10 Nov, 2014 We rejoice. Heaven rejoices. Thank You!

After the most hectic year of my life the first phase has been achieved, and my mind has space to reflect on things other than only ‘core business’ – like blogs.

For me, a big thank you… …is the first thing that needs communicating. This project was considered impossible by many. An attempt of a similar media project fell over several years ago because, while the funds were potentially covered for that one, getting broad partnership so that people at the grassroots would be prepared to engage the conversations was found to be extremely difficult. What point is there is spending money to communicate a message broadly if the ‘sales reps’ on the ground are not ready to engage the conversation? While there is still some reason, it was this lack of willing partnership that resulted in the effort being cancelled. The greatest challenge of this project has never been finance – it has always been vision and belief.

For those who were involved in pulling this together there is now a sense of relief. Many would not support something they could not see and touch. Many churches watched, as did many possible funders, because they had no basis off which to work out if they could trust this. This meant that a small group had to sacrifice extensively to enable this. Finally the first project has happened and what this is all about can be seen.

  1. The booklet can be seen via the ‘e-book’ page at HopeProject.co.nz.
  2. The TV ads can be viewed via the Hope Project Youtube channel (find it via a video at the above website).
  3. And the many online resources can be found via that website, as well as the ‘gospel and discipleship website called 10DayChallenge.co.nz, and the church resourcing website called AllTogether.co.nz

How did it go?

The most important measurable is lives:

  1. I think of someone who emailed via 10DayChallenge.co.nz to say, “I was really struck by your booklet. I just wanted you to know that. I feel like I’m starting a whole new life.”
  2. I had a call from a friend who said her church had two people walk in during the week to ask about Christian faith after having read the booklet.
  3. I think of a phone call from a pastor who told me someone came to faith this past Sunday who had visited their church because of the project.
  4. Some church people even opted to take booklets to the doors of the ‘no circulars’ homes to offer them these as a gift. Some of these people had amazing conversations – because New Zealanders are spiritual people! This project didn’t ‘preach’ at anyone – it invited a conversation, and – as with any normal conversation – only proceeded if both parties wanted it to go further. Many engaged in conversations that went further!

People have been impacted, and most of those who have been impacted are unknown to us. They will be discovered in the coming months and few years as people and pastors relay stories to us.

In terms of other things we can measure at this point:

  • The TV ads connected with 1.7m people (aged 18 to 54)
  • Booklets went to 1.4m NZ homes
  • Re our websites – this is the one area of the project we were disappointed with. Advice is now being sought so our online presence can be more effective in the second and third phases of the project. Unfortunately, the only way to learn some lessons is through experience. We are gaining experience.
  • Regarding partnership with churches, we had 330 partnering churches prior to 1st October (with 100 more partnering during October),
    …80% of whom equipped at or above a basic level,
    …equating to over 50,000 church members who were equipped to some extent by their pastors, primarily using resources and approaches we created and passed on for free.

Other significant successes

  • Stories from our nations early history and of the Christian message were communicated with 1.4m homes, yet didn’t get overwhelming negative feedback as a result of talking about Christian spiritual beliefs.
  • By applying values such as authenticity, respect, gentleness and a conversational approach –while still communicating the gospel clearly – the project ‘endeared’ a level of respect.
  • 2 cities and 8 towns delivered booklets themselves, while over 30 cities/towns/suburbs delivered booklets to people at the doors of the ‘no circulars’ houses. In each case those who were involved in the delivery would have valued the materials more because of their efforts, better enabling meaningful conversations about them (which is our hope from this part of the effort).
  • We created almost 100 quality videos, in several different genres, found via three different websites, all of which exist as an ongoing resource for churches and outreach.
  • We believe the 10DayChallenge.co.nz stands out as a pioneer discipleship resources, and pray it has a bright future.

In terms of the budget for Phase I:

The budget was $1.3m. We have run the project significantly UNDER budget, providing healthy cash flow for the second phase.

So, thank you!

We could have built a small church building or a new church foyer with the same amount – but instead we helped the Christian message be heard in hundreds of thousands of homes from Kaitaia to Bluff. With a limited budget, much was accomplished – the full fruit of which we may never know in this life.

As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 10, ‘How will they know unless someone tells them?’ The Christian Church has the greatest message of hope on earth in its hands. Its a message that has revolutionised the western world – opening the way for scientific endeavour, for respect for life, for kindness instead of only ‘self-advancement’ or ‘survival of the strongest’, for belief in the equality of all people, for education for all, for generosity toward the poor, to healthcare freely given – and much more. The message just broke out of the 4 walls of many churches. This is something to rejoice at!

Next steps?

Our hope, as expressed at AllTogether.co.nz at the moment, is to do Phase II next April, and Phase III at Easter 2016. These remaining two efforts would complete the original vision of providing a short series of conversation starters, with good content, available for all who are interested – yet not pushed upon any who are not interested.

We thank God for the partners this effort has found with many churches and people throughout this nation, and pray we will be able to continue to work together to see the vision completed.

End goal?

As an end goal, our hope is that there will be readiness by the conclusion of the third phase for the most important conversation this project could initiate: A conversation about how we could sustainably get the communication of the Christian message out of the ‘too hard basket’ in our churches. How could we get the mission of the Church to truly and recognisably again become the mission of many local churches? This is a most-challenging question, and the greatest possible win of this project – because it is the key that can unlocks the door to help the Christian Church bring about its greatest possible good in society, for the benefit of all.

Thank you to all!

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” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
Previous Article
Next Article