HeLP Project is a united communications initiative, purposed to promote things churches are doing to help people within their communities.

It is the third and final annual component of ‘Hope Project’ as proposed in 2016, including (1) Hope Project Easter, (2) HeLP Project and (3) Hope Project Christmas. This is about always bringing hope, while providing authentic and meaningful help.



It will promote the ‘help on offer’ from churches and related Christian charities through public media, while telling the story – through public media (with ‘extras’ – detailed below)

Watch here as Dave introduces the vision for HeLP Project in this short video

Current status

This effort – which can see more positivity coming toward the Christian faith and Church  through the public promotion of community services – was put on ‘pause’ in February 2023 due to inadequate seed money to enable staffing support for the extensive nationwide data collection.
  • With 18 months of background work (systems / processes / data to web integration / partnership) behind us, the effort  is otherwise ready to collect and process data – to take our services and story as churches ’to market’.
  • In the interim – this means there is an opportunity for the churches together in any cities or towns interested in increasing their profile within their community.

Current offer – to churches together in each city/town

The systems created could serve individual cities or towns who were interested:
  • An intentional data collection
  • The ‘help on offer’ from local churches and related charities  displayed at a website – with search engine
  • A report to pastors on their collective efforts – with a view to how collaboration and cohesiveness together might be enhanced
  • An ‘impact audit’ option – creating a report that quantifies the contribution of faith organisations to the welfare of the city – for presentation to local Government and media.

Contact our teams for more details.

For the leaders of churches and Christian-based charities


The diagram to the left summarises the effort. In summary of the media:

    1. HeLP Project website — People can search within their province for areas of help available by location and category – along with a growing ‘bank’ of stories about that help
    2.  Year-round promotion via various social media platforms, google ad words and the like
    3. A public media campaign — including TV and web-media, giving an annual ‘burst’ to public awareness of the platform and range of help available.

A summary of benefits 

    1. ‘Help on offer’ promoted – so it can be engaged with.
    2. Stories told – noting there are thousands of positive stories for every negative one told, and these build hope.
    3. Unity and collaboration enhanced, and innovation inspired – as churches and their leaders are enabled to become aware of the scope of all that local churches are doing in and for the wider community in their city or town.
    4. ‘National Impact Audit’: A report produced as a conversation piece national and local Government, and public media  – quantifying something of the contribution of faith organisations to the welfare of the nation / city.

The effort is therefore multi-faceted in its outcomes, while elegantly simple for local churches and Christian-based charities.

> All that is needed is information on your ‘help on offer’ – entered through the ‘onboarding form’ (est. 1 to 2 hours per church or charity), then checked annually at our prompting.

Who is behind HeLP Project?

HeLP Project represents another innovation from the Shining Lights Trust, arising from consideration of a broad range of dynamics at play in our nation, with the health of church engagement within society in view. What churches contribute is significant in meaning and scale. We are called to show and share God’s love. This necessitates engaging well with the needs of our cities.

The ethos of our work: One team

The Shining Lights Trust works on the premise that there is one Church in our nation – made up of all who love Jesus and follow his teachings. The ‘denominationalism’ of prior centuries has very little relevance to New Zealanders today. This is therefore about  enhancing the spirit of collaboration, where this can be of benefit to churches and their communities.  

How then does ‘unity’ work?

Beyond relationship and coffee, there are things churches (and Christian-based charities) can achieve together that they cannot achieve apart. However, for collaboration to be enhanced, a number of common understandings need strengthening amongst our faith communities.

>> Read the full article here. (Titles only below)

A basis for unity: At the core of our unity is a commonality of belief, love for God, and a commitment to show that same love to others. This

A needed come from unity: However, if our unity is to become ‘functional’ (to achieve its function) some factors need careful consideration and application. As examples,

  1. Communication lines are needed
  2. The content within those communication lines must be strategic at a “far better than average” level (because we’re all busy already)
  3. The values that undergird the way we work together must then also be truly healthy – conducive to collaboration
  4. We will also need to make a choice to trust each other – with differences noted (it is an attitude
  5. And we do all this with the realisation that our capacity is actually far more than has yet been realised! 

The entire HeLP Project’ effort therefore sits as a subset of a much wider conversation . 

We pray and ask for open-handed partnership and generosity toward this effort.

>> Read the full article, to capture the insights, here.

A possible need for a key person (or two) in many cities and towns  

  • Some pastors and other church leaders might be weak administratively. Help might be needed to make them aware of this data collection and its purpose, to see their ‘help on offer’ included (and story told).
  • We foresee that a facilitator (helping hand) might be needed in some cities to serve the wider Church, to see that all ‘help on offer’ is included on the HeLP Project platform. This (a) makes sure help on offer is readily available and promoted, while also (b) ensuring the Church to look good on this platform – to the extent that it should. (This also has some value).

Comment from Dave Mann (Director, Shining Lights Trust)

For every negative story told about the Christian Church somewhere in the public square there are literally thousands of positive stories. It is necessary that we speak up to tell a few more of these stories as no one else is going to do this for us. The amazing work local churches are doing also deserves some credit! From a study of our culture, and the trends within it, it is our conclusion that an effort like this is needed.

It is also true that the hope and the help that churches offer need to go together. Some focus only on the message of hope – while considerably disconnected from the very real needs of their own communities. How does the message of love make sense if we are not showing love? How useful will the message of love feel to a hungry man – if  we haven’t given him the sandwich that is in our hands?  

I also think we’re capable of a lot more good together in this nation as churches! The ‘economies of scale’ in church engagement (with the community) have changed. Needs are greater – and many churches are smaller. This effort is therefore also about encouraging us all to look afresh at who we are as the Church – and at the needs of our cities and towns. When we stand as one, we are far from insignificant, and capable of much.

The great irony here is that we are already the largest non-Governmental contributors to the charity sector in this nation – while few amongst the public would know the scope of. It is our failure to collaborate (or to work out how to collaborate – noting the values above) that has done this!  

I stand convinced that change is possible – because I’ve met pastors all across this nation numerous times. The Church is an amazing – and its people are amazing – and its leaders in its many individual congregations are amazing! We just need to work out how to get our heads together a bit more – to work as one!

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” Philippians 1:27-28a

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  – Matthew 5:16