Rev. Dr Greg Liston


Empowered by the Spirit: Revitalizing the church’s mission in New Zealand through applying Newbigin's insights
Friday 28 March 2025 | 9:45am

By embracing Newbigin's insights and relying on the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, the church in New Zealand can embark on a journey of missional revitalization. The central insight undergirding this journey is the recognition that it is the church actually being the church—living a gospel-centred existence—that is and always has been its primary and most effective missional strategy. In contrast to the syncretistic accommodations which see the church increasingly melding into society, Newbigin offers an attractive picture where the church leans into the differences it has with societal norms, confidently owning those distinctions, and thereby missionally affecting the community surrounding it. Recognising and embracing the tensions and challenges of choosing such an eclectic but attractive ecclesial lifestyle is central to the church’s ongoing missional witness. This session explores how the Spirit can empower us together to embrace this ecclesial calling, by looking at which contemporary church realities we are called to cling to and those others we need to abandon. It argues that by leaning into our distinctive differences with society, the church in New Zealand can become a dynamic agent of God's love and reconciliation in the nation, offering hope and healing in a complex and changing world.

Greg Liston


Rev. Dr Greg Liston is a Senior Lecturer in Theology at Laidlaw College in Auckland, New Zealand, and a pastor at Mt Albert Baptist Church. Previous roles include being the senior pastor of a suburban Baptist church and business management consulting. Greg holds PhDs in quantum physics and ecclesiology. He is the author of several books including Kingdom Come: An Eschatological Third Article Ecclesiology (T&T Clark, 2022) and The Anointed Church (Fortress Press, 2015). He is married to Diane and has two adult children.