2014 is going to be a very special year here in New Zealand. It will mark the bicentenary (200 year anniversary) of the first recorded Christian message coming to New Zealand. It is well-known that Samuel Marsden was the first foreign missionary to preach the message of Christ here on the north island, but because of Marsden's limitations in Te Reo Maori, it was really the Maori leader Ruatara who gave the message to the people in a way they could understand.
200 years later this unique corner of the planet is home to a most
interesting mix of Pacific Island, Maori, Asian, and European cultures, giving life here a rather unique flavour. It is also now the most secular
English-speaking nation in the developed world. Both religious and
cultural pluralism are alive and well in our land, which poses unique
challenges for the task of evangelism, and for me personally as a pastor in Whangarei.
The Hope Project 2014 is a nation-wide endeavour to get the transforming news of life in Jesus Christ back into every home in New Zealand. Though this project is intentionally multi-media in nature (using social networking, websites, TV, radio and letterbox drops), its true beauty lies in its purpose: to get Christians having natural conversations with their neighbours about life and faith. Nothing can ever replace real life relationships and conversations with real people who have had real life-changing encounters with the living God.
In our post-modern context where moral relativism is king, it is the goal of the Hope Project that:
Some sceptics will find reason to become seekers. Some seekers will find reason to become believers in Jesus. Some believers will find reason to become witnesses.
It is a call for all Christians across New Zealand to wake up and start talking with the people around them about Jesus and for churches to partner together for the greater good of seeing people saved and set free by Christ.
Could you please join me in praying for this project? The logistics and practicalities of a project this size are quite large; they are God-sized challenges. We must raise $1.2 million by July in order to move forward with the creation of some of the publications and websites so that they can be ready for distribution by Easter 2014. We also need a great sense of unity and partnership among pastors and church leaders in every city nation-wide. These are God-sized challenges. . .but then again, we have God!
Please feel free to check out the Hope Project 2014 website for more info: http://www.hopeproject.co.nz/