

As Christians we are sometimes known as “disciples of Christ”. We of course get that word from its use in the Bible, where in the four Gospels it referred to Jesus’ core team of 12.

Dictionary.com lists “disciple” with four definitions, the first three of which are related to Bible or church, and only the last one suggests that it could refer to anyone who follows any generic cause. It is said to be derived from the Latin root “discipulus”.

Now there is a very similar word also derived from that same latter root and that is “discipline”, which is both a verb and a noun; it names a set of activities that constitute being trained up in the name of a specific cause, and the execution of these activities in the pursuit of that cause. Again with Dictionary.com as our reference, the verb in particular refers to being brought “to a state of order and obedience by training or control”.

However we choose to live out our lives in the world in a generic sense, we cannot expect to have any real achievement without applying some form of daily discipline. These concepts carry over into the Christian sphere, and it is totally imperative for any believer who wants to serve in any kind of church ministry context that they will become disciplined, not just in the ways of Christ, but in every part and detail of their life as a whole. So becoming disciplined doesn’t just mean you should read your bible and pray every day; it means you should clean and tidy your house every day and mow your lawn.

At this point let’s look at a few Scriptures that make reference to the need for discipline in the life of a Christian believer. (You can do your own study at this point as well)

  • 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline” (adapted from NIV)
  • Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” (MSG)
  • Proverbs 10:17 “The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good.” (MSG)

And there are others, we aren’t quoting them all here, but they make it clear enough that discipline is pretty important in the life of a believer, and that discipline is for the whole of life, not just in those activities that specifically reference our faith.

Of course, the key disciplines of faith are fairly important to us, and generally they relate to setting time aside each day to spend in the things of God. These have to be specifically related to personal devotion, and are more important than time spent in a ministry context. Whilst we may be involved in a ministry and participate in ministry activities on a daily basis, these are not a substitute for times of personal devotion. Neither are watching Christian TV or videos, listening to Christian radio stations or Christian music, praying for the needs of other people, etc. None of these can substitute for personal devotion or quiet time.

The important disciplines of personal devotion as a discipline in the life of a Christian believer are based around things such as systematic reading of and meditation on the Scriptures and personal prayer. Some people formally set aside a quiet time each day. Others may spread out this time over various intervals during the day. For example, we may listen to an audio bible during another activity, and then take a short break for reflection and meditation, and then take another break at some point for personal prayer.

From our personal perspective as authors of this blog, we often are taking those times in short breaks during another activity at home, and find in the time spent working on a computer, that is when we can be listening to the daily readings from our audio bible, and taking a short break for reflection, taking short times for prayer during the day, and usually one or more longer breaks and specific prayer activities. Our goal throughout 2020 is to become stronger and more regular in ensuring these disciplines are practiced every day, so that we can move ahead with our dreams and desires for future ministry activity. We believe someone who is undisciplined cannot expect to be involved in any significant ministry activity within a church; they may be able to involve themselves in a personal ministry that does not involve anyone else, but will not be called to lead in any capacity with other people.

Current Refresh

This site is now running as a free wordpress.com site. We retain the christianevents.nz domain name which is redirecting to this site, and our Facebook page. Mainly the issue is that we haven’t finalised the expectation of what this site will be for and whether to change its domain name to more fully reflect where we actually want it to go. An exercise last year to come up with a different name and domain didn’t actually achieve anything so we still don’t quite know what to do in that regard.

What will happen now is we will just write about our life experiences as Christians and see where that goes to. Expect to see some of that come out over the weeks ahead. We will then see where things go with that and give some fresh thought to the name of the site and the web address it should have.

These posts are syndicated to Facebook, but we do not regard Facebook as our primary platform, and will be continuing to generate the posts here on WordPress.