The Irish Mission has the privilege of having some amazing Pastors. Over the next couple of months, we will visit with a pastor each Tuesday to get to know them a little better. This week we visit with Ps Gideon Petersen, the newest pastor on the pastoral team. He joined us in January 2020 and is the pastor at the Coleraine and Derry/ Londonderry Churches in Northern Ireland.
Gideon is from Cape Town, South Africa. He grew up during the troublesome 1970’s and 1980’s; a time of riots, violence and school boycotts. He grew up in an Adventist home that had church, worship and service as core values. This environment nurtured his spiritual growth. As he explains: “My journey with Jesus started as a child. Listening to Bible stories and modern mission stories drew me into a relationship with Jesus. As a teenager, I saw the effects of sin on my community and made an early choice to seek to live a lifestyle based on love, kindness and peace. I saw the effects of a selfish life and chose a life of service to others. I saw this as being a child of God. I wanted this life – a life of giving to others. I wanted to imitate Jesus as I lived each day”
When asked who was the most influential person in your life, without hesitation Gideon’s response is “My Father, my life was spent learning at his feet what it means to be a servant of God.” His father was a lay preacher and Sabbath afternoons were spent in some form of ministry to others. This had a profound impact on the young Gideon. As he shared: “From the age of five or six I heard the call of God to be a missionary. I spent my growing years learning about missions and what it means to serve people. This was reinforced as I participated in activities to help others in my community as a child”. Service, for Gideon, is closely intertwined with ministry. He puts it like this, “serving people is my passion in ministry”. Asked what motivates him, and he replies: “Since my youth I used the motto: ‘the love of Christ constrains me.’ When I see the accomplishments of people like MK Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, I can say that it is possible for love to win.”
An important aspect of ministry is nurturing your own spiritual growth. For Gideon this includes listening to gifted preachers, lots of reading and serving others. Something he finds specifically valuable during his devotional time is solitude, especially in the early mornings.
Ministry is a reoccurring theme in Gideon’s life. At University he started an urban youth ministry. He took a gap year during his university career and spent time as a student missionary at Maluti Hospital in Lesotho and Riverside farm in Zambia. He married Pam in December 1993. After Gideon graduated, they moved to Namibia in 1995 and spent the next 17 years planting a Church among the OvaHimba. Following this they served as missionary consultants with Adventist Frontier Missions. In 2013, they were called to serve in Madagascar. Gideon is excited about ministry here in Northern Ireland. “Being new to Northern Ireland I am still learning how to live out my faith in this context. With lockdown interfering with this process, it may take a while longer to discover appropriate methods or ways of living as a Christian today in Northern Ireland, but I’m excited to be here.”
We are glad he is here and wish him God’s blessings on his ministry.
Song - Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Bible verse - "My nourishment is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish and completely finish His work." John 4:34 (Amplified version)
Author - Paul Hiebert
Gideon is currently:
Reading - An Introduction to the Science of Missions by JH Bavinck
Watching – TED talks on the brain and old Conferences on Church planting in Europe
Listening – John Lennox and an audio Bible