New era for Maori ministry
Frank and Zoe Grant
(a small section of a larger feature 17-12-19)
Frank Grant believes it’s time for churches to encourage and support a new generation of Maori leaders and evangelists to restore confidence in the Christian message among their own people and establish stronger relationships with local marae.
He asks whether various denominations today are bold enough to have a Maori at the top and to support a new generation of younger Maori leaders who can deliver the Gospel message in their own way rather than relying on big name or visiting pastors from elsewhere?
Frank and Zoe Grant have had a multi-denominational ministry for over 50-years and believe churches need to be more open to ministry that has a much better understanding of the needs of Maori.
“Pakeha still seem to think we’re not capable of doing it and they have to be there or be in charge. We have to train Maori up and release them to get out there. Our pakeha brethren have done their job now they need to support us.”
While there were many powerful Holy Spirit inspired ministries in the 60s and 70s including Bob Kingi, Muri Thompson, Muri Thompson and John Komene, “the churches didn’t keep up the momentum ... they locked it away.”
Frank Grant says “churches should draw out of their own congregations and pastors should speak into the lives of people to exercise their gifts...like Paul said to Timothy, stir up the gifts. Don’t sit on it, don’t let it all be about the pastors and elders. Use your people or lose them.”
He says Maori were often oppressed in the church in ways that killed their faith and identity. But, he says confidently, “God is doing a new thing among Maori...He’s taking Maori back to minister to Maori ...Our pakeha have done a great job but we need to do it ourselves.”
Frank Grant and his wife Zoe have been involved in Christian ministry across Brethren, Baptist, Elim, Minihare (Anglican), Presbyterian and Ringatu and in 2019 they were caring for the spiritual welfare of the people along the coast in the Opotiki region “from highway 35 to the coast”.
“I still fellowship with them all...wherever we go we take Him (Jesus) with us we leave the denominational divisions at the door.” He says religion separates the church and while “we can agree to disagree” over theological issues “we shouldn’t lose fellowship in love”.