How Should We Serve Our Community?

An Immigrants’ Ministry?

Please help us hear what God is saying.

One community ministry

I have for some time been suggesting that we need to identify one way that we can serve our community.

One way only, because we should not spread ourselves too thinly. Do less, better. We can add others later.

We serve because we are called to love people but loving is also a good witness. Let people see that Christians love and will serve.

But which one?

There are many possibilities. What does God want us to do? He knows what the needs are and where we can best serve. That is what we have to discern and the reason for wanting your feedback.

We are floating one possibility but no decisions have been made. We are trying to hear God.

New Immigrants (including refugees)?

As we have had conversations, the option of serving immigrants has attracted some interest. There are a number of reasons.

  1. Apparently, there are many new immigrants in Mornington.
  2. Shifting into a new culture can be very challenging.
  3. The welcoming of immigrants is a hot topic in our society and genuine love for immigrants might be something the community respects i.e. a good witness for us as a church.
  4. People from other nations are often much more open, spiritually, than the average Kiwi.
  5. The Bible commands us to care for foreigners.
  6. We already have a number in our church and more contacts, particularly through the good work Judy, Roger, Joan and others have done.
  7. Should partner with the Red Cross or similar?

What are the needs?

Some of the immigrants in our church report the following challenges.

  1. English!
    1. They need opportunities to have conversations and people who will help correct them.
  2. Friendship
    1. It can be lonely. People showing an interest, being invited to people’s homes etc makes a huge difference.
  3. Finding housing or other accommodation.
  4. Shopping
    1. Where to find the ingredients they prefer.
    2. Where to find anything!
    3. Understanding the differences between products and the options available (i.e. a language problem)
  5. Culture shock
    1. Why do people do what they do?
    2. What is normal?
  6. In NZ, how do you…
    1. Organise broadband, electricity, rubbish collection…?
    2. Catch a bus?
    3. Do household maintenance?
    4. Know what the law says about…?
    5. Grow a garden?
    6. Buy a house?
  7. What are the dangers? What is it wise to do/not do?
    1. Avoiding being taken advantage of.
  8. Individual needs
    1. Individuals have particular needs: babysitting, employment issues, understanding the school/exam system…
  9. Refugees often need basic goods – blankets, cutlery, heaters…

What could we do?

If we have a team of people who see they might have some part to play in such a ministry, they will no doubt have lots of ideas. But, in the meantime, should we think about:

  • A weekly drop-in place where people can find friends, have conversations and learn a little more about NZ culture?
  • Events around shared meals so that immigrants are invited into homes without it being too much work for any individual?
  • Having a buddy/friendship scheme where we stay in contact with some particular immigrants?
  • Develop some resources to help new New Zealanders e.g. lists of relevant shops or community organisations?
  • Accompany people as advocates when they have to do something difficult?

Do we have a team?

Not everybody will be interested in this particular way of caring but we are interested in knowing who could be. If we have a team willing to work together in this area, that might be one sign that this is what God is saying.

Some people might be able to help in ways that are not hands-on:

  • Praying
  • Providing food
  • Administration

It might also be that you help with this project now but move on later to a ministry about which you are even more passionate.

Please give us some feedback, using the form online.