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Jay Matenga

Jay Matenga Project Leader, Research Team Co-Leader; Researcher, NEW ZEALAND I was born and raised in a non-Christian environment in an impoverished part of New Zealand. My mother’s ancestry is from the United Kingdom and my father is a fifty-fifty mix of indigenous Maori (his father) and various European ethnicities (his mother). I was led to faith in Jesus at the age of sixteen by the parents of a friend from high school. They took me under their wing as a seeking teenager and discipled me well, giving me a high regard for understanding the Scriptures and God’s purposes. Being from a working class background, academic pursuit wasn’t encouraged beyond secondary school. Nevertheless, in my final years of high school certain teachers drew out some intellectual aptitude and encouraged me in a passion for learning. My first jobs were clerical but a yearning for understanding persisted, and when an opportunity arose to start training for ministry I jumped at it. I turned twenty-one at Faith Bible College, a small discipleship school in Tauranga, New Zealand. There I met my wife, Pauline. We married in 1990 and immediately took the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course at the recommendation of an elder of the church we were attending at the time. The course had a profound effect on my understanding of God’s purpose in the world and led us to undertake three more undergraduate years of missiological and theological training at what is now the Worldview College for Intercultural Studies in Launceston, Tasmania (Australia). It was here that a calling crystallized to what Ralph Winter championed as the ministry of mission mobilization. After graduating in 1995, Pauline and I worked in administration, public relations, and mission recruitment with a large international mission organization in New Zealand. During this time, I became increasingly concerned about the level of attrition among my peers in mission (GenX, born between c1965–c1980). A series of divine circumstances led me to All Nations Christian College (ANCC) in 1997 where I was privileged to complete MA research into the challenges facing GenX in mission. I analyzed the philosophical motivators of my generation (particularly postmodernism) and my thesis applied Michel Foucault’s theories of power relationships to the missions context. This study led me to develop a set of principles for effective activation and empowerment of post-baby boom generations in cross-cultural mission from the West. I applied these principles in recruitment and retention strategies over a fifteen-year period as the New Zealand leader of one of the largest multinational missions to unreached peoples. What has captured my missiological interest more recently has been the rise in mission personnel from new sending nations, and the struggles they experience trying to integrate into Western mission structures. This new challenge led me to commence a Doctorate of Intercultural Studies at Fuller School of Graduate Studies in 2014, seeking to identify ways to enhance intercultural relationships between missionaries from collectivist and individualist backgrounds. Pauline and I fellowship at Eastgate Christian Centre in Auckland, New Zealand and I currently serve as the leader of Missions Interlink, the association of evangelical missions in New Zealand. I am also an Associate of the WEA MC. I joined the WEA MC Mobilization Task Force in 2007 and accepted leadership of the Task Force and Mission Mobilization Research Team early in 2011. It was a privilege to be invited to participate in this project and it has been an absolute joy serving with the research team.

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