A new director
Rob Reynolds has been affirmed as the next director of SIM NZ.
Rob and DaNae came to New Zealand from the US at the end of 2010, expecting to stay for a couple of years, but they say, “New Zealand is a hard place to leave, especially when you see God keeping you here. We are now residents and see New Zealand as home.” In fact Rob had already been here in 2004, to help the Wesleyan Methodist Church in New Zealand (of which he is now an ordained minister) to start a youth camp ministry.
“I really identified with the people I met, the culture and the way of life… I felt God was saying, ‘This is the answer to your prayer. I want you in New Zealand’.” But Rob was flying home to a wife in the last few weeks of pregnancy, and a commitment to a new church in the US which was closer to extended family. The timing wasn’t right to suggest a move half way around the globe, but he knew it would be later.
Rob and DaNae, who have two sons, Caleb (18) and Aedan (11), raised support in the US and came as missionaries with Global Partners to help an Auckland congregation (cession|community church) begin an outreach ministry. Then in 2012, Rob was recruited by Tearfund to foster relationships between churches/donors in New Zealand and the work that partners did overseas. Now he is working part-time at SIM NZ alongside Nigel Webb until November, when Nigel hands over as director.
Nigel has known Rob since he and DaNae arrived, and says, “I appreciate his faith, participative leadership style and his heart for people and mission… I can’t wait to see where God takes SIM NZ into the future.”
Rob’s first personal experience with mission was as a youth leader of 28, helping take 52 young teenagers on a 10-day mission trip to Mexico where they partnered in evangelism with a local church. He says, “On that trip I saw how God could capture the heart of a young person and shape their worldview. As they moved on to High School and beyond, they saw the world differently. Some are missionaries today.” He later took students to the Bahamas, helping repair hurricane damage.
His first job after graduating with a BA in Business/Sociology wasn’t vocational ministry but in banking, with business and training skills he brings to the role in SIM. These skills were further refined as he studied at Bethel Seminary,graduating in 2009 with an MA in Transformational Leadership. Chair of SIM NZ’s Board , Mark Dickinson, comments: “We have noted Rob’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as his instincts of strategy and an understanding of SIM’s needs.”
“Nigel has worked hard to form a great team,” Rob says, and his intention is to maintain that. He looks forward to learning from the experience of staff and board members on the ground, and adds, “We can’t forget that our office exists to serve our mission partners across the globe.
“Rules for bureaucracy’s sake drive me nuts! While rules and policies are necessary, we can’t forget they exist to serve the bigger picture. Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why, has a concept called the Golden Circle. ‘Why’ is in the centre, followed by ‘How’ and then ‘What’. Sinek looks at great leaders and organisations and finds one thing in common: they start by being clear on why they do what they do. For SIM, that’s reaching those living and dying without hearing God’s good news.
“Mission partners should feel free to question our policies and hold us accountable but I hope they can also extend trust and a willingness to hear the rationale if a policy needs to stick. At the end of the day we share this call and are in this together,” he says.
“I really do believe we have a great future ahead of us. Missions is not something we just dreamed up one day. It’s the centre of the gospel and the church. It was God’s idea, not ours! That’s why I can’t wait to see what he will do and how he will empower our meagre efforts.
“The responsibility of leading can scare the living daylights out of me. I think that’s a good place to be, though, because I have to rely on God. I’m not under the illusion that it will be without challenges – but my realism is driven by idealism, fueled by seeing God work over and over again in our lives.”