My Journey to here
Pastor Sheridyn Rodgers
Pastor Sheridyn Rodgers is the Senior Minister of Activate Church and the Chairman of The Activate Faith Community Trust. He is recognised as holding the office of Apostle on our FiveFold team. As such he helps to prepare and encourage the church to do God's work as we all grow in unity and maturity as disciples of Christ.
My Journey to Here
Pastor Sheridyn Rodgers
From early on I think I always had a desire to do something that I perceived to be ‘directly for God’. I remember as a young boy being asked by my Aunty what I wanted to do with my life. I answered her, “I want to be a missionary flying aeroplanes”. She scoffed and told me to get a real job! I guess her comments didn’t affect me as here I am, and even now I’m often teased that being a Minister isn’t a real job 😁😜. The older I get, the more I appreciate how great my upbringing was, and in many ways quite privileged. We certainly never lacked anything and had many great experiences. My Dad was an incredibly hard worker and I may have inherited some of that.
I was baptised at thirteen and was determined to pursue God through my teenage years, until I started an apprenticeship and entered a ‘colourful’ work environment. In doing so I became a bit distanced from my Christian friends and started kicking around with people I thought I could influence for the better. I soon found out I wasn’t as strong in my faith as I thought I was, and before I knew it, I was in a crazy ‘run away from God’ lifestyle for a few years.
By God’s grace I survived a very serious industrial accident resulting in burns to 50% of my body with 30% of the body having 3rd degree burns (a story for another day), and this was the catalyst to get my life heading back in the right direction. I recommitted my life to Christ and have done my best to follow Him ever since.
When Jan and I were married in Christchurch, I was keen to get involved in business and had some lofty goals and aspirations. However, I did have a slight ‘inkling’ that God may have had a different plan for our lives than what we were working towards. We were in church one Sunday and a guest speaker called us out with a prophetic word that God was calling us to full-time Church ministry. Jan’s response was hilarious, she said, “He’s got the wrong wife”! (Anyone who knows Jan will clearly see she was wrong - there is no way I could have done this God journey solo, she is exceptional). But that prophetic word was the start of a period where every guest speaker seemed to call me out and prophesy something, it felt like I had a target on my forehead.
With this continuous stream of prophetic words inviting us to head in God’s direction, we decided that we had better take some action, so we packed up and went to Bible College. I like to tell people that I had a wonderful time and that Jan worked really hard 😁. That is the truth, but I was also wrestling with God for that whole year until I eventually came to a place of faith and agreement that His plan was better than mine, and I (we) fully committed to it. At the end of the day. I realised that while my plans were about potential, there were no guarantees. God’s plan, though it required obedience and no matter what it ended up looking like, was an eternal certainty.
We returned to Christchurch and went about life whilst serving in church to the best of our passions and abilities, growing all the time. We loved to serve and did whatever was asked of us. Between Jan and myself I think we’ve served in every area of church life, from cleaning the bathrooms to processing the financials.
A few years in, I found myself in a precarious position. I was the church’s Creative Director, Youth Pastor and Elder. I was also the Business Manager for the bible college and lectured in a couple of classes. Outside in the ‘real world’ I had started an automotive supply business and we had just welcomed the arrival of our first son. Yes, you’re right - totally unsustainable. I had some decisions to make… which meant selling our business and dropping by a two day-a-week income, believing in faith that God would somehow work our ‘yes’ into something a little more manageable.
It was during this period that Jan and I positioned ourselves to respond to God with a ‘Yes’. We’d always do our best to say “yes” to Him on every occasion, even before we knew what we were actually saying “yes” to. I believe this is a real key that has allowed God to use our lives.
Before long, and through a series of supernatural circumstances and tests, I suddenly found myself leading City Church Christchurch which had been our church home for over ten years (another amazing story for another day). I led the best I knew how and was on a huge growth curve. We had some great times and some of the toughest times of my life. Leadership roles can be both exciting and devastating for young leaders (please remember this while we try to develop and release our young Activate leaders).
We led City Church for six years and things were progressing well. I was maturing in my role, the church was growing and our young family (now two sons) were flourishing in a chaotic and noisy season. It was challenging and great. Then… all of the vision I was carrying for the church in Christchurch just turned off ‘overnight’. It was terrifying as I can normally see where we are heading and suddenly - nothing. At first I wondered if I’d done something wrong, but soon after we were invited to move to Hamilton and take the leadership of this church - what was then called Eastside. In hindsight, it was clearly God’s way of preparing us for the upcoming move. It all happened very quickly and within weeks we were back in our hometown of Hamilton.
Later this year we will celebrate being here for 15 years, and we’ve done our best to keep saying ‘yes’ to Jesus, to develop teams of wonderful people and keep heading towards the vision God has given us for Activate. All that brings me to now - probably the most exciting, yet scary, season so far. God has led us to say “yes” to some fairly audacious plans for which there is no turning back. There have been some incredibly difficult challenges in our wider group over the past couple of years - but we are now seeing some wonderful things taking shape.
My journey to here was by saying “yes” to God, working diligently, not giving up, and the encouragement of both God and peers. The ‘Apostolic’ call on my life was recognised by others (all ascension ministries are recognised by others - never self-appointed). An Apostle's call is to leading and developing Kingdom initiatives locally, nationally and globally. For me this looks like serving on Acts New Zealand National Leadership Team, leading our local Churches, overseeing a number of Churches throughout our nation and abroad, serving on many charitable boards and working with other global initiatives.
And I’m going to be a grandfather this year - twice! Two little girls are on their way... I think this may well be my most influential season yet.
Keep saying “yes” to Jesus… who knows where He’ll lead you.