We are a group of five churches located in a dynamic part of Wellington, influenced by the movie industry and proximity to the airport. There are a lot of people, but not a lot to go to local churches. So we connect to encourage each other and do some things none of us alone is big enough to pull off ourselves.
Encouragement-wise we meet together each month to encourage each other and last year tried our first prayer retreat together.
Being smallish one way we’ve chosen to help each other is to share our Sunday services over January. Our people appreciate worshipping out of different traditions (at least once a year!), and it’s encouraging to have a full church at a time of the year when we’d separately be very thin on the ground. Sharing services in January also helps each pastor to get a holiday with most of us still having school-aged children.
A practical hospitality that has developed as well. One church, after a series of sermons on generosity, was moved to give another church a totally unexpected and very generous donation.
Another gave up one of their worship buildings to accommodate one of our churches who had to move out for earthquake strengthening reasons.
We’ve managed to put on together a Community Christmas Carol event for a number of years, and recently started joining in with our Catholic brothers and sisters in processing the cross during their Easter vigil. When we were individually approached by a local dementia unit to offer worship services it seemed natural to form a mixed church ministry group. A healing rooms ministry has also begun as a cooperative effort.
The key word for our experience of unity is encouragement. And so we thank God for each other.
This story appears in the City by City e-book. City by City aims to help connect, encourage and resource prayerful, relationally based, networking and mission in towns, cities and regions across the nation.