Introducing our keynote speakers for the Abbey 2017 – Duane Major, founder of 24/7 Youth Work and overseer of youth ministry at Spreydon Baptist (now South-West Baptist) and Kirstin Cant, Youth Mobiliser for the NZ Church Missionary Society.
Duane is a believer! A believer in God and in God’s power to bring transformation to schools and communities. He describes himself as an ordinary man who loves to involve other ordinary people in acts of transformation. “Positive people power,” he says. “I love it!”
Duane hit the headlines last year when he co-led the Awaroa Beach crowdfunding campaign that saw $2.8 million raised through public donations to purchase a privately owned part of the Abel Tasman National Park. It was then gifted to the Department of Conversation for the enjoyment of the public. “Ordinary people did something extraordinary,” claims Duane. “And I got to surf a surge of humanity.” Epic. For Duane that was a win for the environment and the care of creation mandate that is pivotal to his faith.
Duane is from South-West Baptist Church (formerly Spreydon Baptist) where he is on the leadership team with oversight of youth. Previously he spent seven years there as a volunteer youth leader before becoming the Youth Pastor for the following ten years.
Duane wants every child in his community to succeed. “No child doomed to misfortune” he quotes from Isaiah 65:23. This drives Duane, through voluntarism, to be actively involved in school boards, rugby clubs and several community initiatives.
Duane’s unwavering hope in God led him to believe that his local High School would welcome Christian youth workers to come in and bless the school in whatever way the school needed them to. It happened. Another school signed up. Then another. Now the majority of schools in Christchurch, and a rapidly growing number throughout New Zealand have adopted this initiative known as 24/7 Youth Work.
Duane is married to Ruth and they have two boys and two girls aged eight to thirteen years. He loves sport (back in the 90’s he represented Canada at the Rugby World Cup). He loves education, food, sweating, staying fit, a good chat, adventure and life.
Duane is fired up to share his unwavering hope in a God of transformation at The Abbey 2017 through two keynote addresses, two workshops, and just hanging out. “Don’t bother finding me a nice room,” he said, “I’ll never be in it! Can’t wait to hang out with you all.”
Kirstin Cant is not afraid of telling it like it is. And sometimes it’s pretty crap. Sometimes it’s marvellous. Often it’s mundane. And that’s just the coffee.
A Dunedin-girl who lives in Auckland, Kirstin is sometimes wavering, repeatedly un-hopeful, but committed to living with God in the tensions and questions.
Kirstin’s role as the Youth Mobiliser for the Church Missionary Society sees her journeying with young people who, like her, are seeking to make God’s mission central to their walk with Jesus.
She’s been formed through her family’s whakapono, undone by God’s loving faithfulness, shaped by walking with young people, challenged by delving into theological study, schooled by the slums of India, broken by the Church, wrecked by the darker sides of life, inspired by God’s redeeming genius, and is accompanied by her hubby Rowan – the guy who’s a brilliant creative from building, to crochet, to working with young offenders for Oranga Tamariki.
Kirstin and Rowan are part of the Anglican Parish of Hillsborough and they have recently joined a missional community, Urban Vision, in Roskill South.
When she’s not figuring out how best to encourage young people to join in on God’s mission, you’ll find Kirstin whipping up a gluten-free feast, winning at board games, and alongside Rowan repurposing discarded stuff into cool ideas, furniture, clothes and instruments.