Support Update

Ever so slowly we are inching closer to our financial support goal. Overall the process of raising support for Wellington Evangelical has been a great encouragement and a real insight into the deep partnership we share with many people in planting a new church to reach new people for Jesus. It is great to talk with people and see them to get excited about what this church might do in Wellington.

So how much do we need?

You might be wondering how much are we actually aiming for… and that’s a great question. For the first year we need $105,000  to make Wellington Evangelical happen. That is the budget for the church (not our salary!). And to me that sounds like a lot! So where does all that money go?

Salary & allowances 50,000
Housing allowance 25,000
Startup costs 19,000
Administration 6,000
Advertising & Mission 5,000
TOTAL (NZD) 105,000

So where are we up to?

As of today we are at 65% of our target. We are stoked to have 24 Families, 3 Kiwi Churches and 3 Aussies Churches come to the party to help make it all happen. Amongst them are Uni students, retirees, core group members, young workers, farmers, families, ministers, Bible college students, family friends, church planters and even some random strangers. But being at 65% means that we still have 35% of the way to go!

Unlike some networks and denominations, there is no ‘fairy godmother’ who is going to kick in the rest (but if you know of one, send them in our direction!). There is no ‘safety net’ that will catch us if we don’t get all the support we need. So…

Can you help us plant this new church in Wellington?

You can really make a difference helping us get off the ground in the first 3 years. If we break down what we need to reach 100% it is 40 new supporters giving the following:

Number of people Giving amount Giving frequency
5 $50 weekly
10 $20 weekly
10 $50 monthly
15 $20 monthly

But maybe you are one of those ‘buy a goat’ kind of people and you’d like to be able to attach an object to your support? Could you buy one of these ‘goats’ for Wellington Evangelical Church?

  • A chair (20 chairs at $75 a chair)Goat
  • Music stands ($100)
  • A visiting preacher from Auckland or Christchurch for a Sunday (6 Sundays a year at $100 a day)
  • Preaching fellowship in Christchurch (8 Fridays at $100 day)
  • Conference in Australia (2 Conferences at $600 per trip)
  • Bibles for church ($1,000)
  • Sunday School Supplies ($2,500)
  • A photocopier and supplies for a year ($5,000)
  • A shipping container… that is moving us to NZ ($8,000)

You can do something now.

If you are even remotely in a position to support Wellington Evangelical, or even if you want to talk about the possibility, please fill in this form:

If you are in a position to give now, please use the details on our support page. It would also be really helpful if you could let us know so we can track our progress.

If you want to come to our supporters night on Saturday 5th April in the North Shore of Sydney, please let us know through the contact page.

Grace & peace,

The Southertons

Where we are up to? #4

Part-time Work

One of the things that we have been praying is for is some part-time work for Andrew to pay the bills before we move across to Wellington. We are really thankful that he’s picked up some research work with a church planting network doing a study into the survivability of church plants! Kind of helpful given what we will be doing!

It also happens that this organisation shares and office with a city based outreach ministry that he was hoping to observe too. It feels like we are hitting about 8 birds with this one stone. Give thanks for this provision and pray that Andrew will be able to work hard while still progressing Wellington Evangelical Church plans.

Skype Prayer MeetingSkype

Last week we were able to have another Skype prayer meeting with a few of the core team (and extras!) who are already on the ground in Wellington. It was great to hear them praying for this church plant with as much urgency and ownership as we have been praying for the last year. We give God great thanks for them and their prayers for the church and for us as a family.

Housing almost sorted

Moving to Wellington is a ‘boots and all’ experience for us. We are coming across with a long-term commitment to the city and have no real plans to return. To communicate that to ourselves and to others we are in the process of buying a place to live. We feel this will give us the stability we need to make this a long-term move and it will give us the discretion to choose a place that is really well suited to the church plant. The process of finding and securing the right place has been long and stressful but we are close to having all the contracts sorted. Praise God!

Link Church Visits and Supporters NightScreen Shot 2014-02-20 at 2.49.57 pm

A few weeks ago Andrew visited a link church in Queensland – Mackay Evangelical Church). In the next few weeks we will be visiting a number of other support churches (All Saints Petersham and Rouse Hill Anglican) and will be hosting another supporters night on the North Shore of Sydney. Please contact us if you are in Sydney and would like to attend the supporters night or come along as we visit one of our link churches. Or you can RSVP for the supporters night here.

March Visit

Andrew will have the chance to make one last visit at the end of March. He will be in Wellington from Friday 28 to Saturday 29th March. On Sunday 30th he will make a visit to Auckland Ev and then will head down to Christchurch to preach at Cornerstone Campus Church. If you want to catch up, let us know so we can fit you in.

Support Raising Update

So far we have raised or had committed 60% of our financial support for 2014. This is great news and we feel blessed that people are partnering with us to plant this church. If you intend or are thinking about supporting Wellington Evangelical, it would be great if you could let us know as soon as possible because… it is roughly 12 weeks til we get on the plane to Wellington.


We are well overdue for an update but there has been plenty happening.

Multiply Conference

In December the Geneva Push (a church planting network) held their annual conference here in Sydney. It was great that two from the launch team in Wellington were able to come across to the conference and get a peek ‘under-the-hood’ of church planting. It seems like at a church planting conference there are inner city hipsters, country folk and Kiwis. It was great to catch-up with Kiwi brothers and sisters who see the need for church planting as well as hearing from Ed Stetzer and Andrew Heard.

photo 2 photo 1

Shona and Matt were treated to some typically warm Sydney weather and were able to chat about Wellington with some Aussies who are considering a move across the ditch. So far it is great to have two people from St Luke’s planning on coming with us this year and another two thinking about it for 2015.

Beach walk


Sadly (not really) my attendance at the conference was curtailed by the arrival of a special little guy. Our launch team grew by one when Finn Theodore Southerton was born on Wednesday 4th December. He’s a great addition to our family and much loved by his brother and sister. Everything has been pretty smooth so far and we are praying that he keeps up with the chilled out and uncomplicated kid that he seems to be.

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Finishing at St Luke’s

After the Christmas rush and some farewells, we finished up at our current church at St Luke’s. It has been a great church to serve at and grow in. We are blessed to be finishing with the support of the church and we are excited to continue to be partnering with them as the will be one of our link churches.

St Lukes farewell

Many of the families of St Luke’s have generously donated toys to help get the crèche of Wellington Evangelical up and running. Over the next few months (when we aren’t visiting other link churches) we will continue to attend Miranda North Community Church which is a congregation of St Luke’s Miranda.

Link churches and support raising

At the moment we are about 55% of the way to raise the support we need for our first year. We are very interested in talking to churches and individuals who might be willing and able to partner with us in this missionary work in Wellington. Our support has taken a significant hit with the rise of the Kiwi dollar against the Aussie dollar. If you are in a position to partner with us financially or even want to talk more about the support situation, please contact us.

We are planning on running a supporters evening on the North Side of Sydney sometime in March or early April. That will be a great chance to ask questions and get to know more about Wellington Evangelical.

Planning & praying

So at the moment we are doing a lot of planning and praying. I’m undergoing a little bit of ‘training’ by getting up to speed on church planting as well as refining the plans and strategies for a church plant in Wellington. This is going to look like a fair bit of reading, coffees with church planters, conferences and asking lots of questions to anyone who might be able to impart their wisdom.


Along side this is the family admin involved. We have moved out of our church house with 90% of our stuff going into storage ahead of being shipped across in a few months. I am planning another Wellington trip for some time in March or early April.

It would be great if you could join us in praying for Wellington and the church plant. Here are some things to be praying:

  • Pray that many in Wellington will come to know Jesus.
  • Pray that God will use this church (and many others) to make Jesus known for his glory alone.
  • Pray that the support needed will be raised.
  • Pray that God will look after our family through a busy time of transition.
  • Give thanks for the temporary accommodation we have at the moment and that it is working out so well.
  • Ask God to raise up more people to help make Wellington Evangelical happen.

Recap: Wellington, Christchurch and Supporters Night

A lot of great stuff has happened recently in the world of Wellington Evangelical Church.


A few weeks back we managed to squeeze in a trip to Wellington (sans offspring). When the plane failed to land at only 20m off the runway due to strong winds, we were glad that we didn’t have the kids for the 2hr diversion to Christchurch to refuel and try again.


Once safely on the ground in Wellington we had another busy day meeting with an interested family (M & J) and those looking to be part of a launch team (S, K, F, J & A). It was Adele’s first chance to meet many of them and we spent much of the evening getting to know each other, reading the Bible, praying and talking about how we might share Jesus with Wellington. In between the two meet-ups we managed to do some scoping out of where we might be living. Fun times!

We are really excited about the group that God is gathering to help launch the church. In particular we are really thankful for the family that has put their hand up to help out (Yay for some friends for our kids!) and we are praying that there might be a few more families who are keen.


Early on Sunday morning we had the opportunity to head down to Christchurch to visit two churches that are supporting the church plant in Wellington. It was great to meet many people who have known about the needs in Wellington and have been praying for more churches like Wellington Evangelical. Many people that we met had been praying for something like this for over a decade and it was humbling to think that we might be involved in God’s answer to their prayers.


We met a few students in CHCH who are moving to Wellington for work in 2014. It was great to chat with them about life in Wellington and how they can partner with us in church planting.

Supporters Night

On the Monday we flew back to Sydney and headed straight to the Wellington Evangelical Supporters and Info Night at St Luke’s Miranda. It was great to share with over 50 friends from Miranda the needs and opportunities in Wellington. For many it was their first glimpse of the gospel needs outside their suburb, city and country and a chance to see a bigger picture of what God is doing in the world.

Supporters Night

So far we are about 50% of the way to our financial target to get things going and have been blessed with over 50 partners in prayer. The plans for the ‘shape’ of church next year are beginning to form as well as the plans of some to come across to serve with us.

Sadly this is most likely our last visit until we move across in April 2014 but we have plenty to keep us busy in the meantime. It is under 3 weeks til the baby boy is due to come, we have to pack up and move house at least twice, we are looking forward to reconnecting with siblings serving as missionaries in South Sudan, then there is Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, holidays and some more training to get under our belts!

If you’ve been leaving you run til later to let us know if or how you will support Wellington Evangelical, we’d love to hear from you soon. Drop us a message here.

Wellington and Christchurch Visit

We thought we’d put the shout out to those in Wellington and Christchurch who would like to know more about what we are doing with Wellington Evangelical Church.

On 18-19 October we will be making a flying visit to Wellington where we will be meeting with some of the keen beans who are thinking about getting on board with Wellington Evangelical. We’d love to meet some more people, so contacts us and we will see if there is a time to get together.



On Sunday 20 October we will be heading down to Christchurch to share with a few churches our plans for Wellington. So if you are in CHCH and are free on Sunday morning – come along to St John’s Latimer Square which meets at Mairehau High School (440 Hills Road) for the 10am service. Or if you are free in the evening – come along to Cornerstone Campus Church which meets at the UCSA Events Centre (The Foundry) at 7pm. It would be great to meet a bunch of people who are keen find out more, support and partner with Wellington Evangelical.

We will try and put out a more fulsome update soon.

Supporters & Information Night

Clear the decks!

On 21st October we will be hosting a supporters and information night in Sydney. ‘Who should come along to such a night?’ We’ll I am glad you allowed me to ask that question for you! The following people should come along:

  • People interested in coming to Wellington to help plant the church
  • People who are related to people coming to Wellington to help plant the church
  • Kiwi Christians who are enjoying the blessings of living in the ‘lucky country’ and who want to see more churches planted back home
  • People who are interested in finding out more about what we will be doing in Wellington
  • People who are generously considering financially supporting the church plant
  • People who are kindly praying for us, the church plant and Wellington
  • People who have finished watching Breaking Bad and are yet to become addicted to Homeland Season 3
  • People who have questions about what we are doing and why
  • People who want to partner with us but are unsure exactly how to do it
  • People who like us and don’t want to see us unemployed and living in a ditch
  • Anyone else who is not mentioned above

So what are the details?1233574_10151865160424578_209710782_n

Where: St Luke’s Miranda (Fellowship Centre) which is on the corner of The Kingsway & Jackson Ave in Miranda. See Google Maps.

When: 7:30 – 9:00pm on Monday 21st October

What will we be doing?

On the night there will be a chance to find out more, to ask questions, to pray and to respond with how you can partner with us. This will all be accompanied by some live music, a light supper and some real live Kiwis (the people not the birds) to meet and talk to.


It would be great if you could let us know if you are coming, you can RSVP via Facebook or the contact form.

Why you should consider coming to Wellington.

For those of you happily living and working in Wellington, stay right where you are. Don’t go anywhere!

For the rest, “Wellington is the region of choice for imaginative people. If you are stimulated by fresh ideas, you’ll find Wellington totally inspiring. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, compact and safe, it offers all the benefits of a much bigger region with few of the hassles. Welcome to the best little capital region in the world.”

If that sounds like an ad, well, that’s because it is. I borrowed it from iam.QQSGJU.ohere.

So if you are an ‘imaginative person’ or if you are ‘stimulated by fresh ideas’ or even if you are neither, here are a bunch of reasons (in no particular order) why we’d love to see you move with us to Wellington. And while you’re over here you can join us in starting a new church that loves Jesus and loves Wellington!

The Ease

I know that deep down we can all be a little lazy, so if you are an Australian, moving to, getting a job or studying in Wellington is very easy. At the very least all you need is a plane or boat ticket (but boats aren’t Passport-Generic-420x0very popular in Aus at the moment) and a passport. No visas, no work permits, no permanent residency, just you and your passport.

Once you arrive you can apply for jobs, find a place to live, do some study and you can even spend all your 20c pieces without a trouble in the world!

You are automatically entitled to their equivalent of Medicare (I don’t even think you need to register but don’t quote me when you turn up to the hospital) and I heard a rumour that Aussie students are charged domestic (Kiwi) rates to do uni courses in NZ.

Also, if you are a student at ANU or Macquarie Uni, you can come across to Victoria University on exchange. How is that for easy!

The Culture

Another big reason people head to Wellington is the culture. Museums, Gollumgalleries, theaters, films, live music and art, you will find them all in Wellington. And because you will find these things in Wellington, you will often find the people who do these things in Wellington too.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a bunch of Christians living in Wellington who were engaged with the culture and sought to point people to the God who created these great things?

The Coffee

If you are someone who doesn’t get started without your double ristretto or your strong flat-white or your picollo, Wellington is the place for you. It is home to some of the best coffee, not only in NZ, but the world. You could begin your day with a trip to Flight Coffee and have you coffee made on a Slayer by the third best barista in the world. After a short walk you could pick up some beans from Coffee Supreme so that you’ll be able to get your coffee fix at home. Later in the afternoon you could wander down to Memphis Belle for your afternoon pick-me-up. In my opinion, these are the best of the best and there are many more cafes to explore. So if you’re wondering, Wellington has your coffee addiction covered.


The Need

If I had a dollar for every time someone tried to convince me of the gospel needs in the part of the world that they are going to, I wouldn’t need to do any support raising for our church plant! For some, less that 8% of the population being evangelical Christians = a desert!

That said, I am genuinely convinced that there is no city in Australia or New Zealand that has a greater need (both statistical and strategic) for a strong and faithful gospel witness than Wellington. And this is a conviction that is shared and reinforced by the ministers I have talked to in Wellington and throughout NZ. To describe the situation they use words like ‘desert’ and ‘grave-yard’ and ‘a real need’ and ‘bleak’.

There are some great churches in Wellington (those who have invited us across are some of them) but there needs to be many more. The need is real and if you are compelled by it, please consider joining us in the task of sharing the gospel with this cool little city.


The Opportunity

How many times in life are you given the change to be part of something new? To get in on the ground floor and help begin something that will hopefully do great things for God’s Kingdom?

Coming to Wellington to help us plant a new church will give you that opportunity. Don’t come out of bitterness of previous experiences, don’t come to run away from something difficult, don’t come to make a name for yourself, but come to serve in something new that will hold out the message of hope and new life in Jesus.

Now I know there is a lot of great work to be done in reforming existing churches but for us we have the chance to begin something new. This isn’t a way to escape the problems that might be presented by existing churches because church planting will bring its own raft of different challenges. To really reach the city we need to be both reforming churches by the gospel and planting new churches shaped by the gospel.

So that’s why you should consider coming to Wellington. Now it is up to you to work out ‘Why not?’