13 Jun, 2017 How could this happen? A community didn’t know!

How could this happen?

One night in the past couple of weeks I discovered a group of churches who were completely unaware of the ‘Te Rongopai’ DVD created by Dr Stuart Lange for the 2014 Gospel-bicentenary celebrations in New Zealand. I only discovered this because I was promoting the ‘Jesus- the Game Changer’ DVD series created by Australian Karl Faase – which is equally unique in its category. In my view, both of these series are superlative resources for churches to help them give a foundational equipping to their members in a couple of STRATEGICALLY VITAL AREAS (I will explain).

Now, I know there are many Christian resources created – but not all are equal. I was surprised, to say the least. My thought was, ‘Where have you been?’ ‘How could a group of sincere pastors and church people, living in New Zealand, be unaware of this resource?’ I checked later on, and confirmed that our own team had indeed highlighted the ‘Te Rongopai’ resource to this place 3 or 4 years earlier. I was literally caught out at the time – surprised, and not knowing what to say because of what this reflected.

Why the surprise? An over-reaction?

For those knowing the topic of the ‘Te Rongopai’ video, I suspect you’ll understand my surprise. While some churches may know of a thick book or two about our nations’ early Christian and bicultural history, the fact is that few would read the book. If we are to influence Church culture/thinking -and through that to influence national culture/thinking, then we need key resources that make things simple, and that can therefore educate many people easily and quickly. (And we are talking about the very mission of the Church here – with eternal implications, and a limited timeline. This is no side-issue. This is a vital and incomparably important area of focus!). And this is what makes this DVD, which is completely unique in its category, like gold! In 1 hour and 5 minutes a congregation (or network of small groups in a church) can be educated on some key points from our nation’s early Christian and bicultural history. And this is ESSENTIAL knowledge if we – as the Church in NZ, are to be suitably prepared (1 Peter 3:15) to engage in some very important spiritual conversations in the public square in our nation.

The three areas of story that I suggest to be essential for God-conversation in New Zealand are…

  • (1) Christian influence in global history,
  • (2) Christian influence in early bicultural NZ history and
  • (3) Christianity at work in people’s lives today (a.k.a. testimony).

These three areas of story produce an ‘apologetic’ that is unarguable, because it is history, and it is about real life change.


What do we learn?

This community’s lack of awareness of this newish resource highlighted to me just how important our own travel to meet pastors groups, and to present at various moderately-attended combined church gatherings are. How else can strategic initiatives, visions, strategies and resources for effective outreach in our nation be shared in a timely manner? A relational network is needed – which necessitates travel.

As noted earlier, our team had in fact promoted the video series to this group of pastors and community. Somehow our recommendations hadn’t been noticed or trusted, and then shared with others. Our best efforts at communicating a particular perspective and vision for our nation had not succeeded. We can-but leave this with God, and keep trying – because of our conviction, for we really do believe that so much more is possible here in New Zealand.

Conclusion: The two resources I recommend as top-priority purchases for local NZ churches are…

  • #1. ‘Te Rongopai’ – a 65 minute long DVD documentary by Dr Stuart Lange, available for New Zealand Christian Network for about $30.
  • #2. ‘Jesus – the game changer’ – a series of 10 x 30 minute long documentaries by Karl Faase of Australia, available from a few places – including Willow Creek NZ for about $80.

I note that we have no personal financial connection to either of these resources. These are selflessly recommended, with the unchurched in mind.


Prayer: Lord, by whatever means, please help the Church in our nation to be suitably prepared to engage in these vital and needed conversations in the public square. Please help our own team to be effective encouragers within this picture.

For the sake of all who don’t yet know you we pray.


DAVE MANN. Dave is an Author and gifted communicator with a passion for the Gospel. This passion started when he came to faith at age 11. After Secondary School he went straight to Bible College, followed by 7 years in outreach ministry in New Zealand, then nearly 9 as a pastor in Singapore, before returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Dave is a visionary and fearless about pioneering initiatives aimed at helping the Church in New Zealand in the area of its mission. Author of various books and Tracts including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last”, “The Elephant in the Room” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
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