A New Video + Great News!

Hear our heart for creating a welcoming community at Church Northwest as you view some beautiful scenery just minutes away from our church.

Haere Mai.

We'd love you to take just a couple of minutes to view the above video. This is a project Nate has been working on for several months now. The beautiful drone footage was provided by our mate, Kenny, who came for a visit with one of our wonderful supporting churches. Our mate, Carey, from Church Northwest recorded the voiceover. She also read the script at our opening church service back in July. The script is our adaptation of something Whitney found on an instagram post from @brownkids, used with permission. And the music is "Forgiven" from Bethel Music's Without Words album.


Nate was asked to help lead the  GLOW Worship Night , a combined churches event in Auckland last weekend. It was a beautiful evening of authentic, spirit-filled worship.

Nate was asked to help lead the GLOW Worship Night, a combined churches event in Auckland last weekend. It was a beautiful evening of authentic, spirit-filled worship.


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"I felt good when my sister and I got our bags and things. My mum and dad are looking for a house cos we live in a motel. When they don't have any money, they have to ask around."

- student, age 7


CNW recently contributed to the local back to school project, which is run by friends of ours. We were so pleased by the response of the people in our church. After highlighting the project on just one Sunday, we were able to contribute over $2000 as a church.


Fundraising Update - Getting Closer!

While we have started a church and we are starting to see the congregation take ownership both financially and with the week to week operations of the church, we're still dependent on financial help from outside the church to get us setup for long-term sustainability. Recently we received confirmation of another $20K donation to our five-year financial plan, which gets us to 91% of our goal! CNW is so grateful to our supporters, prayer warriors, and cheerleaders. God often provides for and sustains His people through His people. 🙌🏼

Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$245,000 (91%)


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Family Update
Finn was pleased to get to lead his very first workshop at his school last month. New Zealand schools are big on giving kids opportunities to teach other kids. The idea is that kids who learn to lead and work with others, will be better prepared for working relationships in the future. Little Finn couldn't wait to be a leader for the first time. He taught two groups of five to make their very own cardboard dragons - his own design. ☺️

Early Days

Church Northwest: Meeting together, eating together.

Church Northwest: Meeting together, eating together.

Though it's early days, we're beginning to see our young church develop a sense of togetherness and community. We recently invited people to come and eat together as we talked about the significance of the passover meal. All the kids were in the service (and we have plenty of little ones) so as you'd expect there was an element of chaos. But the idea was a winner for developing a sense of community, and for the culinary arts. Included in our church venue is a full-size industrial kitchen. And since one of our members is an ex-chef, we served up some lovely New Zealand lamb and fresh home-made unleavened bread. It was a tasty and unique way to do church together.

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One Family At A Time
Church growth has been slow but steady lately. While church attendance has its highs and lows from week to week, God has been bringing us new families from the community around us regularly. We've done a small amount of marketing around the mall where we meet, but the majority of our new people come either because they were invited by someone or because they happened to be in the library/community hub on a Sunday morning and thought they'd pop in and check it out.

Meanwhile, Auckland's Northwest continues to expand with infrastructure, new homes, and new businesses popping up every month. We know we're in the right place at the right time. God is doing His thing in His time.

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This script was read at our launch and puts our church's welcoming heart into words:

Kia ora koutou. Nau mai, haere mai. (Greetings, welcome)

Take a moment to settle in. Take a deep breath. You are welcome here. 
Haere mai.

We welcome your curiosity and open hearts right alongside your hesitations and exhaustion with religion. We welcome your joy and cheerfulness as well as your sadness and anxiety. Your outgoing conversation is welcome here. Your introverted timidity is welcome here. We welcome you at whatever level of mental and physical wellness you are currently functioning.

Your culture is welcome. Your ethnic origin is welcome. Your race, your accent, the food you ate as a kid, and the food you’d much rather have now; all of the complexities that make up your cultural identity are all welcome here.

Haere mai.

Your whole self is welcome here. Your greatest successes and deepest failures are all welcome here. That thing you don’t want us to know about - it’s welcome here too. No, it doesn’t scare us. And yes, we’ve got stuff too.

We welcome your humour and your silent contemplation. We welcome the parts of you that are still figuring it all out.

We welcome you in your weakness.
We welcome you in your privilege.
We welcome you in your grief.
We welcome you in your guilt and in your shame.

You are welcome here.

Haere mai.

Come as you are.
Sit.
Be.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. (Greetings to you all)


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Family Update
"My rock" was a game I (Nate) used to play with my dad when I was a little boy. Basically, we'd just find the biggest rock around, stand on top of it and shout, "my rock!" Then the other person would knock you off the rock and claim it for their own. Lane and Finn and I found our own big rocks near the ocean on a rainy, wintery day in August and played our own version of the game. Meanwhile, Henry, being the indoorsy type like his mum, stayed home and did some baking with Whitney.


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)

We Have Lift-Off

Church Northwest's first weekly service on 28 July.

Church Northwest's first weekly service on 28 July.

On the 28th of July Church Northwest launched into weekly services. As you can see in the photos, we do have a fair amount of interest and support for the church. It was an encouraging day. But we've also had our fair share of discouragement to date and we reckon that's just part of the deal. We figure planting a church is like having a baby or getting married - you're never really ready for it, but when the time comes you have to find a way to make it work. We're right in the thick of finding a way to make it work.

Planting churches is also a faith building exercise. It usually doesn't come easy. This is probably by design. As things get more difficult, the need to draw nearer to God and trust Him more becomes greater. One challenge we're facing at the moment isn't a new one to many churches: we need more help. The harvest is ripe here but the workers are few. So let's pray to the Lord of the harvest and ask Him to send more workers to our churches.

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A Welcoming Church
When starting a new church it's interesting to see what sort of personality emerges. There's a uniqueness or an identity as a church body that presents itself in the early days. At CNW we're seeing relational warmth and genuine welcome rising to the surface. The following words which were read out at church last week highlight this value:

Kia ora koutou. Nau mai, haere mai. (Greetings, welcome)

Take a moment to settle in. Take a deep breath. You are welcome here. 
Haere mai.

We welcome your curiosity and open hearts right alongside your hesitations and exhaustion with religion. We welcome your joy and cheerfulness as well as your sadness and anxiety. Your outgoing conversation is welcome here. Your introverted timidity is welcome here. We welcome you at whatever level of mental and physical wellness you are currently functioning.

Your culture is welcome. Your ethnic origin is welcome. Your race, your accent, the food you ate as a kid, and the food you’d much rather have now; all of the complexities that make up your cultural identity are all welcome here.

Haere mai.

Your whole self is welcome here. Your greatest successes and deepest failures are all welcome here. That thing you don’t want us to know about - it’s welcome here too. No, it doesn’t scare us. And yes, we’ve got stuff too.

We welcome your humour and your silent contemplation. We welcome the parts of you that are still figuring it all out.

We welcome you in your weakness.
We welcome you in your privilege.
We welcome you in your grief.
We welcome you in your guilt and in your shame.

You are welcome here.

Haere mai.

Come as you are.
Sit.
Be.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. (Greetings to you all)

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CNW Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.


One of our partnering churches recently paid us a visit and created this video about our ministry. Have a wee keek!

Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


Family Update
June was a big month for our wee family. Lane turned eleven on the 16th and Henry turned nine on the 25th. We're so proud of both of them. Recently Henry has asked about becoming a Christian and following in his sister's footsteps with baptism. He's even taken it upon himself to write out the reasons why he wants to be baptised. Stay tuned!

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Church is Poppin’

Henry and Finn and their mates at church

Henry and Finn and their mates at church

Church Northwest Pop-Up #2

On the 26th of May we held our second pop-up service at Te Manawa Community Centre in northwest Auckland. The purpose of these pop-up services is two-fold: to help us create momentum with a core group, and to give us some practical experience putting on services in our new location. So far it's working - we have made improvements with our service logistics, and our core group continues to grow month to month. Our next service is 23 June - please keep it in your prayers!

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Lane recites the Bible verse for the morning.

Lane recites the Bible verse for the morning.


Upcoming Dates


CNW Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.


One of our partnering churches recently paid us a visit and created this video about our ministry. Have a wee keek!

One of our partnering churches recently paid us a visit and created this video about our ministry. Have a wee keek!


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


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Family Update


While we're planting a church, we're also a busy family of 5 and our kids never seem to stop growing! Thank you for your prayers for our family - they mean a lot to us!

  • Finn (5) has started school this past month (in NZ, children can start school throughout the year, once they've turned five) and is so excited to learn to read and make new friends.

  • Henry will turn 9 this month! He is into Bey Blades and drawing/writing his own comic book stories. He is in his second year of piano lessons, and has also started taking swim lessons.

  • Lane will turn 11 this month! We can't believe our baby girl is now a "tween" and growing so quickly that her feet are nearly as big as her mum's! She has started violin lessons this year, and loves to read and write stories. She is currently working on a school project to submit an entry into a national film competition for school children.  


Prayer Requests. 

Venue
Our current venue is in an ideal location, but is presenting us with some financial and logistical dilemmas. Please pray for wisdom as we decide how to deal with these difficulties - whether to stay in our current venue and employ some creative solutions, or to look for a new location. This is a big decision that could greatly impact the future of the church, so we ask you to join us in prayer for this.

Our Family
Pray for good health through the winter months, and good friends for our kids.

Unity
One of our core values that we can't afford to lose sight of is our commitment to unity among the church leadership and among all church members. This is what Jesus prayed for for all of us in John 17: that we would be one with each other just like he is one with the Father. We want our love for each other to be so real that people will see it and then believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Church Plant Progress
Pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be involved in Church Northwest. Pray that we follow God's leading and that He will provide the workers, opportunities, and strategies we need for reaping the spiritual harvest in Northwest Auckland.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she was diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma two years ago. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can…

Pop-Up Church #1

Church Northwest’s first monthly pop-up service is in the books.

Church Northwest’s first monthly pop-up service is in the books.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain." -Psalm 127:1
As the task list threatened to overwhelm in the days leading up to our first monthly pop-up church service, we kept reminding ourselves that we're just walking into this one...it's a test run...we don't have to have it all together. And we didn't have it all together. And it was beautiful. The truth is that we'll never need to have it all together. If we're relying on God to build and lead His church, job one is to stay connected to Jesus...to stay connected to the Vine. Sure we'll need to work on the trellis from time to time (the trellis being any structure that facilitates the true purpose of the church: vine growth). But without the Vine the trellis is pointless. 

So we had our chance to put a bit of our trellis to the test: A/V setup, kids check-in, the band, an app-based bulletin, etc. And of course we have some adjustments to make before our next service. But the big win was how we connected to the Vine...together. Seeing all of our people in the same room (about 70 in total) connecting with one another, praying and worshipping together, learning together, and just being together was beautiful. God has given us a special group of people. And because of our highly visible location, we had three people walk in and join us on the morning :-). We haven't promoted the church to the wider community yet and we're already growing. God is building His house.

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Retreat at Whakata
One of our supporting churches has gone above and beyond for us as is apparently the norm for them. Dr. Ashley Goad of Shreveport, LA arranged for a team of seven to fly to New Zealand just to be with us, to take care of us and our kids, and to give us rest. They rented a retreat house called Whakata Country Retreat - only a 15 minute drive from our home. "Whakata" in Te Reo Māori means "rest." We were joined by church planters from around the area as well as a team from Australia. We ate together, encouraged one another, worshipped God together, and rested. We're so grateful for this team and can't wait to do it again next year.

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Timeline

  • May 26th: Pop-Up Church 2

  • June 23rd: Pop-Up Church 3

  • July 28th: Church Launch, Weekly Services begin


Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.
 


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


Still laughing.

Still laughing.

Family Update
We're still laughing. Planting a church is hard. Planting a church while raising kids is harder. But it's all happening and we're still laughing. That is significant. And it's no mystery as to why. It's only because God provides. He provides for our family financially through many of you who are reading these words. He provides for our family by surrounding us with the right people to encourage and challenge us. He provides for our family by sending passionate and skilled servants to us who are taking a massive load off of us from an administrative perspective. So we can still laugh. We still take time to take care of ourselves and our kids. And most importantly, we're still being held by a Father who loves and cares for us more than any of us know. Thank God.


Prayer Requests. 

PRAISE: CNW is Growing
Over our three gatherings to date, our core group has grown from 30 people to around 60 now! We're very blessed to have such great people to help us bring the hope of Jesus to Northwest Auckland. We'll be promoting our church to the wider community in July. We can't wait to see who God bring through our doors.

Unity
One of our core values that we can't afford to lose sight of is our commitment to unity among the church leadership and among all church members. This is what Jesus prayed for for all of us in John 17: that we would be one with each other just like he is one with the Father. We want our love for each other to be so real that people will see it and then believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Church Plant Progress
Pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be involved in Church Northwest. Pray that we follow God's leading and that He will provide the workers, opportunities, and strategies we need for reaping the spiritual harvest in Northwest Auckland.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she was diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma two years ago. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

Answered Prayer

We were devastated by the shootings in Christchurch on 15 March. Please keep the entire city in your prayers.

We were devastated by the shootings in Christchurch on 15 March. Please keep the entire city in your prayers.

The venue that we've been asking you to pray about for months now (pictured below) has finally been made available to our church. We're still working out some of the details including which spaces we will be able to use within the building and which times we want to use them. The location is ideal for a church plant - very visible and adjacent to busy shops and restaurants in a growing area. Local Māori leadership have gifted the name "Te Manawa" to the building which means "the heart." Te Manawa includes a library and plenty of space for hire and for casual use. As a bonus, we can use their business hub as a workspace free of charge and even pay to book private rooms for meetings throughout the week. Please continue to pray for a positive relationship between Church Northwest and Auckland Council, who owns and operates Te Manawa.

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Introduction Evening
On the 10th of March we held an Introduction Evening for people to meet the leadership of Church Northwest, express their interest, learn about CNW's purpose and core values, and ask questions. A total of 42 people (including kids and some visitors) turned up that evening. Several were there on behalf of multiple other family members and we're aware of other families who are interested but couldn't make it that evening. So it looks like we have a solid core from which to grow Church Northwest. We'll have a better picture of who is with us at our next gathering on the 7th of April, which will take place at our new venue.

Nate and Hamish share the vision for Church Northwest at our Introduction Evening.

Nate and Hamish share the vision for Church Northwest at our Introduction Evening.


Timeline

  • April 7th: Dedication Evening. This is a gathering of everyone who wants to be involved. Here we will share a picnic together on the grass in front of Te Manawa, and dedicate the new church to God through prayer and worship.

  • April 28th: Monthly services begin

  • July 28th: Church Launch, Weekly Services begin


Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.
 


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


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Family Update
Our three kids, Lane (10), Henry (8), and Finn (5) keep us on our toes every day. If we're not busy with the details of setting up Church Northwest or meeting with potential church members, you'll probably find us tending to the kiddos in some way. Lane has picked back up with violin and French lessons while Henry is excelling as a piano student. Finn is still in kindy (preschool) two days a week and is becoming a little fish because of his weekly swimming lessons. It's a tough gig, but we do feel lucky to be their parents. Please ask God to give us patience and wisdom as we do our best to provide a family in which these little people can grow and thrive.


Prayer Requests. 

PRAISE: Church Venue
We've locked in our top choice for a venue for CNW! Thank God with us for providing this space. Please also continue to pray for a positive working relationship between our church and Auckland Council who operate the facility.

Unity
One of our core values that we can't afford to lose sight of is our commitment to unity among the church leadership and among all church members. This is what Jesus prayed for for all of us in John 17: that we would be one with each other just like he is one with the Father. We want our love for each other to be so real that people will see it and then believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Church Plant Progress
Pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be involved in Church Northwest. Pray that we follow God's leading and that He will provide the workers, opportunities, and strategies we need for reaping the spiritual harvest in Northwest Auckland.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she was diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma two years ago. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

Going Live

Reuben Munn praying with the Church Northwest team last Sunday.

Reuben Munn praying with the Church Northwest team last Sunday.

Click to view our latest promo video followed by a ten minute interview with our team at Shore last Sunday...

Introduction Evening
We're working toward holding weekly services open to the entire community at the end of July, but the next step is to build a core team of people committed to helping us grow a church. To that end, we're holding an Introduction Evening this Sunday for anyone who wants to know more, express interest, ask questions, or commit to joining us. Please pray that God uses this event to build His church.

Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.

Timeline

  • March 10th: Introduction Evening. Here we will share our vision, and ask people to pray about whether God is calling them to be involved in the church plant. 

    • Rest of March: Follow up with interested individuals and families to share more 

  • April 7th: Opening Celebration. This is a gathering of everyone who wants to be involved. Here we will dedicate the new church to God, share more detail of our vision and values, and outline more of our plan and timeline.

  • April 28th: Monthly services begin

  • July 28th: Church Launch, Weekly Services begin


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


They're still best mates...but they won't admit it 😉

They're still best mates...but they won't admit it 😉


Prayer Requests. 

PRAISE: Church Plant Venue
Our top venue option now has a name: Te Manawa (which means "the heart" in Māori). We've been told that the council will make bookings open to the public by the end of March, at which point we'll be free to log in and lock it in! Please keep praying!

PRAISE: Church Plant Progress
We're so grateful to God for bringing us this far. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

⏰ The Countdown Begins

Check out our startup website:   churchnorthwest.nz

Check out our startup website: churchnorthwest.nz

The Countdown Begins

For our team, the past several months have been full of preparation, anticipation, prayer and even more waiting. Last week our leadership team transitioned from a board of trustees to an eldership, and just last night we approved some exciting details that we'd love to share with you.

Church Northwest
A church name is an interesting concept. While in many respects it is far less important than the type of community we actually become, it is still the first contact many in the community will have with us. We therefore thought it best to have a name that was simple, meaningful, and clear— especially to non-Christians. During our little market research project, this name did strike people as simple and logical, but what really won us over was one non-Christian person who had the observation that it seemed less intense than some of the other options, which might appeal to someone who was unsure about coming along.

Purpose Statement
Church Northwest: Helping each other take our next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.

Timeline

  • Feb 24th: Shore Community Church to hear details about the new church. 

  • March 10th: Information Evening. Here we will share our vision, and ask people to pray about whether God is calling them to be involved in the church plant. 

    • Rest of March: Follow up with interested individuals and families to share more

  • April 7th: Opening Celebration. This is a gathering of everyone who wants to be involved. Here we will dedicate the new church to God, share more detail of our vision and values, and outline more of our plan and timeline.

  • April 28th: Monthly services begin

  • July 28th: Weekly Services begin


A Wedding at Māori Bay
Nate recently had the privilege of doing the music at the wedding of some friends of ours in an iconic location. It was a windy day, but the weather was otherwise gorgeous for this Samoan-Australian union.

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A Season of Visitors
We've been blessed with two sets of visitors in February and more to come in April this year. Living 8,000 miles away from overseas friends and family has been prohibitive for many would-be visitors over the past ten years, but it seems 2019 will be the exception. Ted and Kelley (Sarge), friends of ours from Indianapolis, stayed with us last week. And this week Whitney's brother Ben, his wife Emmy and their two kids are with us. It's a privilege to live here but it becomes even more apparent when we take the time to show visitors the splendour of New Zealand.

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Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)


Family Update.

Finn is five years old! He's excited to go to "big school" with his brother and sister starting in April. He's a very affectionate boy - always wanting hugs that last a long time. He's also quite the lego builder these days. He can spend a whole day working on fairly complex builds. We're so blessed to have this beautiful boy in our lives. Happy birthday Finny!

Finny is five!

Finny is five!

🌞 An Eventful Summer

Christmas Eve at Shore CC

Christmas Eve at Shore CC

2019 is going to be a HUGE year for our ministry in New Zealand. The ball is rolling on so many details now for our new church, and we're so excited to tell you more over the coming updates, so watch this space! But first, we can't miss the massive December we had, so let's take a quick look over the month...

A Relaxing Christmas Eve at Shore
Over the past few years, Christmas Eve at Shore Community Church has been evolving into a full-on family-friendly, free-range-kids sort of event. So we decided to go all in and welcome the church Whanau (family) into a living-room type vibe this year complete with Christmas jammies, song requests, and random stories and Christmas memories (pictured above). It was heaps of fun.

A Record-Breaking Outreach Event
We also teamed up with a local church group in our new church target area to host Christmas on the Point, an outreach event with live music, carols-singing, great food, and a visit from Santa. Over the past three years attendance at this event has steadily climbed. This year the outdoor amphitheatre was packed with families enjoying food, music, sunshine, and neighbours. And as a bonus, the crowd of over 550 people heard about our new church starting just down the road this year. Here's hoping some seeds were planted!

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Spending time with the Elderly
We realise that Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some - especially the lonely. So we put the kids and a guitar in the van and met some friends at a local village for the elderly to try and bring some joy to a sometimes lonely place. It was a privilege to see smiles on faces, to hear joyful singing, and especially to watch our kids relate so well to people ten times their age.

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A Time to Connect
Once the big day is over, summertime in New Zealand brings a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with friends and neighbours who haven't decided to travel over the holidays. All you need is a beach, a BBQ, and a few board games and you're set for days of fun!

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Our life group Christmas party

Our life group Christmas party

Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

Family Update.

Now that we've been a family with children for over ten years, we've developed a few holiday traditions of our own. In addition to the ones mentioned above, we like to go ten-pin bowling on Christmas Eve and bake Christmas cookies to take to our neighbours as a wee Christmas prezzy. It's a simple way to connect with those around us and to get the kids focused on serving others.

Baking cookies for our neighbours

Baking cookies for our neighbours

🏆 Two BIG WINS

Shore Community Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Shore Community Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Our first win in November comes in the form of a massive boost in fundraising for our church plant. A church in Shreveport, LA has come to the party with a three-year commitment that has our committed total up to $225K (83% of our five-year church plant need). We'll need to see more of these funds arriving in our NZ church bank account earlier in the piece as our fundraising plan is front-heavy: the need will decrease as we grow and move toward self-sustainability as a young church at year six. If you'd like to learn more about this or help us reach our goal, head on over to churchplant.nz and make a donation. And as always, your prayers are much appreciated. God is providing!

Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$225,000 (83%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.


Winning with Families in the Community
Nate and Henry recently celebrated a championship win with the Hobsonville Point Primary School under 9s basketball team. Coaching basketball has been a great way for us to connect with other families at the primary school. Nate and two other basketball dads pitched in to teach the kids some basketball fundamentals this season. We also took the opportunity to teach the kids respect for each other and for opponents. After our big win last week, we had a chance to catch up and celebrate with the other families in the team. We're hoping to have more and more opportunities like these to be a light in the community and to develop relationships that God can use for His purposes.

🏀 This season's champions of the local under 9's league!

🏀 This season's champions of the local under 9's league!

It's a busy time of year. We'll be helping to host and lead this event in our community next Sunday plus two other Christmas events before the big day!

It's a busy time of year. We'll be helping to host and lead this event in our community next Sunday plus two other Christmas events before the big day!


Family Update.

Summertime has arrived in New Zealand. If you're reading this in the northern hemisphere you probably don't want to hear this, but it is warm and glorious. But it's also quite busy...for now. December in New Zealand is packed with events in the race toward Christmas Day. After that, we're all spent and ready for a holiday. So most of January is quiet and calm.

Our family faces new hurdles every year as the kids keep growing up and getting involved in new activities, sporting events, and friendships. We've been juggling swimming lessons, piano lessons, and basketball for the past several months. When you add school and church commitments into the mix, we're at capacity. Please pray for wisdom for us as we navigate and edit life. As a family, we want to choose to give our time to people and causes that make the greatest impact toward God's calling for us in this life.

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Prayer Requests. 

🔵 Church Plant Venue
The manager at our venue of choice has now been hired! Just a week into the job, the manager got in touch with us and set up a meeting. It was a great first chat and while there are still some key areas that need to be developed before we can sign a contract, the ball is rolling and seems to bouncing in our favour. Keep praying for this please!

Our Teammates
The Taylors Our teammates - Hamish & Molly Taylor - are back in NZ with us, and we're loving getting to spend time with them. They now have 34% of their monthly funding to raise, so please pray that they gain some ongoing financial partners. If you'd like to help, you can find out how here.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.

Church Plant Progress
Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

Manifesto.

Dreams on a whiteboard: preparing a vision to develop with our elders and then our church.

Dreams on a whiteboard: preparing a vision to develop with our elders and then our church.

Have you ever had a feeling like you know something big is coming soon and you've been given the gift of a moment or a season to prepare well for it? Our church planting team is in that season now. To rush headlong into planning and executing a strategy before considering your unique position, your calling, your convictions, and/or your passions could be a critical mistake. And as church planters, if you move too quickly too soon, you run the risk of losing buy-in from the larger group or worse yet "planning God out of the equation." We're currently tackling these issues and loving every moment of it. Soon we'll be presenting a draft vision for our new church to our elders, developing it further with them, and then bringing it to the wider church core group for further input and to brainstorm strategies of how to implement the vision as a church. Your prayers during this process are so important, so please join us in asking God to do His thing!


Nate leads worship at the Multiply NZ Conference.

Nate leads worship at the Multiply NZ Conference.

Multiply Church Planting Conference
Nate and Hamish recently attended a church planting conference in Auckland with church leaders from around New Zealand and guest speakers from Australia, the UK, and Kenya. Nate was asked to help lead worship for the event, which opened doors for more networking among other churches and church planters. The conference came at a perfect time for challenging and refreshing us as church planters in dreaming mode. We have a sense that God is pushing us to increase our faith and to loosen our grip on the controls of how this is going to play out. We know He's called us to plant multiple churches. And it seems He's asking us to take more risks and raise the bar. So pray with us and watch this space!

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Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.


This cutie. Finn loves having a "coffee" with Daddy in this local train-car cafe.

This cutie. Finn loves having a "coffee" with Daddy in this local train-car cafe.

Family Update.

Springtime is always an exciting season around our house. The promise of warmer days and Christmas joy looms in the air as the countdown is updated daily on our family chalkboard. And Halloween dress-ups bring a sense of fun and make-believe. But this year, even royalty came knocking on the door (of our city 😉) as we were paid a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That's right - we're talking about Harry and Meghan. We did our best to play it cool with the rest of the usually nonchalant kiwi folk as the royals passed by on the viaduct, an arms-length away. It's rather silly, really. They're just people after all. But I must admit it was a bit fun to see the look on our daughter's face as she waved hello to a real-life prince.

Playing it cool and greeting our royal guests in Auckland with friends.

Playing it cool and greeting our royal guests in Auckland with friends.

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It's Official 🙌🏼

Our initial leadership team + families

Our initial leadership team + families

Things Just Got Real

The past month has been full of firsts. Our long term relationship with Shore Community Church has led to an official memo of understanding for church plant development and the formation of an initial leadership team. We're also seeking to add at least one more trustee to our number, thus forming an eldership for our church plant. It's finally happening!

We've also been granted charitable (non-profit) status for our trust, we've opened a bank account and have begun receiving funds in NZ, we've hired an accountant, and we've begun regular trustees meetings. The next steps are much more exciting and include developing and sharing our vision, forming a core group, choosing a church name, and then rolling it all out to the people of Northwest Auckland. Please keep all of this in your prayers!


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Westgate Multipurpose Facility
Many of you have been praying about the potential for us to use this ideal facility for our church gatherings. While we're still waiting for management to be hired so we can begin an official relationship and submit our application, we have been informed that we're the only church group interested and that they regularly rent their facilities to churches. We've also received a few photos from the inside of the developing auditorium...

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Redefining "Pastoral" Counselling
Nate has been dedicating some of his work week to one-on-one discipleship and mentoring. In a few cases his role in the relationship has turned to counsellor, a role he welcomes since gaining further education in the field. Interestingly, he's found himself in the position of counsellor to a number of local pastors who are faced with current challenges or the ghosts of past hardships. Since he's grown up in a ministry family and is a pastor himself, this seems to be a niche of counselling that he can influence with ease and regularity. Pray for God to lead him to the right people, to give him wisdom, and to continue to "fill his well" in regular quiet time and sessions with his own mentor.


Church Plant Funding Update

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

The next generation of church planters?

The next generation of church planters?


Family Update.

School holidays have come just in time. Not only does the daily school drop off and pick up come to a halt for two weeks, extracurriculars do as well. That leaves extra time for the kids to explore the beauty of the New Zealand countryside and enjoy a few "jammy" days at home. Last week Nate took the week off to be at home with the family. We explored the coast north of Auckland, visited a quaint farmers market, and enjoyed extra rest. We're thankful for the work God has given us to do, but we're so grateful for the ability to get away and recharge from time to time.

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Going Viral & Gathering Leaders

Springtime in Auckland

Springtime in Auckland

Since our return from the states seven weeks ago we've reentered the rhythms of family, school, and ministry life. Our focus leading up to the launch of our new church is one of preparation. We're preparing our own hearts and minds through focused study and soul care, we're deepening current relationships and engaging in new ones, and we're accomplishing some of the many tasks associated with church planting. But we believe deeply that the most important work being done now is one you can help with. Prayer. Would you join us? Ask God to continue to guide us and provide what is needed to set up a church that stands the test of time and is honouring to the King we lift high.

Honouring Māori Culture
We're passionate about understanding and honouring Māori culture (the indigenous people of New Zealand). So the overwhelmingly positive response to this video from the New Zealand community and specifically the Māori people warmed our hearts. The video shows Nate leading American kids from one of our supporting churches in a Māori waiata (a spiritual hymn). This waiata is based on the angels' proclamation of Jesus' birth in Luke 2. Surprisingly, the video has been viewed over 132,000 times and has been shared and talked about positively in social media by thousands and even by a popular secular radio station. All for the honour of the King...Tinorangatiratanga.

Surrounded by Kiwi Leaders
From the moment we were called to this project we had a passion to hand it over to local kiwi leadership from day one. So our church planting team and the eldership at Shore Community Church have been "putting in the hard yards" to make sure this happens. We're close to being able to hand the baton to our eldership team which will include both Nate and our team leader, Hamish Taylor. Once that happens we'll be able to move forward in a number of critical ways. Please pray for God to lead us and to call the leaders He has prepared for this role.

Nate Interviewed on "Hope is Here"
We were honoured to have our family and ministry in New Zealand featured on a radio show called Hope is Here with Greg Horn. If you'd like to learn about how we were called to New Zealand or about the spiritual state of the nation, listen to the first of the three interviews. And while you're at it, subscribe to Hope is Here! Greg's show generally focuses on his own personal journey of overcoming some of the obstacles that caused him pain and shame and helping others to do the same. You can subscribe on Podbean or iTunes.

Nate and another dad coaching basketball

Nate and another dad coaching basketball

Music time at Shore's school holiday program

Music time at Shore's school holiday program

Church Plant Funding Update
As many of you know, we were not just connecting with our personal financial partners, we also had to spend time raising start-up funds for the church plant.
Here's where we are:

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

Family Update.

This month we celebrate 16 years of marriage. We recently ran the numbers and learned that the time we've been together is now the majority of the time we've been alive! It's hard to even imagine a time when we didn't know our other half. Our 16 years has been full of major life events - some that brought joy and some that brought stress. Each event was a stepping stone...an opportunity to learn and grow. And with the help of godly counsel and a whole lot of grace, we've grown closer and closer to one another. These days we often look at each other and wonder how we got so lucky. God has been good to us. OK we'll stop now.

Celebrating 16 years of marriage 

Celebrating 16 years of marriage 

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Back Home

A recap of furlough and what's next for us...
at Auckland International Airport

at Auckland International Airport

Kia ora koutou! Greetings from Auckland, where we have returned from our 3 months of furlough work in the USA and are settling back into our home and routine. If you are new to our email list, then welcome! There are links at the bottom of the email for additional ways to connect with us, such as Facebook and Instagram.

It's mid-winter here, so we've packed away our shorts and jandals and have pulled out the woollies...there's nothing like a freezing cold toilet seat to wake you up in the morning!

Here's a recap of what we got up to for the second half of our furlough...

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vacation with all the cousins...so many cousins

vacation with all the cousins...so many cousins

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Wait...where's Kenny?

Wait...where's Kenny?

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these generous families donated over $10,000 to our ministry during a week of VBS!

these generous families donated over $10,000 to our ministry during a week of VBS!

We were overwhelmed with how God provided for our needs on this trip. From free transportation, to inexpensive accomodation, to all of the families who opened their homes and hearts to ours - God truly is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

Church Plant Funding Update
As many of you know, we were not just connecting with our personal financial partners, we also had to spend time raising start-up funds for the church plant.
Here's where we are:

Our Goal:
$270,000
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.

Current Commitments:
$145,000 (54%)

If you are interested in getting involved as a financial partner with a one-time, tax-deductible gift, please visit this website and follow the instructions.

Family Update.
The kids have returned to school for Term 3 of their school year (NZ has year-round schooling, from February through mid-December). They're also joining in with some extra activities, such as choir, basketball, and piano lessons. It's a busy time for us as a family, but we enjoy exploring what the kids enjoy. Henry loves to bake with mum (probably so he can taste-test things along the way), so one of our first activities after we returned from furlough was to make banana bread together. Nothing makes a house smell like home like banana bread baking in the oven!

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Lane and Henry both celebrated birthdays in June!


Prayer Requests.


Praise: Financial Provision
Praise God that He has provided enough funding to cover the costs of our furlough, as well as increasing our monthly partnerships. He is so, so good to us.

Our Teammates: The Taylors
Our teammates - Hamish & Molly Taylor - are back in NZ with us, and we're loving getting to spend time with them. They still have about 60% of their monthly funding to raise, so please pray that they gain some ongoing financial partners. If you'd like to help, you can find out how here.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Praise God that she's now in full remission! However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial, and for her white blood cell count to increase.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Pray for continued strength and healing as she recovers from treatment for breast cancer.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management in NW Auckland. It's looking more and more promising. We expect to find out by November if our request to use the auditorium has been approved.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

People & Places

Mother's Day with Whitney's family

Mother's Day with Whitney's family

The Halfway Mark
Kia ora koutou! Greetings from Ohio, where it has finally started to feel like Spring and Summer. The first few weeks of our furlough were full of cold temperatures that had us breaking out our woollies, but it is finally warming up here in the midwest, and we are loving the sunshine!

It's hard to believe that we are already nearly at the halfway point of our furlough, but time is flying by as we spend our days visiting our partnering churches all over Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Here's where we've been so far...

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We've had a lot of fun already and look forward to visiting with many more of you! Here's where we'll be over the next two months:

May 20
MeadowView Church of Christ (Frazeysburg, OH)
East 40 Church of Christ (Zanesville, OH)

May 30-31
Church Plant Fundraising
FUMC (Shreveport, LA)

June 1-3
Church Plant Fundraising
Harvester Christian Church (St. Louis, MO)

June 10
Bedford Acres Christian Church (Paris, KY)

June 24
Stanton Christian Church (Stanton, KY)

July 8
Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 8-13
VBS: Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 17
Return to New Zealand

More details


Family Update.
The kids have been thoroughly enjoying spending time with the grandparents, aunties and uncles, and of course their cousins. They've also had the chance to rekindle some friendships from previous furloughs - it always makes them feel so special when people remember them.

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One thing that a lot of people don't realise about church planting is that the children of the planters go through just as much transition and upheaval as their parents do, but often lack the vocabulary and understanding to articulate the myriad of thoughts and feelings that come along with such an unusual occupation. When we leave a church home to start a new one, the kids have to leave their church and friends behind, too. When we move to a new city or a new neighbourhood, the kids have to say goodbye to their home and their favourite places, too. We often feel like we have little control over when and where and how these churches get started, but our kids have even less. It's our job as their parents to help them understand the reasons we make these decisions and go through these changes, but we love it when other people take an interest in them and invest in them as well. We're facing yet another transition in the near future as we go all-in with this new church plant. And even though this lifestyle is the norm for our kids, we know there will be some changes involved that will be difficult for them. We ask that you pray for them and for us as we navigate this season of parenthood. 

Above: At the Indianapolis Children's Museum with our friends, the Veeches.

Above: At the Indianapolis Children's Museum with our friends, the Veeches.


Prayer Requests.


Praise: Financial Provision
Praise God that we have received some financial gifts that have been a huge help in covering some ongoing ministry costs, as well as the cost of our furlough. These donations have come from both churches and individuals, and the timing has been perfect. We are constantly amazed at God's ability to provide for our needs through our relationship with Him, as well as our relationships with each other.

Our Teammates: The Taylors
Our teammates - Hamish & Molly Taylor - are currently in the States as well with their three boys, visiting family and raising funds for the church plant and for their own salary. They will head back to NZ next month, so please pray for success in fundraising, for safe travels, and for wonderful memories to be made.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She has recently suffered from a bacterial infection, please pray for a quick recovery and for continued success with her clinical trial.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Praise: Tami recently had some follow-up tests done and they have come back clear, showing no remaining cancer cells! 🎉

Safe Travel
Pray that we'll continue to manage furlough well as a family and that the planes, trains, and automobiles we'll be travelling on will arrive to their destinations safely.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships.

USA Schedule

Taking to the skies

USA Schedule.
Kia ora koutou! We take to the skies in just a few days so we're busy packing bags and tying up loose ends around here. We're planning for the weather to actually feel like Spring when we arrive, but to be honest, it's not looking good according to the snow-filled photos we're seeing on social media. I'm sure the kids would appreciate seeing snow though. Between family gatherings, church visits, worship leading, and church plant fundraising, our furlough schedule is full of events this time around. Have a look below to see what we'll be up to. We'd love to see your lovely faces if you're in the area! Reply to this email if you'd like to catch up over a coffee!

April 22
North Terrace Church of Christ (Zanesville, OH)

April 29
Northview Christian Church (Danville, IN)

May 6
Greenwood Christian Church (Greenwood, IN)

May 13
Mother's Day

May 20
MeadowView Church of Christ (Frazeysburg, OH)

June 3
Church Plant Fundraising

June 10
Bedford Acres Christian Church (Paris, KY)

June 17
Father's Day

July 8
Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 8-13
VBS: Worthington Christian Church (Columbus, OH)

July 17
Return to New Zealand

More details →

Looking Back.
As we journey full-speed-ahead toward our next church plant in Auckland, another chapter in the story has concluded. On Easter Sunday Nate led worship one final time as an official worship leader with Shore Community Church. After showing the above video, pastor Reuben Munn also interviewed our whole family on stage about what's next for us and then prayed for us together with the church. It was an honour to have the chance to talk to the church about our plans for visiting our amazing support base in the USA as well as our return to Auckland to plant the next church with Shore's own Hamish and Molly Taylor. While we will be nearby and have plans to collaborate with Shore throughout the next chapter, our main focus will be on the church plant rather than on Shore CC upon our return to New Zealand in July.


Family Update.
T E N  Y E A R S  O L D ??!!  We recently threw an early 10th birthday party for Lane. She doesn't actually turn 10 until June when we're in the USA, but since it's such a big milestone and she'll be away from her friends on her actual birthday, we thought we'd let her have an early birthday party before our departure. An avid tree-climber, she decided to invite some of her closest friends to a wall-climbing facility in Auckland for her party. Many of her friends have emigrated to Auckland from Asian or European countries so she's currently learning bits of Mandarin and Korean in order to keep up :-).

Lane's (early) 10th birthday party with her NZ friends.

Lane's (early) 10th birthday party with her NZ friends.


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. The doctors are happy with the progression and results of the treatment she's receiving as part of a clinical trial. Recent test results show that she is near remission but some evidence of cancer remains in two areas of her body. Pray for full remission and that her blood count will rebound soon.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is getting stronger and is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Safe Travel
We're off to the USA on Thursday this week! Pray that we'll manage the transition as a family well and that the planes, trains, and automobiles we'll travelling on will arrive to their destinations safely.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Fundraising
Please pray for our teammates, Hamish and Molly Taylor as they raise their salary and as we join them in raising additional church plant funds. We've got a big journey ahead of us! If you'd like to join Hamish in Molly in their journey, you can catch up with them here.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Wrapping Up & Flying Out

Kia ora koutou! We're right in the middle of scheduling visits, planning meetings, and organising service plans for our upcoming trip to the States. We'll release the dates of where we'll be when in next month's issue, so watch this space! While there's a lot to look forward to and plan for in the USA, there's plenty to keep us busy here in New Zealand. We've been supporting a team in planning Shore Community Church's 20th year celebration which is coming up on the 11th of March. We've found roles to play in our areas of strength - Whitney in design and graphics, and Nate with music. He's been asked to put together a bluegrass band for the country-fair-like event. Playing off his Kentucky heritage, they're calling themselves Finger Pickin' Good.

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A New Website and A New Video
Jump over to churchplant.nz and have a quick look at a recently finished website promoting our church plant. This site will be central to our fundraising campaign for the new church. If you'd like to be one of first to make a US tax deductible donation to our Auckland church plant, that site will direct you to the right place. That's another place you can take in the scenes of the Auckland region in the promotional video we've just released.


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Our Evolving Life Group
ABOVE: Over the past few years we've grown closer and closer to this lovely group of people we call our life group. We've walked beside them through good times and hard times, an engagement, a wedding, career changes, callings, illness, and births. We've also had the privilege of doing one-on-one discipleship with a few of them and serving alongside each other at Shore Community Church. About half of our group will soon be heading off on overseas adventures and in pursuit of God's call on their lives. Most of them do plan to return to Auckland eventually, so we'll be able to pick up where we left off. In the meantime we'll be working closely with the leadership at Shore CC to determine how to best proceed with the group as our new church emerges.

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Helping New Church Plants
Nate traveled to Tauranga to assist a group launching a new church plant last month. He and a team of musicians led the music for the first two weekend services at Current Church. Although it was in the middle of a very busy time for us, it was nonetheless a nice distraction from all the church plant admin work and furlough scheduling as well as a good reminder of why we're doing all of this in the first place. We're passionate about supporting and collaborating with other churches. This concept is already becoming a core value of our future church.


Family Update.
The whole family had the opportunity to join Nate on his second weekend in Tauranga. The new church he was helping rents a venue right on the beach, so it was a perfect place for mum and the kids to relax and play while dad rehearsed the band. On the ride home we made time to stop at one of our favourite places in New Zealand: Karangahake Gorge.

Above: A walk through Karangahake Gorge after a weekend assisting a new church with their launch.

Above: A walk through Karangahake Gorge after a weekend assisting a new church with their launch.


Prayer Requests.


Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Her scan in January showed no new growth and the doctors are hopeful that she'll be in remission as early as April!

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Preparing for Furlough
Things are beginning to fall into place with our furlough schedule and with some important church plant setup tasks before we leave. Please pray that we'll be able to manage all of it well.

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management. We have been advised that they've taken note of our interest but we will need to wait until later in the year to formally apply to lease the auditorium.

Fundraising
Please pray for our teammates, Hamish and Molly Taylor as they raise their salary and as we join them in raising additional church plant funds. We've got a big journey ahead of us! If you'd like to join Hamish in Molly in their journey, you can catch up with them here.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Ramping Up to Another Transition

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Life is always changing, but when you're planting churches internationally, the frequency of transitions can be relentless. Having served at Shore Community Church and having gained a qualification in counselling for Nate over the past two years, we're now working toward a USA furlough (April-July 2018) followed by a return to Auckland and full-time preparation for the new church with Hamish and Molly Taylor. By the way, if you're reading this and you live in Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, we'll likely be visiting your church or one nearby, so watch this space for dates. We can't wait to reconnect with all of you! 

Churchplant.nz
One of the many tasks that must take place before we even leave for furlough has been completed: the launch of a website promoting our next church plant. Jump over to churchplant.nz and have a quick look! This site will be central to our fundraising campaign for the new church. If you'd like to be one of first to make a US tax deductible donation to our Auckland church plant, that site will direct you to the right place.

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Supporting Local Church Plants
ABOVE: In January we had the privilege of driving up to Gulf Harbour to lend a hand at The Vine Community Church, a new church plant north of Auckland. Church planters Jeff and Indra Palmer have become good friends of ours since they arrived in NZ. Planting a church without a team in NZ can be a lonely and discouraging endeavour, so we plan to keep in touch and support them and others like them whenever we can. On that note, this month Nate will be heading south to Tauranga to help Current Church kick off the first two weeks of their worship services and to do what he can to encourage the church planters there and prepare the Current music team.
 

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Staying Connected
We also had the privilege of reconnecting with the leadership of South Pacific Christian Fellowship (our former sending organization) last month. Executive Director, John Woodward and a team from one of his supporting churches visited for several days. We met with this group to show them the massive growth and opportunity for church planting in Northwest Auckland and to share our vision for reaching the estimated 100,000 new residents that will be moving into the area over the next several years. We're so grateful to have the camaraderie and cooperative support of SPCF as well as church leadership both at home in NZ and abroad in the USA.

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Family Update.
The kids are back in school now! Having them around the house every day since mid December was fun...most of the time. Nate, Lane, and Henry got out of the house to brave the 30-degree-heat (that's about 90-degrees in Fahrenheit) to camp out at Festival One, NZ's annual Christian Music Festival. It was a great opportunity to connect with friends and acquaintances from Shore Community Church and from around New Zealand. Nate also had a lot of playtime with the kids and one-on-one time with a couple of guys he's been walking beside for a while now. Whitney and Finn stayed home and "did so many puzzles and train tracks," according to one very enthused four year old. That's right, Finn is four! And he's proud of it.


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Her scan in January showed no new growth, but she has had a number of health set backs including fighting the flu virus at the moment. Please pray for her protection from such dangerous viruses and for remission.

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Preparing for Furlough
It appears that we have about 1 million tasks to accomplish before leaving for furlough. Please pray for things to fall into place with our furlough schedule and with some important church plant setup tasks before we leave. 

Potential Church Plant Venue
Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management and that God would open the door for us to sign a contract to lease the auditorium in this ideal location very soon. 

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Pointing to Hope Over the Holidays

Holding out the hope of Jesus at Shore's Christmas Eve service.

Holding out the hope of Jesus at Shore's Christmas Eve service.

On top of the usual work, the past month was full of unique opportunities to shine the light of Jesus in the Auckland communities we're reaching.

Hobsonville, Auckland
We have a significant relationship with community leaders in Hobsonville Point - Auckland's fastest growing suburb according to this NZ News Article. For the second year in a row Nate and his band mates from Shore Community Church have been invited to lead this community in singing a variety of Christmas songs including ones that share the story of Jesus' birth. It's a unique opportunity for us to have an audience of several hundred people - most of whom aren't connected to Jesus or His church - and to point them to the true meaning of Christmas and toward several local churches in the area. One of the church leaders in the community said of Nate and the Shore band: "What this event communicates to the Hobsonville community is that the church has it together...we're well organised and we take our mission seriously." The grace of God and the talented musicians and technicians (pictured below at the event) make this kind of feedback a reality for us. We are privileged to be surrounded by people who help us do what we do for the glory of God.

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Albany, Auckland
Following this event we headed to Albany and Shore Community Church to lead the church in their annual Christmas Eve Service. This event has become a significant outreach event as the gymnasium at Albany Junior High School is filled with friends and family of our church attenders who rarely attend church or hear the Gospel preached. We design this worship service to be one that engages people from age 4 to 94 - not an easy task! This year we used a combination of Christmas Carols that tell the Story, a Christmas-themed quiz, a visit from a Santa Claus who looked like he had just come from the beach, and the interactive Bible app for kids. It was a fun and meaningful time together.  

And Beyond...
As we continue our work with Shore Community Church leading up to our departure for our USA furlough in April, Nate will be supporting other church plants on the fringes of the Auckland region by leading worship for them. This week we're off to Gulf Harbour to lend a hand to Jeff and Indra Palmer at The Vine Community Church.

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CP Venue Update
Last month we asked for prayer concerning our venue search for our church plant. While it's still early days we've seen an opportunity to try and secure an ideal hub to hire for our Sunday services and church activities. The $26m multipurpose facility located in the heart of the shopping centre for several fast-growing northwest Auckland suburbs is due to open in early 2019 - which could be perfect timing for our church plant launch. After several attempts to get in touch with the management for the facility, we were told that they'll keep our name on file but that we'll need to wait until mid 2018 to talk with them about hiring the facility. At the moment, they don't have anyone in place to manage it just yet. Please continue to pray with us that God will open or close this door according to His will!

Our countdown to "midnight" on NYE at about 8pm...just before bedtime ;-)

Our countdown to "midnight" on NYE at about 8pm...just before bedtime ;-)

Family Update.

It's summertime in New Zealand which means the kids are out of school and out in the sunshine most days. It's a fun and sometimes challenging time for us as parents who have no family around to help us occupy these crazy kids. Fortunately our three actually enjoy playing together...most of the time. We've been busy playing with the new Christmas prezzies from the grandparents - including roller-skates and transformers! We've also been doing a lot of trampoline jumping and sprinkler runs through the back garden. And I'm sure some more trips to the beach are in our very near future. Nate, Lane, and Henry will also be joining a large contingent of Shore Community Church at Festival One at the end of January just before the kids head back to school and Finn turns four years old!


Prayer Requests.

Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she has been diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is receiving cutting edge treatment from an excellent hospital in Houston. Please pray alongside us that God heals her. She has a scan in the next day or two. Pray for great news!

Tami Meaige (Whitney's mum)
Tami has recently completed her treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. She is expected to recover fully, praise God!

Potential Church Plant Venue
(mentioned above) Please pray for favour with the developing community centre management and that God would open the door for us to sign a contract to lease the auditorium in this ideal location very soon. 

Praise: Our Church Planting Team
Praise God for calling Hamish and Molly Taylor to join our church planting team. These two are the ideal teammates for us, and we basically absolutely LOVE them! Please pray for them as they embark on their fundraising journey, and as they restructure their lives in order to get back into church planting.

Praise: Church Plant Progress
We've secured a solid partnership with Shore Community Church. Continue to pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be heavily involved in our NW Auckland church plant. Please pray that we follow God's leading in this, and that He will provide the workers and opportunities we need for the spiritual harvest.

Financial Partnership
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.

Life Group
We're really enjoying the community we have with people in this group. Please pray for continued participation and continued discipleship.

School
Please pray that the kids make positive friendships at school, and that they will connect well with their teachers this year. Please pray also for Nate as he continues studying counseling as a support to our ministry here.

Our Family
Pray for good health and positive friendships. The transition to our new house wasn't easy. Please pray for peace and a sense of belonging in our new home.

Travels, Events, and Venue Hunting

We travelled to Thailand to officiate the wedding of Joe and Lydia Jay.

We travelled to Thailand to officiate the wedding of Joe and Lydia Jay.

The most wonderful time of the year also tends to be the busiest time of year. So if you're like us, just reading emails is a big ask right now, so thanks for reading this far! There's a lot to cover but we'll try to keep it brief ;-).

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Travels
USA // Nate had an encouraging trip to the USA last month to visit with his mother who is battling lymphoma. He met his parents in Houston where she was receiving treatment. Praise God that the treatment seems to be working. Many of her symptoms have faded and she has shown a lot of strength and resilience. While in Houston Nate had the chance to catch up with a missions team from Greenwood Christian Church and lent hand with some flood relief cleanup (pictured). On the way back to Kentucky, Nate and his dad made a stop in Louisiana to meet up with a lovely missions team who will be travelling to New Zealand for a visit in January. A special thank you goes out to the wonderful supporters who provided the airfare for that trip!

Thailand // Then we were off to Thailand to officiate the wedding of some dear friends and members of our life group: Joe and Lydia Jay. Joe is from India and Lydia is from Iowa. They met in New Zealand and were married in Thailand! This location turned out to be the most convenient for the two families. We were honoured to share in such a special time with two families from opposite sides of the planet. The union of these two and the harmony of two very different families was a beautiful picture of the commonality that God's grace provides for his Church. We had amazing babysitters looking after our kids back in New Zealand, which provided an unprecedented four days away - just the two of us! We felt like kids again.
 

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Events
Back in NZ we hit the ground running with worship leading, a kiwi wedding reception, hosting a friend from Christchurch, and church-planting meetings. Now we're preparing for an annual Christmas event for the Hobsonville Point Community where Nate and some musician friends from Shore CC will be entertaining the crowd and leading them in some Christmas Carols. Nate will then lead the Christmas Eve service at Shore CC. Meanwhile, Shore Community Church has kicked-off their support of our team by auctioning and donating the proceeds of a New Zealand All Blacks rugby jersey signed by the whole team (pictured) to our teammates, the Taylors. They're preparing for their upcoming fundraising trip to the USA. They'll be away for six months or more as they build a support team for the next leg of the church planting journey. We'll be joining them in the USA later in the year.

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Venue Hunting
While we're still in the planning and fundraising phase of our church plant project, there is currently an opportunity for us to begin making contact with potential venue managers for our new church. At the top of the list is a new multipurpose community centre being built in the heart of the shopping centre we've targeted as ground zero for our catchment area (pictured). It's being built right now and has an opening date that could coincide perfectly with the launch of our church plant. Nate is currently in the process of starting a relationship with the centre management. Please pray for favour and that we'd be able to sign a contract to lease the purpose-built auditorium soon!

Nate and his amazing parents during Elaine's cancer treatment in Houston last month.

Nate and his amazing parents during Elaine's cancer treatment in Houston last month.

Family Update.
We'll be spending a lot of quality time together during the upcoming school holidays. The kids missed us during our travels (we missed them too) but they did really well with our fantastic babysitters. In fact, Finn asked when we were going away again. We thought he was worried but then he said, "It's so much fun with Molly and Miki!" Thanks again guys! We're currently searching for a "kindy" (preschool) for Finn as he is turning four in February. Most preschools in the area have a looooong waiting list (up to two years) because of all the new housing and young families in our area. This is ideal for church planting so we're not complaining at all! Please pray that we'll get him into a preschool - he's so ready for it!