Don’t let the next sentence stop you reading. The New Zealand dollar is about a third stronger than it was when we moved to New Zealand.
So what? Well it’s a big factor in our ministry here.
Student ministry is not about the money – it never was, never will be. I’m not in this for cash – in fact money interests me very little. But money is a significant part of the provision of God for this ministry.
So the hard figures: it costs about $75000 Kiwi dollars to keep me on the road each year: salary, office, expenses, conferences, training and study. 5 years ago that was the equivalent of £25000 today it’s the equivalent of £35000. The majority of our financial support comes from the UK and the exchange rate has had an impact on our finances.
This has presented a significant challenge and has at times been a real concern/worry: especially at a time of global financial struggle and personal financial change and hardship for many. I’ve worried about money running out, about not having enough, about what would happen, about absolute bank balance and about how things work out on a month by month basis.
But the verse of Scripture that God imposed on my heart at the beginning of our time here has been a greater challenge to me: a challenge to look to God, rather than the dollar, for my security.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
The dollar waxes and wanes, history changes, global institutions rise and fall but God remains unchanging:
Students are responding to the gospel. I recently chatted to someone who had come to faith in Jesus. I asked him what had made the critical difference in bringing him to knowing God in Christ. He spoke warmly, smiling broadly, about how he had seen something intangible in the way the Christians he had met lived and the way in which they spoke about Jesus. He had felt compelled to come to Christ by the power of His Word and the offer of His saving love.
Students are being changed by the gospel. I sat with a group of student leaders and they spoke of how the reality of Jesus was changing the way in which they thought about their lives on campus – one spoke of how God had challenged them about their socialising. They had been challenged about the attitudes they had toward alcohol and relationships. It was plain to see that this wasn’t an attempt at ‘being good’ but rather a response to God’s work in their lives.
Students are sharing the gospel. I had breakfast with a student last week who’s real concern is how to reach his non-Christian friends with the truth about Jesus and how to help his Christian friends become more firmly grounded in the hope and life that Jesus brings. This student is a shining example of living an undivided life – bringing the hope of Jesus to bear in all the friendships he finds himself in.
God does not change.
God’s work continues to grow.
God’s provision is not lacking.
In and through the changing economic climate (and despite the stupidity of my worry) God has continued to provide for our needs. Twenty people here in NZ recently stepped up and have joined the support team in prayer and finance. People in the UK, Europe, Canada and America continue to give and pray.
I’m thankful to God that He is the Lord of the dollar and the gospel: thankful too that He is the Lord over my life. This work feels more and more like a privilege and, as I look to the years ahead, I’m confident that I NEED not worry (though there will be times I will) and that as He has provided so He will provide – not because of who I am or what I do, but because of His great faithfulness and glory!
If you’d be interested in supporting my work in prayer or finances please do send me an email by clicking here