Christmas and Christians
As Christians, we need to work hard to keep Christ central to Christmas. Our modern secularised society primarily sees Christmas as a special festive family get-together, with lots of food and drink, and as the start of the summer holiday season. Such a cultural tradition has its place, for sure, despite the pressures of getting everything ready.
For many people, the baby Jesus is at least faintly in the mix. But the true story of Christ’s incarnation has been generally eclipsed by the commercially-driven modern myth of Santa, flying reindeers, and loads of presents coming down every chimney (notwithstanding the distant thread of connection with a fourth century Christian bishop). And likewise overshadowed by other elements that make up a typical Kiwi Christmas.
However society at large may choose to celebrate Christmas, let us as Christian believers make Christ central, and be moved again in wonder that the infinite Creator and Lord of the universe has in his Son taken flesh and become God-with-us, to reveal more fully the love and truth of God, and to die and rise for our salvation.
New Zealand Christian Leaders Congress
We have received many highly positive responses to the news that next year, 19-21 September, NZCN will be hosting the 9th New Zealand Christian Leaders Congress. Many people sense that the time is right for Christian leaders to gather together, to hear from one another, and above to listen to what God is telling us. Read all about it here: What will it be like having 200+ New Zealand Christian leaders gathering together in the same room? Please (1) block out your diary for those dates (2) Keep letting us know about topics and speakers (and seminars) that you feel would be great for us to have (3) Remember this event in prayer.
NZCN’s Christmas and summer holiday close-down
The convenience of having an online membership with NZCN means that our church and Christain organisation members are still able to post new listings on our website. So, even though we won’t be sending out newsletters over the next six weeks, you can always check the website for new opportunities and to see what’s going on.
Please send a message if you need to get in touch and we will get back to you when we are able.
We wish you Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia!
What will it be like having 200+ New Zealand Christian leaders gathering together in the same room?
We believe it will be stimulating, inspiring, challenging, thought-provoking, instructive, encouraging, Gospel-minded, and biblically grounded!
When will this happen?
From 6.00pm Tuesday 19 September 2023 to 3.30pm on Thursday 21 September 2023
Who is invited?
Pastors, church leaders, Christian organisation leaders, Christian leaders from different denominations, generations and cultures
Why at this time?
In our fast-changing and increasingly non-Christian society, Christian leaders need to reflect together, and to learn from one another about how we may best we live and communicate the Good News of Jesus in our contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand society
What topics will be featured?
State of the nation thinking about New Zealand churches and our current context in New Zealand (and if there are matters you really want to be covered, please tell us!)
Will there be workshops, seminars, and breakout rooms?
Yes, heaps of them
Will there be well-known overseas speakers who we may have seen on-line anyway?
No, that is not what we are aiming for. This is a New Zealand gathering, and we want to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to us through one another
Will there be long boring speeches?
No. The input will be quick-fire, and closely timed
Will there be opportunity to discuss, and to respond?
Will there be time to hang-out with friends and meet new ones?
Will there be worship, testimony, and prayer?
Where is the venue?
In South Auckland, near to the airport
Is this an Auckland event?
No, it is a national event (and it is in Auckland this time because it immediately follows the National Church Leaders meeting)
Will there be food?
Will there be accommodation on site?
Will it cost a lot to attend?
Do we have to be signed up members of NZCN to attend?
No (but it’s always a great idea to become NZCN member)
Can churches or organisations bring a team?
Yes, by all means
Can other organisations partner with NZCN to hold this event?
Yes, please get in touch (and also about having promotional booths, running workshops, suggesting speakers etc)
And what is this gathering?
It is the 9th NEW ZEALAND CHRISTIAN LEADERS’ CONGRESS (September 2023)
Should we immediately put this our diaries/calendars and keep it free?
Should we start praying for this gathering?
A couple of weeks ago NZCN news reflected on the ongoing necessity of Christian believers sharing the good news of Jesus with others – in conversations, and in the teaching and preaching of our churches. We need to do that in ways which are loving, prayerful, clear, respectful, authentic, faithful, and empathetic.
From time to time, in addition to our everyday witness to Christ, there also come opportunities for large numbers of churches to work together in mass evangelistic gatherings. In 1959 and 1969, the Billy Graham meetings had a major spiritual impact on New Zealand.
Such an opportunity is again occurring very soon, with meetings in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland, at which Billy Graham’s son Franklin will speak. In a number of countries, Franklin Graham has proven to be an effective evangelist in his own right.
CHRISTCHURCH: 12 Nov, 6.30 p.m. in the Christchurch Arena
WELLINGTON: 16 Nov, 6.30 p.m. in the TSB Arena
AUCKLAND: 19 Nov, 6.30 p.m. in the Trusts Arena
The meetings will also feature live music.
All these events are free of charge, and everyone is welcome. Through the generosity of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, these events are at no cost to New Zealand.
No tickets are required, and coming early is strongly recommended. See the NZ God Loves You Tour website, which includes downloadable FAQ answers to practical questions about admission, transport, parking, and so on.
Like all of us, and like all Christian leaders, Franklin Graham is less than perfect. Some Christians in New Zealand – including NZCN leaders – have earlier raised questions about some of the opinions Franklin Graham has previously expressed in the context of American politics and culture wars. In some of those matters we may agree with him, in some we may disagree, in some we may be not like the way he said it, and in some we may see little or no relevance to New Zealand. We have been very strongly assured, however, that Franklin Graham is coming to New Zealand solely to preach the Gospel, and that he will stay clear of secondary and political matters.
There are several ways in which we can help these events to have a deep spiritual impact…
- Prayerfully INVITE friends and family members, and accompany them to the event.
- As an individual or a church, arrange or participate in a GROUP BOOKING, to facilitate bringing as many people as possible to the event. The BGEA says that 80% of those who respond to the Gospel at such events are invited by a friend, and 75 percent of those came by the same means of transport. Your church may want to arrange hiring buses.
- Above all, PRAY that God may move powerfully by his Holy Spirit, and that large numbers of people may come to faith and become committed followers of Jesus. Pray that these coming events are part of a much wider (and much needed) spiritual movement in New Zealand towards faith in Jesus.
The essence of church is about gathering together as the Lord’s people, for fellowship, worship, prayer, proclamation of Christ, the teaching of the word, encouragement, and serving others.
Through the pandemic, most churches have continued to function, using online options, small groups, and different types of church services, but it has undoubtedly been challenging.
The easing of gathering limits (25 March) this week) and the end of vaccination passport requirements (4 April) will be a welcome relief to most churches. Larger gatherings will be possible, and the church can begin to put behind us some of the complexities and consternations of the last few months.
Let’s pray that, in this new and different phase of Covid, Christians may relate to one another with grace, respect, and humility, that churches may steadily recover their life together, that churches may reach out to those members who have become less connected or have felt disaffected, that we may discern what God has been showing us in these difficult times, and that we may more effectively communicate the hope and truth of Christ around us who those who are spiritually adrift.
15 March 2022
His Holiness Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Russian Orthodox Church
We write to you as brothers and sisters in Christ and as national leaders of most church denominations in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We are deeply disturbed by what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment, the bombings, the civilian deaths, the major refugee crisis.
We are fearful of further escalation of the situation that would put even more people in danger. We are united in our request that you use your voice and significant influence to call for an end to the hostilities in Ukraine and intervene with authorities in your nation to do so. We make this appeal with no political agenda but rather in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ whose love transcends the narrow claims of all nations and ideologies.
We are in the season of Lent. In that Lenten spirit, we ask you to prayerfully consider the steps you can take to influence peaceful solutions.
As the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, you have the holy opportunity to play an historic role in helping to bring a cessation of senseless violence and a restoration of peace. We pray you will do so, and our prayers will accompany you, as together we yearn for the biblical vision of peace that is found in Isaiah 2:4:
Then He will judge between the nations
and arbitrate for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer take up the sword against nation,
nor train anymore for war.
Respectfully Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Members of National Church Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rev Andrew Marshall
National Leader – Alliance Churches of New Zealand
Archbishop Phillip Richardson
Archbishop Don Tamihere
Bishop Justin Duckworth
Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia
Pastor Illiafi Esera
National Superintendent – Assemblies of God in New Zealand
Pastor Charles Hewlett
National Leader – Baptist Churches of New Zealand
Pastor Steve Burgess
Senior Leader – C3 Church
Pastor Brent Liebezeit
President – Christian Churches New Zealand
Interim National Superintendent – Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Peter Mortlock
Senior Pastor – City Impact Church
Rev Moegauila Lasei
Chairman – Congregational Union of New Zealand
Pastor Sam Monk
National Leader – ACTS Churches New Zealand
Pastor Boyd Ratnaraja
National Leader – Elim Church of New Zealand
Bishop Mark Whitfield
Lutheran Church of New Zealand
Rev Andrew Doubleday
President – Methodist Church of New Zealand
Pastor Adam White
Leader – New Life Churches International
Pastor Eddie Tupa’i
President – New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
Rev Hamish Galloway
Moderator – Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Anne and Alistair Hall
Yearly Meeting Co-Clerks – Religious Society of Friends, Te Hāhi Tūhauwiri
Cardinal John Dew
Commissioner Mark Campbell
Territorial Commander – The Salvation Army
Pastor David MacGregor
National Director – Vineyard Churches
Rev Brett Jones
National Superintendent – Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand
Rev Dr Stuart Lange
Director – New Zealand Christian Network
Glyn very capably served as National Director of NZCN from 2003 to early 2017.
Coming to Christ as an adult, Glyn was a man of convinced Christian faith. He had a strong Gospel focus, and a keen social conscience.
Glyn was personable, a superb networker, and was well-known among a great many Christians the length and breadth of New Zealand. He had a gift for connecting people, and for getting them to work together on important projects. He was always eager that the church in New Zealand should conduct itself well in a secularising and increasingly un-Christian society, and had a heart for Christians to work together well, and for reconciliation. Glyn was well-read, thought matters through deeply, and had a good eye for different sides of various issues. He was not afraid at times to speak up for a minority viewpoint.
Glyn became closely involved in the National Church Leaders’ gatherings, where his wisdom and bridge-building was much valued. Glyn was also very supportive of New Zealand’s bi-cultural journey. He vigorously supported the Te Rongopai video documentary, and was also the driving force behind the Gospel Bicentenary Statement.
Glyn’s thoughtfulness, networking skills, and wide vision also saw him become very involved internationally, through the World Evangelical Alliance as the Secretary General of the South Pacific.
Finally, the strength of Glyn’s Christian faith and character shone through as he bravely and prayerfully fought terminal cancer. We know he is now with the Lord, and Christine and family are in our prayers.
The funeral service for Glyn Carpenter will be livestreamed from 2pm on Friday 17 December at https://youtu.be/tPhJNwjgzW4