The Hope Project was a three phase nationwide multimedia project aimed at opening up a conversation with people about hope. The initiative was triggered by the 200th anniversary in 2014 of the first invited Pakeha settlement and gospel preaching in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Over three years 650 NZ churches partnered … thousands of Christians were encouraged and equipped to have conversations with those outside of church … and 1.4million homes were reached through a multiple media effort with the Christian message – three times!

Read the End of Project Report & be encouraged by all that has been achieved!

The Vision

To initiate a conversation about the reasons for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15) with every home in New Zealand, while preparing followers of Jesus to gently engage those conversations.

The Values

Regarding the media project, authenticity, gentleness, humility and respect are high values. Regarding our churches, a clarity of understanding regarding the mission of the church, as well as a commitment to a healthy and balanced focus on it, are important values.

PHASE I

 Phase I launched in October 2014 with two weeks of TV ads, a nationwide drop of ‘The Invitation’ booklet, and the launch of the Hope Project and 10 Day Challenge website – all supported by over 300 partnering churches.

PHASE II

Phase II launched in May 2015 with 400+ NZ churches in partnership. It included a nationwide drop of ‘The Hidden Power’ booklet, TV ads, and the launch of Hope Project FB and the Cornerstone discipleship series.

PHASE III

Phase III launched on 6 March 2016. With the support of almost 700 churches it included new web media, a nationwide drop of ‘The Jesus Connection’ booklet and three weeks of TV ads encouraging people to attend church.

A non-believer was attending a church that showed one of the equipping videos. Due to what he heard he came up after the service and asked what he needed to do to become a Christian – and responded on the spot when it was explained.
EQUIPPING VIDEO LEADS TO NEW FAITH
A Salvation Army Officer told how they had made good use of the teaching resources. Their active encouragement, and request for testimonies produced results. It helped a lot of people work out how to share their faith, and resulted in many stories of people being engaged in conversations in the community – in work places, buses and tennis courts.
THE EQUIPPING WORKED
An Assemblies of God Pastor illustrated a story of a woman in their church who was very excited after having tried to share her faith for many years. With the equipping resources provided she found it freeing that she could now just bring up her faith in ordinary conversation, without having to ‘clinch the deal’ every time. She could take conversations only as far as they naturally go – knowing she is a link in the chain, and that relaxed conversations can be ongoing with the people she sees regularly.
LONG-TIME CHRISTIANS FINDING CONFIDENCE IN WITNESSING FOR FIRST TIME
A Salvation Army Officer told us about a couple of members who spoke to their neighbours about the booklet, and then took them through the 10 Day Challenge – with discussions ongoing.
THE UNCHURCHED TAKING UP THE 10 DAY CHALLENGE
A New Life Pastor who was only able to engage with the opportunity at a basic level, showing 1 or 2 of the equipping videos, had members become very motivated to share faith. Extra booklets left on their front desk were all taken and, while they didn’t have any new Christians from it, a number of people who used to attend church decided to come back.
PEOPLE CAME BACK TO CHURCH
A lady in New Plymouth started watching the ‘Because we care’ video series a year prior to the first of the Hope Project’s media effort. She contacted us to encourage us that – before the media effort was even beginning - the project was already bearing fruit. With the perspectives and skills she gained she shared that she’d had ‘the awesome privilege of introducing four people to Christ’ already.
I LED FOUR PEOPLE TO FAITH IN CHRIST
An Anglican Vicar relayed how, after hearing her sermon on conversations, an older lady stopped to chat with a woman gardening on her way home. The fact that they used the same kneeler opened the conversation. When asked why she was so dressed up the member explained she’d been church, extended and invitation – and she came. Another lady who was staying in a motel due to the earth quake talked with a man in similar circumstances who was feeling stressed. During the conversation she invited him to church also, and he has since reconnected with his faith.
EVERY DAY CONVERSATIONS ABOUT FAITH ENABLED
Another Baptist Pastor commented that she felt the equipping and outreach materials had given people a great way of relating to people. It was producing confidence. She can see that people are slowly taking the teaching on board.
WE ARE RELATING TO THE UNCHURCHED WITH INCREASING CONFIDENCE
A Baptist Pastor shared how he had been sceptical of this effort until he saw the equipping videos just before the first media project went to air. He rallied his congregation, and they volunteered to personally deliver booklets to ‘no circulars’ homes part of their city. Arriving at his first door he was nervous – but was greeted by a young man he had once met, and ‘who desperately wanted to come to church. He was really grateful for the booklet, and took an extra one to give to his friend.’
I WAS SCEPTICAL – BUT THEN I SAW THE VIDEOS
An Elim Pastor prayed in a shop for a man from another religion who had particular sickness. The next time they met the man’s sickness was healed. He showed him a booklet – and the man was interested. It was a conversation tool. Rapport continued to build, and conversations continue.
BOOKLET A CONVERSATION TOOL WITH SICK MAN I PRAYED FOR
A Presbyterian Pastor who actively promoted the project among his elderly congregations, and who is also actively encouraging giving to overseas missions and prayer for outreach, commented that a number of people who thought they couldn’t have conversations found that they could. One was an 80-year old gentleman. More people are hearing of Christ as a result.
AN 80 YEAR OLD MAN DISCOVERED THAT HE COULD SPEAK TO PEOPLE
A Pastor of a Methodist-Presbyterian Union Parish used the booklets in various ways, including at community events and their op shop. They also used the training videos. They found that Maori people especially responded favourably to the booklets. Their eyes lit up when they read some of the content. One guy said “I haven’t been to church in a long time but my wife does. This has encouraged me to go back.”
IT ENCOURAGED ME TO GO BACK TO CHURCH
Countless church people have contacted us requesting spare booklets. We have fulfilled every request. All booklets are given without charge. Some who are in retirement villages or private apartment buildings that circulars cannot get to had the insight to request them to give personally. Our Comment: We see again that the silence of some Christians in terms of witnessing is not because of a lack desire or belief. It can be a lack of confidence in the methods and resources being made available to them. When given the right opportunity, and shown an approach that their intuition says is realistic for our culture, we discover that there are many more people in our churches who want to share faith than may otherwise be apparent.
MANY INDIVIDUALS REQUEST ADDITIONAL BOOKLETS TO GIVE AWAY
An Assemblies of God Pastor who has used all the video training resources with the church, commented on how it was influencing his congregation. While some still clung to ‘past’ methods, a broader positive change in attitude toward evangelism was noticeable.
POSITIVE CHANGE IN ATTITUDES TOWARD EVANGELISM
A New Life Pastor who had utilized the opportunity, commented how the booklet provided an easy discussion point with her Christians Against Poverty (CAP) clients. They had a lot of feedback from the community about the booklets. Their community is mostly Maori. It created an opportunity to talk with them about Jesus.
BOOKLET A DISCUSSION POINT WITH MY CLIENT
The Occassion

2014 marked th200YearsOfHope_logoe bicentenary of the arrival of Christianity in New Zealand, at the invitation of Ngapuhi Rangatira, Ruatara. He invited his friend, the Rev Samuel Marsden, to start a settlement in New Zealand next to his Pa (named Rangihoua) in what is known of today as Oihi Bay near Kerikeri. The first Christian message was preached on Christmas day 1814 to a crowd of 300 or more Maori, with three families (the Kings, Kendalls and Halls) then staying on to begin the work with Maori, supported by Ruatara’s people. The NZ Missionary story is largely unknown, and is far more positive than most could imagine. 2014 was viewed as a fitting time to begin this project for this reason.

The Strategy

Eight questions in eight minutes about the Hope Project with Dave Mann – project coordinator.

The Impact

The goal was much bigger than having more people in our churches.

  • Some sceptics found reasons to become seekers.
  • Some seekers found reason to become believers.
  • Some believers found reason to become witnesses.

Initial media impact: While some were impacted by the booklets, others were impacted by the tv ads, others by web media, and others by their conversation with Christians.

Wider impact: Ideas remain in conversation for months. Booklets remain in many houses for years. And impressions remain in thoughts decades!

The Success

The first two phases of the Hope Project were very well received. More than 2 million NZers connected with the TV ads in each phase. More than 1.4 million homes connected with each of the three booklet. Well more than 50,000 ‘no circulars’ homes had booklets personally delivered to someone at the door with each media effort. More than 130,000 people engaged with web media, with social media in addition, which was amped up in the second phase. More than 160,000 spare booklets were sent out upon request in each phase of the project, and well more than 50,000 church people were prepared by their pastors to engage the conversations – including more than 650 churches who formally partnered, coming from all Christian denominations. To the right are snippets of amazing feedback we received.

The Hope Project went well

 The five year, three phase Hope Project has now concluded — and we celebrate over all that God has done in Aotearoa through this united effort.

Open the End of Project Report, or read 10 top-line achievements of the Hope Project. We are now looking forward with a new vision — see the vision video here.

“This is the best presentation of a Gospel project I’ve ever seen.”
— Rev Phil Woodmass, South Taranaki.