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.

Progress

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.

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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

Finn

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.

Passport

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.

Where we are up to? #3

Planning, pastors, pre-schools, preaching and an earthquake

These are some of the things that happened when I was in NZ last weekend. It was a whirlwind trip and was exhausting but at the same time it was incredibly productive and blessed by God.

Planning – Wellington Bible Forum

As the weeks roll on our plans begin to take shape as we meet and get to know the people God is gathering to be part of this new church. As well as planting a new church that loves Jesus and loves Wellington, we are planning a ministry to workers in the CBD of Wellington. This will most likely take a similar shape to the City Bible Forums that have appeared throughout the CBDs of Australia.

Wellington CBD is home to about 1 in 4 workers in greater Wellington. We see this as a great opportunity to share the gospel with them and help engage them with the Word of God. From my time in Wellington so far and my chats with the folks I know over there, this is a new opportunity for the city.

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We don’t want to plant a church that is just ‘newer’ or ‘cooler’ than the others and so simply attracts Christians from other churches rather than reaching new people. (If you’ve met me, you know it won’t be cooler!) Wellington Bible Forum will hopefully give us a sphere in which to engage the city with the gospel so that we can actually reach new people.

On the planning front, I had the chance to meet with two separate families who are looking to find a new place to serve and grow as Christians. I shared with them our plans for Wellington Evangelical and gave them a chance to ask their questions about what this new church will be like.

Island_Bay_Welcome_SignThe highlight of the trip was gathering together 7 locals who are thinking about joining the launch team. Because of the earthquake there was some speedy Facebook messaging to make sure everyone was ok and to reorganise our location to somewhere a little less risky. We gathered in the share-house of one of the team in Island Bay. It really was a joy to gather with a bunch of people who hadn’t met each other before and to eat, talk, read the Bible and pray as we long for God to be drawing people to himself in Wellington. For those who were praying for this meeting, your prayers were answered!

Pastors

While in Wellington and Auckland I had the chance to meet a number of pastors of established churches who see and understand the needs of the city. It was great to listen to them and pray with them about their ministries. It was also a real blessing to have our plans graciously affirmed and supported by them. We are really thankful for the partnership in the gospel we are going to be able to share with a bunch of churches in Wellington in particular.

Pre-schools

Something we have learnt so far is that pre-school in NZ is seriously complicated. One of the great things is that the government provides every kid with 20 hours each week of free early childhood education. The difficult thing is navigating the myriad of pre-school, childcare, day-care, kindergarten, play centre and playgroup options. All of which are different and vary from a few hours of unstructured play all the way through to something that essentially resembles the 9-3 of big school.

Preaching

Again I was given the opportunity to preach at Auckland Ev and to share with them where our plans are up to. It was great to see some people we had met on our first visit and talk some more about what is going on in Wellington.

The passage I was given to preach on was Romans 2:1-3:20 which is pretty heavy hitting. It essentially says that we all sin, there are no favourites, so we all need to hear the gospel. Not only was I struck by my own sin and need for a saviour, but I was reminded about the need for the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation for everyone, to be shared everywhere – Wellington included!

Earthquake

At 2:31pm on Friday I was driving past the University on Kelburn Parade when my car started shaking and I heard glass breaking. I assumed that someone had crashed into me so I pulled over. But the shaking kept going and there were no other cars to be seen. When I saw people crouching on the ground I realised that I had just experienced my first earthquake. It was a 6.6, which was bigger than the one in July.

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As an Aussie who was alone in the city, it felt like a bit of a novelty, a free rollercoaster without leaving the ground. But it soon dawned on me that for the local who has family and friends spread across the city, it would have been a horrifying experience and then an anxious wait to hear from those you love that they are ok. And then there were the memories of Christchurch and how bad it can be.

Please keep praying for Christchurch and those who still live with the effects of the earthquake. And while you are praying, please pray for Wellington Evangelical as God brings things together for this new church. Pray that God will use it to draw people to himself.

Where we are up to? #2

Apologies that this update has been a long time coming… when it rains, it pours (let the reader understand)!

A few weeks ago (the last week in June) we took a reconnaissance trip to Wellington in preparation to plant a new church that loves Jesus and loves Wellington. The trip was exhausting yet incredibly productive. A few of the things we did whilst in Wellington were:

  • Meet up with a bunch of wonderful people who are interested in being part of the launch team
  • Scope out neighbourhoods to live
  • Started organising some of the logistics of moving
  • Spent time with friends already in Wellington
  • Looked around and asked questions to get to know the city and its gospel needs & opportunities

AucklandEvAnother key part of the trip was a visit to Auckland Ev Church which was planted only 18 months ago and has grown steadily with more than a few coming to know Jesus. It was a great example of the impact that clear, Jesus-focused and Bible-based preaching can have in growing God’s Kingdom. Andrew had the opportunity to preach at Auckland Ev and 15 people joined us for lunch to find out more about Wellington Evangelical Church and how they can be supporting us.

IMG_0262For those who have been praying for us, thankyou! God was faithful in upholding us and giving us (and our kids) the energy to work hard with the short amount of time we had.

We are also starting to get to crunch time where the goodwill and support of many is going to need to translate into concrete financial pledges and faithful prayers for us and the church plant. If you wish to support us, please let us know so we can be continue to work towards a church that loves Jesus and loves Wellington.

Reconnaissance

Adele has gone over to Wellington with two kids (one in the belly and one on the lap) as an advance party and the boys will be flying across tomorrow to join them. It is a bit of a reconnaissance trip. We’re looking at places to live, meeting people to serve, doing logistics stuff we need to do and catching up with friends. We also hope to reaquaint ourselves with the sun which seems to have been missing for almost a week now.

So if you’re in town (Wellington Town that is) and you want to find out a bit more about us, fill in a contact form and we will try and arrange a time to meet up.

ImageAlso, we will be visiting Auckland Ev on Sunday where Andrew will be preaching on Deuteronomy 9 – Promise not Pride. While there we will be looking to meet folks who are keen to either PRAY for us and Wellington, GIVE to help us get off the ground, COME along to Wellington to be part of the launch team or CONNECT us with people they know in Wellington. So if you are in Auckland (or fancy a trip up there this weekend) come along and it will be great to open God’s word with you and meet you as we prepare to plant a new church that loves Jesus and loves Wellington.

Where are we up to? #1

For those of you who are interested, here is a bit of an update of where we are up to:

Planning a trip

We will be making a trip across to New Zealand in the last week of June (26 June to 1 July). We will be spending most of our time in Wellington. While there we hope to do a few things:3554882983_91788f4582

  1. Meet people who are interested in joining with us to plant Wellington Evangelical Church
  2. Spend more time getting to know the city and the people who call it home
  3. Do some admin & logistics – investigate cars, houses, schools, etc.
  4. Listen and learn from some other pastors and church planters in Wellington
  5. Say hello to some of our friends

If you are in Wellington and would like to talk about the Church Plant, please shoot us a message and we will try and find a time to chat.

We will also be in Auckland for the weekend where we will be raising support and Andrew will be preaching at Auckland Evangelical Church. If you are in AKL on 30 June why not pop in to Auckland Ev and say hello? All their location details are here.

Raising support

Another thing we have been doing is talking to people who wish to partner with us in planting a church. God has humbled us with the kindness and generosity of many people as they have caught the vision for what a new church in Wellington might look like. If you would like to partner with us too, please let us know and all the details that you need are here.

Something that has become clear is that we definitely are not the first to have this idea and it has been a great encouragement to hear that we might (in a small way) be God’s answer to the prayers of His saints for the city of Wellington.

Gathering a core team3367863006_2bf5430cbc

Something that has been very exciting has been the chance to sit down and talk with a bunch of people about the possibility of joining us as part of the core team to plant the church.

Praying

Another thing we have been doing is praying. This is what we have been praying recently:

  • Pray for Wellington that many who live there will come to know the hope that can only be found in Jesus.
  • Pray for the churches in Wellington that they might love Jesus and love Wellington by sharing the good news of Jesus as revealed in the Bible.
  • Pray that those who are keen to be part of the core team might find the jobs and opportunities required for them to join us. Give thanks for those who are contemplating making the big move.
  • Pray for our family. That our kids will love Jesus, that we will stay healthy & safe, and that we might be good parents through the transition and process of organising a big move and a church plant. Pray particularly for Adele and the bub that they will be healthy and the pregnancy will be uncomplicated.
  • Pray for the logistics of planning a move, a suitable house for ministry, and that God will provide somewhere to live in the time between finishing our current job and when we move (Jan – April 2014).
  • Pray our trip in June will be effective and productive.

Why not pray with us?