The below projects exists to fill gaps in the Christian outreach of our nation, from a strategic point of view.
INVESTORS NEEDED: Elements in the below project areas are sometimes extensive. There is a need for significant investors to enable some areas of this work – many of which have a nation-wide effect within or through churches at some level. Please contact us for conversation.
Following the success of the Hope Project 2014 to 2020 it was decided to make the Easter efforts annual.
HeLP Project is inhibited for lack of funds – while 18 months of intentional preparation has been done creating web platforms, branding, marketing ideas, the initial survey, data to web integration and partnership.
This is our work with pastors across the nation, with a focus on encouraging and aiding their ability to equip and mobilise their members for healthy conversational engagement in our changing world. This has been fruitful. A growing range of unique support resources exist.
Find out more here.
CONTEXT: Church youth ministry in New Zealand is attending about 1/3 to 1/4 of what it was 25 years ago. Given that about 85% of those who come to faith do so before the age of 20, and the majority from non-church families in their teens, we saw a need for some innovation. We’re also aware that a large percentage drop out of church involvement in the 18 to 22yo age bracket (some suggest as many as 2/3).
WHAT IT IS: GOD-talk is the innovative solution – meeting a specific need, while being a compliment to the other (mostly denominational) youth ministry support that exists. Leadership equipping and videos with discussion guides for use with youth groups are free online, and have been widely used – achieving a few goals.
CURRENT STATUS: There are currently currently 450 key youth and youth leaders receiving the monthly updates. However, a lack of funding has left this initiative without its needed staff. Our hope would be one or two national staff – to connect with each new generation of youth leaders on an ongoing basis. Youth leaders change within every 2 years, on average. This level of national vision casting and networking could sustain some important things within Christian youth work that fall over otherwise. It remains our hope and prayer that this initiative is given its ‘full breath’ one day, and at that point set up as a charitable work on it’s own – separate from the Shining Lights Trust.
Find out more here.
There is a saying in church circles, “It takes people to reach people”. We suggest it also takes people to disciple people – and this resource supports those people! It can be found at the website here, downloaded as an app or accessed via the YouVersion Bible app (where the majority of its use now happens). It includes Faith Q&A, testimonies, 10 core (and brief) tutorials about the Christian faith with discussion/reflection questions – and more.
This very large international ‘outreach month’ movement is something we give profile to and help where we can, while being unable to make it a primary focus due to the balance of other things we do. Stuart Millar (Train to Proclaim, Brisbane) now facilities in the Australia-Pacific region.
Support resources created to help local pastors equip and lift their members in their outreach have been widely embraced and used right across New Zealand.
More than 100 resources were created the last half dozen years alone. A look through a topical area of AllTogether.co.nz will quickly reveal resources relevant to that area of leadership / work.
‘Engage’ is our brand for outreach equipping conferences for pastors, denominations, community ministries, ‘evangelists’, youth leaders and more. We ran national conference in 2016, 2017 and 2018 – while also running 8 to 10 regional conferences at least 4 times while on national trips to connect with city/town pastors’ groups.
A goal has been to put Kiwi outreaching practitioners on the stage. We’ve also intentionally sought to give profile by various means to about 30 outreach-related organisations that support churches invidious ways.
Most recently, in 2021, we ran 9 regional Engage Conferences (NZ has 14 regions) – hosted by churches together in those provinces.
This is a significant and strategic area, and often overlooked – to our detriment as the Christian church. The SLT therefore advocate for INTENTIONALITY being restored to this area within church communities. For example, two key questions in our society are:
Stories – when heard, affect perspectives! Those public perspectives are the starting point of the ‘God conversation’. This is important. Our efforts are to restore knowledge, and to encourage a broad movement in which leaders with insight become INTENTIONAL to equip all with knowledge, to empower and enable their public engagement.
Much of our work in this space is based at our pastors’ group convenors webpage: https://alltogether.co.nz/pastorsgroups/
This has become an increasingly core part of our work. We network with pastors’ groups – while never positioning ourselves as if we had any authority. A primary area of work has been around articulating boundaries and dynamics that enable health (to help pastors groups find the kind of DNA that enables health in their mission and purpose), while facilitating communication lines that enable the initiatives of many to have breath in various places. It has been very fruitful.
Our various national ‘hands on’ initiatives have positioned us to engage conversations in this space – because our work doesn’t work if we’re not highly networked and present to engage.
In 2019 Dave wrote “In One Spirit” (Book) to feed this conversation, This was gifted to pastors who turned up to their city or town pastors’ group across the nation in that year. A final two chapters were added in 2022.
Various articles are written each year, based out of conversations, observations and experiences in working with pastors groups, and in things that require unity across the motu.
A ‘Pastors’ Group Convernors’ quarterly update was started in 2022 – replacing an annual update sent for a few years prior. This enables communication lines that we identified not to exist otherwise, and has been greatly appreciated.
Travel to connect with city pastors’ groups has been a big part of our work, and extensive. We travelled the nation 8 times in our first 12 years, connecting with between 45 and 80 city or town pastors’ groups each trip.
So the strategic synergy is noted, the GOD-talk initiative feeds this same vision for ‘unity’ – but amongst youth leaders. There is purpose and benefit to this happening. This area of our work remains stunted for a lack of funding.
From 2021 onwards partnerships with RightNow Media and the YouVersion Bible app have been fruitful. Various resources uploaded are finding larger audiences overseas than within NZ, including through Christian TV in various places. There is no financial return for any of this – but makes good sense for current resources to be widely used i their season.
Our focus remains innovation in and for New Zealand – viewing this wider use of resources as a bonus.
Started in 2011, a large effort was given to the completion of this remarkably short resource – that represents significant research. The 7 video – 7 booklet – 7 discussion guide series discusses what it’s title says it does, in language suiting non-church audiences, while targeting church audiences as its starting point.
Free online via international partners, the international audiences are expected to be extensive.
A starting focus in New Zealand is the leveraging of this for a wider discussion on how we might lessen the attrition (loss) of young adults from NZ churches – noting that about 2/3 leave in the 18 to 22 year old age bracket.
The resource is unique in a number of ways, and represents our largest resource development project to date. It is ‘true to mission’ for our trust in that it is targeted to ‘fill’ an identified ‘gap’ in the outreaching efforts of the NZ Church as a whole.
The larger vision is a revitalising of talk about reasons for faith at all levels of local church life and public engagement/witness.
Released for early viewing in May 2023, the full resource can be viewed online at WhyChristiansBelieve.nz