I have heard many definitions of worship over the years – not all of them helpful, but Psalm 29:1-2 defines it very simply, namely giving God the honour he deserves. Rick Warren says: Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship.[i] So, worship is not so much a “Bless me” exercise as a “Bless God” exercise. Continue reading
Martin is the editor of Candour and a minister in the team at The Village Church, Christchurch.
A few weeks in Wellington I photographed Finn, my seven-month old grandson, revelling in the wonder of a Wellington gale. I was about to head to the airport to fly home. I was dreading the flight because of the intensity of the gale, and I was eventually held up on the tarmac for almost two hours because of that wind! But there was Finn, throwing his head back in laughter as he delighted in the wonder of wind! Continue reading
Recently the Government opened a public consultation process on the upcoming Zero Carbon Bill. They are requesting online submissions from individuals and organisations as to how and in what timeframe Aotearoa transitions to a net zero economy. Here’s why it’s worth taking the time to read the discussion document, and to consider making a submission as an individual, as a parish council, or to recommend it to your congregation. Continue reading
Tom Mepham is a first-year ministry intern with KCML and a co-leader of Student Soul, a young adult congregation in Dunedin.
Since 1995’s General Assembly we have used a model for assessing the well-being of our Church called “Healthy Congregations” (see Appendix 1 in Strategic Directions). This provides us with a way to measure the health of each parish in the PCANZ. Putting this model to work would be the equivalent of sending a congregation to the doctor’s office for a full-scale health check up; and by extension, measuring the overall health of the whole PCANZ.
I wonder how healthy we are!
This model uses a qualitative assessment process (as is appropriate for measuring the most important things in church life) and focuses on four relationships: a congregation’s relationship with God; with the wider environment; with the wider church, and within it’s own life. (These are similar to the four relationships used in UK church circles: UP, OUT, OF, IN).
If I can read our most recent stats correctly (which is not a given, I assure you!), it appears that we have 273 parishes around the country. I don’t see the statistic about the number of congregations within these parishes, but the Mission Clarity document says 400. So I would like to know… how many congregations out of 400 would pass their “Healthy Congregation” check up?
Now, I fully appreciate that measuring health is an ongoing process, like sanctification, and it doesn’t just stop when a focus-group delivers a report. Even getting to the stage of having an accurate diagnosis of a congregation is a lot of work. So why bother going through with this measurement?
We bother, according to Strategic Directions, because “the local church is the agent of mission” and the whole point of being a national Church/denomination/network is that together we are more effective at “developing and sustaining healthy congregations for mission” than we would be alone.
I have some questions:
- How many of 400 congregations have undertaken a formal process to assess their health?
- How many are currently doing this process?
- What do we do with persistently unhealthy congregations?
- How many unhealthy congregations do we have?
- What percentage of our congregations need to be “healthy” to give the PCANZ as a whole a pass mark?
- Is there any way to measure the health of a denomination other than through a system-wide assessment of its congregations?
I’m not emotionally invested in the Healthy Congregations model. I was 9 years old when General Assembly approved it, and I haven’t read the minutes. Still, I can appreciate its value. Is it still a useful measure of our effectiveness in mission? If so, how do we ensure we’re putting it fully to work?
As it is a General Assembly gathering this year, maybe it’s a good time to ask for PCANZ to go for a check-up. We have a working measurement (and have had for 23 years). What’s the doctor going to say: are we headed for surgery? Going on a diet? Starting an exercise regime? Might we be talking hospice care? Or are the vital signs looking good?
Let’s find out!
In late May or early June each year, the Pleiades – or Matariki as it is known by Maori – star cluster becomes visible in New Zealand. This signals the Maori New Year. In this article, the Rev Hone Te Rire shares the significance of Matariki.
Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters in the Taurus constellation. Matariki is also associated with the winter solstice. Matariki translates to “Eyes of God” (mata – ariki) or ‘Little Eyes’ (mata – riki). This star cluster rises in the last days of May or early June. This heralds the Maori New Year.
Every year during the month of Matariki, whanau gather to commemorate loved ones passed, and to celebrate the birthdays of newer additions to the family. It is a time where whanau gathered together to celebrate unity, faith and hope through aroha. Celebratory feasts were held as whanau gathered around the table. Continue reading
Phillip Donnell is the Director of New Creation New Zealand, which seeks to assist churches in their pursuit of creation care.
For some time now it has been generally accepted that the humanly-induced increase of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, nitrous oxide and methane, in the earth’s atmosphere has been environmentally damaging. These gases deplete the protective ozone layer, absorb sunlight, and lead to global warming. Some people, of course, still deny that this is happening, or that we are exacerbating it, but according to the American scientist James Powell, of the 25,000 pieces of peer-reviewed literature about global warming written between 1991 and 2014, only 0.1% deny that global warming is a reality and humans are contributing to it. Continue reading