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