31 Jul, 2013 Hope Project ‘deadline’ – personal reflection
I felt it important to take the time to write a personal reflection today. The below lets you know what we have; what we have done; what we need and what we are doing – and my reflections on how I interpret it all on the final day.
– An amazing opportunity before us in the Gospel bicentenary to share the Christian message with every home in NZ
– A great vision and strategy that can capture that opportunity
– A committed team
– Contact with 70 ministers associations / groups who we have personally met and presented to
– Over 220 pastors linked in, with more linking in daily
– Over $280,000 in the bank (as at 9am this morning) – raised in the past 3 months
– Plus a great many pastors and believers, from Kaitaia to Invercargill, convinced of the merits of the project.
We have developed:
– Many promotional materials – as at and via www.AllTogether.co.nz
– (Behind the scenes there are the outlines of the media strategy, and draft content for it)
– There are also sermon outlines and small group studies to help pastors/small group leaders, online for free download at www.AllTogether.co.nz/partnership
– A series of equipping videos is recorded – as found via the resources page at www.AllTogether.co.nz .
– We have a number of the stories and ‘answers to questions’ videoed (and a number of these edited) – these being for the coming gospel website. (Our videographer, Alex Watts, is also currently on the road recording more stories and ‘answers’ from around the North Island).
– We have connections with a great many people, ready to get to work.
As a team we have also completed two national tours:
– The first speaking to 70 ministers associations
– The second being the Roadshow, which consisted of 70 evening meetings throughout the country (see a video of one of the presentations via the ‘videos’ link via www.AllTogether.co.nz).
– …and are working toward regional evangelism conferences from September onwards this year , as at www.AllTogether.co.nz/conferences (check it out).
What we do not have is:
– $1.2m in the bank. We need this by the end of July so our team can turn their attention from rallying the Church to developing the media.
– 1000 Churches linked in. While 200 is an achievement, we believe 1000 is the correct goal, because we need as many believers as possible to be prepared by their churches to engage the conversations that the media project initiates.
Right now we need help to get this project over the line financially.
If this does not happen now, options of a delayed project (a year or two later) are considerably difficult, such that we do not know if this would happen – even though our entire team believe it should happen. Without details, one challenge is that all our team are volunteers (ourselves included). The effort required to sustain the pace may be more than many can give.
As such – NOW really is the time. The opportunity is before us – and it is difficult to get it before us again in the same way, with the same network of ‘fresh’ Church contacts (from face-to-face visits, so communications are open) throughout the country.
How we have responded in the past week is…
Last week we let various groups know the situation, so they have the opportunity to respond, including…
– The 200+ pastors who are linked in,
– Our denominational heads,
– Contact people for 70 ministers associations we are connected to
– Our advisors board, and an additional group of key leaders we send updates to
– and all donors who had email addresses.
We opened an extra option:
As of last week, we opened the door to pledges
The purpose of this option is to help us know, in a short space of time, how much we will have in the immediate future. We do not want to miss this opportunity.
How do we interpret this journey?
If finances continue to be insufficient tomorrow, this project still wouldn’t be over for us, because we have felt a sense of call to do this, and believe in the efficacy of the vision. Life has many disappointments. God doesn’t always work as we expect or would like. However, God hears and answers our prayers. We are not powerless in this (we can initiate things through prayer and action). Also, as the Bible says, the love of Christ compels – so we keep trying!
However, regarding how we interpret the journey, I think there is much to reflect upon and learn from.
1. We have faced much scepticism, …
2. …and much independence from medium to larger Churches. I believe these to be heart issues.
3. We have also faced many pastors who are simply indifferent, whether due to the above,…
4. …or to busyness (such that they have not had the ability to look at what is presented with a clear mind). Busyness is understandable, We all struggle for balance at times.
5. Related to scepticism, I note that we’ve also faced many who had no framework from which to discern whether this was good or not. They are so busy that they seem to discern what is good or not almost solely on the basis of what pastors of our nations larger churches support.
6. A final hurdle I note is the ‘wait and see’ mentality that many have. Unfortunately if we all ‘wait and see’ what will happen, nothing will happen. I suspect this is the majority-view with regard to the many pastors (1000+) who have heard a clear presentation on the project in the past 9 months. They like the vision, but for whatever reason have not engaged the mind or heart with it – except to assume it will still be there tomorrow.
7. Yet many others have been very positive – and this must not be overlooked.
The response of the Church Heads (denominational heads) meeting was decisively positive.
The response of nearly all the ministers associations was overwhelmingly positive. Many were relieved to see something that made sense to them.
– However, many in the groups did not move to support personally, maybe for the above reasons. They seem to be watching, to wait and see what happens first.
More than 200 Churches are also linked in (which is apparently a good response – even though our goal is 1000).
While attendances at the Roadshow meetings were not high, those who attended were more than enthusiastic by the end – seeing both how we could share the Christian message with our nation (with a conversational approach suiting our times), as well as how our churches could begin to get ‘evangelism’ back out of the ‘too hard basket’.
We are receiving many encouraging notes with donations daily. Some pastors have given glowing reports such as that of a pastor of a decent sized city church who called our Roadshow ‘the best presentation on an evangelistic approach for our times that I’ve seen in 20 years’. Another elderly vicar called the Roadshow the ‘best presentation of a Gospel project idea he’d every seen’.
There is actually much positive – and my choice is to bring these to God like that young boy brought his 5 loaves and 2 fish to Jesus,
and to ask God to multiply them!
I believe we’re actually heading in the right direction.
Momentum is definitely growing – but too slowly.
It is in my nature to consider the bigger picture first – and then the ‘now’ picture.
1. There are wider issues related to our churches level of engagement with the Gospel that it would be very beneficial for us all to discuss. I think things have been revealed in this journey – and that this may have been one of God’s purposes.
2. We stubbornly stand with the same prayer request, and the same vision – because we are convinced that an effort like this is a necessary part of the Mission God has given us (Matthew 28:18-19). The love of Christ compels us to do this, because it’s not just about us or our churches. It’s about God and His Mission which He has commissioned us to accomplish. It’s ultimately about love; love for those outside of our churches!
–Most churches are not sustainably equipping and mobilising their members to contextualised Gospel outreach – and there is a plan on the table that could help change this!
–Every home in NZ has not heard a clear message in more than 30 years – and never through multiple media – and there is a plan on the table that can change this, utilising the opportunity the Gospel-bicentenary provides to make these stories known.
Irrespective of the outcome of today’s donations, we cannot walk away from this except at the Lord release us to serve in another place or arena.
“Jesus – all about hope” is the project’s promotional name. Jesus came to give hope to those outside of our Churches – and He is with us!
We have a Mission.
God can do anything. Our hearts are not anxious. We trust Him, and we sleep well!
He may have greater purposes for our Churches through the journey He has put us on – but still has a heart for the ‘lost’.
According to our Christian theology, people outside of our churches deserve a chance to hear. That is our mission (how they respond is up to them).
This is not over yet! If we wake up tomorrow and find ourselves and the world to still be here, then it will yet again be ‘today’ – and as long as it is called ‘today’ we are on Mission!