Do you know that in New Zealand we have a nationwide survey of church attenders? The Church Life Survey NZ (CLS) takes place every 5 years, in Census years.
Has your church significantly changed since the pandemic? The CLS is an opportunity to find out who is part of your church and what their demographic profile is.
The health of our people is important – perhaps more than ever. The CLS provides a snapshot of the spiritual health of your church.
Leaders who grow are leaders who seek out feedback on their leadership. The CLS provides feedback on your leadership and the future direction of your church.
Benchmarking your church against others is a healthy practice. The CLS enables you to benchmark your results against others in your group or denomination, and against national averages
You’re contributing to a national picture of NZ church life. The CLS provides meaningful information about the size & structure of the church in our nation. It’s unique, we don’t have other info like it.
The idea is to maximise participation within your church. The survey takes attenders 10-15 minutes to complete via smartphone, laptop or tablet, or pen & paper. A handy feature is that results are available in real time to church leaders. Both standard reports and you can build your own reports.
I believe the NZ Church would benefit from knowing more about ourselves, our church life, our faith life, our community interaction, and our opinions on the future of the Church. Good data helps inform wise decisions.
Already, many denominations, movements and churches from across NZ have signed up. It is simple to do so and at $60 for one church, it is very well priced for what you will receive.
Can I strongly encourage your church or denomination or movement to participate in the 2023 Church Life Survey NZ?
Register your group / denomination / movement or church at any time via the website. If you are registering as a group, do that first before you register churches within the group.
We very much encourage your local church to take part in the Church Life Survey, which happens every five years. Through this, leaderships of participating churches will receive excellent up-to-date data about their own churches. This includes your church’s demographics, and your own people’s involvement, beliefs, values, and attitudes. The aggregated (and anonymous) survey results also contribute to a much better understanding of the New Zealand church scene, across different generations, denominations, independent churches, regions and cities. Participating churches will easily be able to see how their own church fits into the wider picture.
Until the last week or so, hardly anyone in New Zealand had heard of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (Posie Parker). It’s a bit hard to be certain of the full range of her views, and how controversial they may or may not be. Clearly, though, her views are seen by some people as offensive.
In a free and open society, however, being offensive in the eyes of those who hold different views is not sufficient grounds for having your freedoms of opinion and expression denied.
It appears that, speaking as a woman, and from a secular feminist position, Mrs Keen-Minshull believes that a woman is an adult human female, she objects to trans women trying to redefine what a woman is, and she argues that many women do not feel safe with trans women in women’s own spaces.
If those are in fact her primary premises, they are not unreasonable. Indeed, they have long-established roots in human experience, culture, and biological science. Are such views truly so appallingly offensive and harmful that they must be declared inadmissible and unspeakable? If so, what can anyone safely think or say about anything?
In a free society, we all need to robustly defend the right of everyone else to express views we might deeply disagree with. That is part of the social contract that is basic to living in a democratic and open society.
It comes across as intolerant and potentially oppressive when people label as “hateful” any viewpoint that questions their own view of life, and then seek to silence it by law, slurs, and intimidation – and last week by an angry, screaming, violent mob, with limited police presence, and with apparent support from some media and politicians.
Tolerance needs to work both ways.
In a free, diverse, and genuinely inclusive society, we must allow everyone to speak, question, and debate. If that right is not robustly defended, our society will sooner or later end up a very strange and scary place.
Some Christians have wondered so. There are some grounds for that: God hates evil, God is on record (in biblical times) as punishing people and nations, there is much about New Zealand society that must be ethically and spiritually offensive to God, God has every right to punish, and one way or another we all deserve God’s chastening.
Most Christians would hesitate, though, to name specific natural disasters as God’s punishment. Can we be certain we definitely know God’s mind in this?
Biblically, natural disasters and human suffering in general are part of our fallen, sin-marred, groaning world (Romans 8:22). Human sinfulness has made a mess of God’s good creation, and continues to do so. Much suffering is also linked to ongoing human wrongdoing (our own, or that of others). And suffering happens to both believers and unbelievers.
Christians look forward to God’s justice one day being fully established, on the Day of Judgement, and in the new heaven and earth. In the meantime, it appears God in his mercy stays his hand, and all over the world much individual and societal sin remains unpunished for now.
Unquestionably, human suffering can provoke people to review their lives, and sometimes to reach out to God. This remains a great time for Christians to be praying for others around us, and for our society, and to be reaching out with Jesus’ love and grace.
Storms and quakes
The shocking devastation wreaked in New Zealand by the recent storms, and in Turkey and Syria by the earthquake, remind us that in this fallen world our safety can never be assumed. All human life is mortal and vulnerable, and God alone is our Rock and our eternal refuge. These were natural disasters, for sure, but there were also exacerbating elements of human culpability. These include unwise land use, and worldwide unwillingness to make the changes that could more effectively reduce climate change, and – in Turkey and Syria – the complicating factors of poverty, inadequate building standards, division, and civil war. For Christians, such events also remind us to pray for all those who have been traumatised, or mourn, or have suffered other great loss, and to love our neighbours and offer support and practical help to those who need it.
Understanding Gen Z
NZCN warmly encourages pastors, youth leaders, and young adults leaders to register for the free The Open Generation events, being held in four different centres around New Zealand. Sponsored by Alpha and World Vision, these seminars will unpack the results of Barna research on the thinking of Gen Z (ages 13-17) youth. The study explored the thinking of 25,000 teenagers across 26 countries. The aim of the study was to help ministry leaders understand how teenagers see their faith and the world, especially in relation to Jesus, the Bible, and Justice. Each event will feature David Kinnaman (CEO Barna group), Dr Sam Bloore (Venn Foundation), and a panel of local practitioners from each city.
Register yourself and any other leaders from your church for this free event, which will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.
The postponing of proposed Hate Speech amendment
NZCN was pleased to see the Government withdraw its proposed legislation on “hate speech”, an amendment to the Human Rights Act to outlaw incitements to hatred on the basis of “religion”. Almost everyone agrees that all incitements to hatred and violence are deplorable, and that the horrific attack on the Christchurch mosques was utterly inexcusable. The inclusion of “religion” as a category in the legislation was problematical, however, as NZCN pointed out in our submission. Among other things, which religions would be included, how do you define majority and minority religions, and could this inclusion inhibit proclamation or critique by anyone of any belief for fear that someone somewhere might lay a complaint that they were being hateful? NZCN suggested the matter needed to be thought through much more carefully. We also note that the matter has only been deferred, and that the Government has previously also wanted to include some other protected categories.
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?