After training as Salvation Army officers, the couple led two churches in Western Australia. A family tragedy (the murder of Christina's brother by a mentally unwell man) brought them back to New Zealand in 1999.
Christina and Keith have three children, aged 21, 19 and 13. Two were born in Pinjarra, Western Australia. The third was 'made in New Zealand'.
Within her vocational calling as a church leader, Christina explains that she has always had an equally strong (sometimes stronger) calling towards writing. After doing correspondence studies in topics including short stories, novel writing and non-fiction writing, in 2001 Christina signed up as to do a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications (by distance education) with Monash University in Melbourne, graduating in March 2007. Christina highly recommends Monash's journalism degree.
Since 2002, Christian has been working in Salvation Army publications and communications. Currently Christina is Communications Secretary for The Salvation Army in New Zealand, which involves editing their fortnightly magazine, and overseeing media relations, The Salvation Army's website (www.salvationarmy.org.nz) and social media presence. Christina says, "That perhaps sounds like a lot, but I have an excellent creative team of skilled writers and designers who do a lot of this work."
Written Christian communication
Christina says, "In terms of explaining my perspective on Christian communication, it's probably found within 1 Corinthians 14. Paul says that by speaking languages that others don't know, we only help ourselves (that is, we only help those already in the know). Far better, says Paul, to communicate more widely by prophesyâ€"speaking words inspired by the Holy Spirit that can cut to the heart.
"It's not exegetically correct (Paul is addressing communication within the church, not to those outside it), but this passage speaks to me about the obstacle 'church-speak' presents to new Christians and non-believers. 'If no one can understand what you are talking about, you will only be talking to the wind,' Paul argues, adding, 'I would rather speak five words than make sense than speak 10,000 words in a language that others don't know'."
Paul's solution? 'When we speak languages that others don't know, we should pray for the power to explain what we mean.' Jesus' example was to consider the needs, sensibilities and literacy of his various audiences, and then tailor his words to secure a hearing."
Christina continues, "When we consider how effectively Jesus used his words to serve others, surely we sense that he is calling us to do likewise? As Christian communicators, we ask God to use us to translate the Gospel into words and images people can easily understand. Even our best efforts will be flawed sometimes (we have this treasure in jars of clay, after all), but this is God's chosen strategy to communicate with people, so we can be confident it is workable.
"Of course, such 'translation' does take boldness and innovation – something that is evident in much of the writing of Christian Today's young writers programme."
Since 21 January this year, Christina has been one of seven Panellists who have awarded Points to the two young writer articles published each day in Christian Today – a pool of 50 young writers from Australia and New Zealand.
This Press Service International program, a ministry of Well-Being Australia, was developed in 2008 and this past year has included a number of International young writers.
The Basil Sellers Young Writers Awards – $1000 for the Australian Young Writer and $1000 for the New Zealand Young Writer will be presented on Thursday evening 5 September at the annual Young Writer mini-conference in Melbourne.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html