The vision and plan put on paper, connections made with many church leaders, as well as the writing of a new book on the Church’s mission by Dave Mann - Because we care, together with a series of concise Christian booklets, and drafts of a yet-to-be published series of apologetic booklets.
With the ‘Hope Project’ finding traction, the team was expanded with volunteers helping with administration, accounts, presenting, web, etc. and a first national tour took place to share the vision in person with ministers’ associations in 70 NZ cities and towns. 30 pastors linked in with the Next Step Project (now rebranded as ‘All Together Consulting)
Considerable communications with churches, including a roadshow tour to 70 NZ cities and towns, saw seed money raised to proceed with just the first of the three phases of the Hope Project. Project dates were delayed from Easter 2014 to October 2014 due to the slow pace at which the vision was caught. About 65 pastors continued to receive monthly ‘enCOURAGEment’ updates via the Next Step Project.
We employed an administration staff due to growing momentum of the Hope Project. The year started with 250 churches partnering with the Hope Project. There was a 2nd roadshow held in 70 NZ cities and towns. The year ended with 400 partnering churches, with the Christian message having gone to more than 1.4m NZ homes via booklets, with thousands of hits at websites, and 50,000 church members prepared by their pastors to engage conversations the media project was designed to initiate. There was seed money in the bank for Phases II & III.
Phase II of the Hope Project took shape quickly for the second national media effort in May. Dave Mann published a second book on outreach and church culture, to highlight identified issues related to the way NZ churches were approaching their public mission. Meetings with ministers’ associations took place throughout the country to highlight the final phase of the Hope Project in 2016, while showing pastors where to find free resources that supported strategies discussed throughout - purposed to help pastors bring about longer-term changes in the outreach thinking and efforts of their members.
The third and final envisaged Hope Project effort took place - connecting with over 2m Kiwis via TV, 1.4m households via booklets, and with a few hundred thousand visiting web media. A final report was produced. 50,000 church people were equipped by their church leaders (utilising provided vision and resources) to spiritual conversations in natural ways. A second illustrated NZ history series for NZ schools was released by Dave as a personal project. A first national outreach conference was initiated - in which 18 outreach organisations partnered together.
Discussions with 60+ city pastors' groups in 2015-2016 had revealed a gap in youth outreach equipping. With alternative options exhausted, we launched the Godtalk initiative. As a personal effort, Dave - with a team, launched an educational illustrated history series for schools about the Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi on Waitangi weekend. Aware of a continuing demise of Christian presence in the public square we traveled the entire nation, meeting pastors' groups in 60 cities and towns, while also presenting 2 seminars to youth leaders in each place, and providing an engaging and inspirational 2.15hr combined church 'kingdom-equipping' programme. Vision for more intentional Christian representation in the public square nationally and at a city-level was part of this. The purpose of city pastors' groups now intentionally entered strategic discussion for our cities and nation.
With a proposal for three national media efforts annually tabled in 2017, a the national Hope Project media effort began again at Easter. After traveling the entire nation 6 years running - connecting with 60 city pastors' groups each time, our team took a year off travel to focus on new innovation. The Godtalk youth initiative had reached 250 connected youth ministries by the start of the year - while still without funds of a first paid staff. Zara is volunteering to help strengthen this, while resources are developed. Tony Collis is working on new national innovation in the area of children's outreach. Dave Mann is writing a book purposed to encourage a broader understanding on the purpose and responsibility of pastors with regard to their city pastors' groups. A '10 day challenge' discipleship app was launched (searching 'why Jesus?' at the app store). The national Engage Conference continues to provide a unique platform for NZ outreach practitioners to be heard - so we learn from our own. Some unique additional support-resources for outreach are in development.
Without equipping many people with good hearts remain immobilised.
In a multimedia age materials must be of high quality because expectation are higher.
The Christian Church continues to be in decline in the West, and yet it has the most hopeful of all possible messages, and has been the greatest power for good in all of human history. The fact that there are more people alive than ever before increases the urgency of all efforts to help the Church achieve its faith-mission, while also serving the holistic wellbeing of individuals and our nation. Our Christian belief in the ever-imminent return of Jesus likewise adds even more urgency to the task.
“Things move at the speed of trust.” Trust takes years to develop, yet can be lost in a day. We must be beyond reproof in every detail, honouring God even where we know others will never see what we do, because we believe that God sees all, and will honours those who honour Him.
There is only one true Church on this planet — and all who love and follow Jesus are part of it. God wants unity in His Church, and is not a fan of the four-walled independent attitudes that come so easily to all humans in all spheres. Together we can do more. Together Jesus said we would be more blessed. Building, facilitating and modelling attitudes that will foster unity and partnership to enable united efforts (nationally and in cities/towns) is a core part of our work.
The communication of the Christian message unavoidable happens within a culture. Faith-beliefs often develop within people over time. It is our responsibility as Christian believers to understand our culture and how to most clearly and winsomely relate the hope-filled Christian message within it.
Innovation and belief that change is possible are foundational to what we are trying to do! It was in a context of saying how difficult it would be for the wealthy to be saved that Jesus said ‘all things are possible with God’.
As St Augustine so aptly put it, “Without God we cannot; without us God will not.”
Communication of the Christian hope is the primary responsibility given us by Jesus in the Great Commission. Once with us this hope transform us for the better – and we then transform the world around us. As the clearly-defined mission of the Christian Church we maintain that representing God’s message of love needs to be a central focus and consideration in all Church activities. A single touch from God to the heart can bring more positive change in persons life than many years of human encouragement and effort.
The ‘Shining Lights Trust’ was formed in May, 2012.
Founding board members were Dave Mann (Director), David Lee (retired pastor) and Darren Woodward (Think Marketing). In 2013 David Lee stood down due to family needs, and was replaced by Wesley Brinkman (Brinkman Consulting – software systems). With a need for an additional Board member, Pastor Alan Hood was elected to the Board in 2014.
In 2018 Angela Pedersen (Founder and MD of ‘Oh Baby’) joined the board.
The Shining Lights Trust received charitable status in October, 2012. Charitable Commission number: CC48320
Our trust deed can be viewed at the NZ Companies Register.
Our financial accounts can be viewed at the Companies Office or the Charities Commission. Accounts are audited annually.
Some of the 2014 Hope Project Team with just a few of the 1.45 million Phase 1 booklets that were delivered to homes in NZ. From left: Sharyn, Naomi, Dave, Beau and Heather.