by Nigel Webb

Ministry Corner

Ministry Corner is a short segment including reflections from those in various ministries, whether in church, mission, or secular contexts. This edition’s piece is an interview with Nigel Webb, Laidlaw’s “Mission Enabler,” who will soon leave Laidlaw to engage in overseas mission.

Stimulus: What are the significant points in your Christian story up to coming to Laidlaw?

Nigel: I became a Christian at an early age. I have always been involved in the church and always sought to follow Christ. As a teenager living in Fiji where I had friends of many different faiths, I worked through the issue of “do I believe this stuff just because my parents (who are pastors) shoved this down my throat, or is Jesus real and real for me?” God showed me a light at the end of this dark tunnel of doubt that wasn't a train coming head-on, but the light of his presence. I felt called to be an overseas missionary aged eleven and this has also shaped my story. After a year at BCNZ (now Laidlaw) in 1997, my wife and I served in Ecuador for eight years. Amongst other things, I set up and facilitated a “Theological Education by Extension programme” for a house church movement of over one hundred churches. Returning to New Zealand, I completed my MTh and took the opportunity to teach missiology/ intercultural studies when it came up in 2016.

Stimulus: You mentioned an MTh. What is the title of your thesis, and what is it about?

My thesis title was, “The Hospitality of God: A Trinitarian Missional Reading of Genesis 18:1-19.” Hospitality is more than inviting your friends around for dinner. This thesis is a Trinitarian missional reading of the encounter of hospitality between Abraham and YHWH in Genesis 18:1-19. It includes insights from contemporary biblical commentators, Jewish and Islamic readings, Christian hospitality writers, philosophers Emmanuel Lévinas and Jacques Derrida, missiologists, as well as the Trinity icon of Andrei Rublev and the Trinitarian theology of Jürgen Moltmann. It delivers significant missiological insights to those working alongside God in today’s religiously plural world. It suggests that Abrahamesque hospitality provides a paradigm of missional hospitality. It also suggests that missional hospitality is participation in the life and Mission of the Triune God.

Stimulus: Who are the significant others in your life?

Nigel: I have one wife (Richelle), two sons (Caleb – 21; Isaac – 19), a daughter-in-law (Jordan – 24) and a cat (Shadow – 5).

Stimulus: You mention that you are the husband of but one wife, what are Richelle’s ministry and other interests?

Nigel: Richelle trained as a social worker before we went into overseas mission. She has been involved in a number of things including working with prostitutes, Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and missionaries (the latter group are the most difficult to work with!). In her spare time, Richelle is completing a Master of Arts in Membercare through Redcliffe College in the UK. She enjoys hanging out with people and shopping. Caleb and Jordan are studying and working in Dunedin. Isaac is a barista in Auckland. Shadow likes to hunt rats and birds.

Stimulus: What other ministry experiences have you had other than Ecuador and being a Laidlaw faculty member?

Nigel: Following our missionary service in Ecuador, we returned to New Zealand in late 2006. Over the last ten years I was, until recently, Director for SIM (Serving in Mission), New Zealand, leading a team that mobilises, trains, sends and supports over seventy NZ intercultural missionaries around the world. I preach regularly in our local church “Cession” community.

Stimulus: What are your more significant Christian passions?

Nigel: I am passionate about helping people see where they fit in to the mission of God: here, there and everywhere, and empowering them to serve and thrive in that place where their deepest passion and the world's greatest need meet (to conflate Acts 1:8 and Frederick Buechner).[1] I enjoy reading theology and have a particular interest in missiology, hospitality, eschatology and Trinity. I love sung worship and lead, sing and play acoustic guitar.

Stimulus: You play guitar and sing? Who are some of your favourite musicians?

I have eclectic music tastes: U2, Toto, Jesus Culture, Adele, Steve Taylor, Dire Straits, Maná, Jesús Adrián Romero, anyone playing Grieg or Baroque music.

Stimulus: How did you come to be on the faculty of Laidlaw and what has been your role?

Nigel: Exiting from mission leadership during 2016, I took the opportunity to join the faculty part-time as Missions Enabler, combining my passion for teaching missiology/ intercultural studies courses with my relational network into the missions community to connect mission-minded students, mission agencies and Laidlaw.

Stimulus: Hearing your passion for mission and teaching it, I have heard some say that the age of Western missions is over? Some even seem to go as far as arguing we shouldn’t even have a set-aside mission curriculum. What would you say to this critique?

Nigel: There are now more Protestant believers in the majority world than in the West. That means that instead of mission from the “West to the rest” we now have polycentric mission – from anywhere to everywhere. Yet New Zealand still has a role to play. We still need to teach people to join God in what He is doing around the world, as well as to relate interculturally to the world that is coming to New Zealand in the form of migration. Missiology/ intercultural studies is an important component of study for everyone and the missiological lens is an important hermeneutic to understanding the Bible. With that in mind, we need to make sure we are listening to majority world voices, not just Western ones as we seek to read the scriptures.

Stimulus: Sadly, for Laidlaw, soon you are leaving. What are you planning to do?

Nigel: Richelle and I are heading to Colombia in August this year, where we will be engaging the Colombian church in sending missionaries, teaching missiology at a national seminary similar to Laidlaw and providing leadership and pastoral support to SIM leaders throughout the Americas. We have been asked by SIM to be the first SIM missionaries on the ground in a post-conflict Colombia as the church is asking for partnership in training and sending their people around the world in mission. In many ways, this is also time for Richelle to shine, with her taking a regional leadership role in our mission.

Stimulus: What are your dreams for the Church and for Laidlaw moving into the future?

Nigel: I would love to see the New Zealand church engaging more interculturally within the New Zealand context, with Laidlaw continuing to train students to understand how to do that. The new Level 5 Intercultural studies: Introduction course that I wrote and taught this year is part of that. If we can continue to help New Zealand believers and churches reflect theologically and listen to voices from the margins and from the majority world, not just from the US, I think we are playing a significant role in the shaping of the New Zealand church and society into the future.

Stimulus: How can people support you in your future ministry?

Nigel: To keep up-to-date with our happenings so that you can pray please:

like our Facebook page:

signup to our regular email:

To join our financial team

fill in the online form at

or, email Michelle at

[1] Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, Revised and Expanded Ed. (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 1993), 118–19.