Who we are
NZCN is a collaborative New Zealand network of Christian people, churches, and organisations, established in 2002 by an inter-denominational forum of church leaders to help the church in New Zealand be more united and effective, and to present a reasoned, well-researched Christian voice on public issues to media and government. Our whakapapa goes back to the World Evangelical Alliance (1846 – ), the Evangelical Alliance (New Zealand), the Evangelical Fellowship of New Zealand, and Vision NZ.
We uphold historic Christian faith, reflecting a moderate biblical-evangelical perspective. We work across the denominations, and seek to serve the whole church, and to speak into both church and society. We provide platforms for united prayer, fellowship, and networking.
NZCN is not a council of churches but is involved with the National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand (many of them are also on our Board of Reference).
Our Christian faith perspective
In common with Christians across a very wide range of denominations and church traditions, across the globe, we uphold historic biblical, evangelical Christian faith, as expressed in our Statement of Faith. To be ‘evangelical’ simply means to accept the biblical Gospel. Evangelical Christians include – among others – those Gospel-minded Christians who might normally describe themselves as Pentecostal or Charismatic. It also needs to be said that for the vast majority of the 2 billion Christians around the world, the term ‘evangelical’ carries no political connotations at all. Members and leaders of NZCN are required to accept our statement of faith.
NZCN seeks to work constructively across all churches, and to help the church have a positive influence upon wider New Zealand society.
The purpose of the New Zealand Christian Network (NZCN) can be summarised as
To help Christians work together in unity
Prayer Breakfasts & Pray As One NZ
NZ Christian Leaders’ Congress
Connecting with pastors throughout the nation
To help resource, strengthen, and build the church of Aotearoa
Connecting people and organisations
Creating & curating online content & resources
Collaborating with experts
To speak constructively into New Zealand church and society
Preparing joint statements on behalf of NZ churches for the media
Presenting submissions to Parliament
Our commitment to the unity of Christians reflects Jesus’ teaching on loving one another
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
and also scriptures such as
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;”
What we do
NZCN helps bring New Zealand Christians together in greater unity, through…
- newsletters, website, and social media
- prayer breakfasts
- NZCN’s national on-line prayer movement (Pray As One NZ)
- forums and conferences, especially the New Zealand Christian Leaders’ Congress
- national events
- connecting with pastors’ groups around the country
- affiliations and partnerships
- forming focus groups on particular issues
- networking and facilitating collaboration
- participating in forums and consultations led by others
- participating in and serving the National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand
NZCN helps resource, strengthen and build the church of Aotearoa, through…
- encouraging prayer, including on-line prayer and prayer breakfasts
- creating, curating, and disseminating useful resources to build up Christians and New Zealand churches
- bringing together New Zealand Christians for sharing, inspiration, and collaboration
- forming focus groups to work through difficult matters and facilitate better outcomes
NZCN seeks to speak constructively into New Zealand church and society…
with grace and truth, with faithfulness to the Gospel and the Bible, with research and reason. With respect, and with sensitivity to the changing realities of New Zealand’s multi-faith, multi-generational, and liberalising society, we hold to the core tenets of the Christian faith.
A brief history
The New Zealand Christian Network was formed in September 2002, as the outcome of two meetings (chaired by John Walton) of about 70 church leaders from across the denominations.
NZCN directly follows in the footsteps of a number of earlier organisations: the Evangelical Alliance in the UK (1846 – ), the New Zealand Evangelical Alliance, the Evangelical Fellowship of New Zealand, and Vision New Zealand. Key leaders in those earlier New Zealand movements included Ray Windsor, John Fulford, Brian Hathaway, and Bruce Patrick. Vision New Zealand ran three national congresses (1993, 1997 and 1999, and NZCN has run five more (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017). From 2003-2017, Glyn Carpenter was NZCN National Director. He was succeeded by Stuart Lange.
Over the years NZCN has been active in publishing, speaking up through various media, participating in the Heads of Churches meeting, helping co-ordinate the 2014 bi-centenary, representing a biblical Christian position in inter-faith dialogues and in parliamentary select committees, and helping evangelical Christians network in areas such as prayer, marriage, sanctity of life, evangelism, business, and politics.
Until 2008, NZCN was named Vision Network of New Zealand. The Board decided the name should explicitly include the word ‘Christian’. Using the word ‘evangelical’ was also considered, but it was thought that the word ‘Christian’ is more better understood publically.
In 2020, a revised constitution was adopted by NZCN, and the governance Board (chaired by Mark Powell) was disestablished and replaced by a Working Board.
NZCN is the New Zealand member of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). The WEA was formed in Britain in 1846 and today is one of the three main global bodies representing Christians (approximately 650 million) along with the Catholic Church (1 billion) and the World Council of Churches (400 million). Pentecostals have a global body but their faith position largely overlaps with evangelicals and the two groups often merge together.
NZCN is one of 134 (independent) national evangelical alliances. Many of them, as in New Zealand, do not include the word ‘evangelical’ in their name, even though that does describe their faith position.
National alliances are affiliated with the WEA, and draw huge benefit from being part of such a global fellowship, but are not directed by the WEA.
The WEA has around 20 commissions, initiatives, and task forces. These include theology, women’s, missions, and religious liberties commissions, and task forces on creation care, nuclear weapons, peace, and conflict resolution.
In 2021, Rev Dr Brian Winslade (a member of the NZCN Working Board) was appointed a Deputy Secretary-General of the WEA. In 2019 Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau (also on the NZCN Working Board) was appointed the leader of WEA’s South Pacific region.