Kia ora All Saints whānau,
The Benton family is preparing to leave for America next week. We currently have suitcases everywhere and some very excited children, already losing sleep in anticipation of all the fun they are expecting to have. As we wrap up things in New Zealand for the year, we have been reflecting on all that God has done. We are also anticipating sharing with our friends and family in the US all about the amazing things that God’s family is up to down here at the bottom of the world. It feels appropriate that this time of reflecting for us has come leading up to our AGM and the end of the church year as well. We are coming into the end of our second year at All Saints and it is so incredibly exciting to look at what God has done and imagine what might be coming next.
This year we have spent a lot of time learning together about the Kingdom of God, Acts and the early church, and mission efforts around the world. As we have journeyed through these very big concepts and stories that underpin our faith, we have seen the fruit of our learning play out around us. Our house church network has grown and strengthened, bringing church into our homes and neighbourhoods. We have pushed out of our normal rhythms and begun to serve our community on 5th Sundays, worshipping God with our hands and our feet rather than simply gathering with one another. We have seen amazing growth and renewed energy in programmes like Mainly Music. We have put on an epic Light Party that was the talk of Hataitai for days. And most exciting, we are hearing that people around us are wondering and gossiping about what’s going on at All Saints.
I could not be prouder of each of you; this is what the Body of Christ is meant to be about. We are living in a time and a place where most people don’t know Jesus or understand the incredible gift he gave. To share that with those around us, our lives must reflect our beliefs and we must stand out from the world around us. As a church, we must reflect God’s Kingdom. This is what we have been learning about in our Central Gatherings and House Churches all year, but to see the outworking of that learning so clearly is incredibly exciting.
Guy and I will be away in America for 7 weeks, spending the holidays with my family, allowing our children to spend time in that part of their culture, and sharing with all those we meet about what God is doing in New Zealand. We will keep you all in our prayers as we go and will return in January, excited to see what God has in store for All Saints in 2023!