In Europe and America they have been commemorating D-Day, when 75 years ago young men landed on the beaches of Normandy, under the most harrowing of circumstances,to end four years of Nazi control over Western Europe.
I have heard stories of immense bravery, of men overcome with fear,who battled on with the choice to either fight or die. Knowing their every act, no matter how smallcounted, they could not let their comrades down.
The English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, French, Belgiums, Dutch, Poles, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Indians, to name a few, were united in their pursuit of victory and freedom from German oppression.
They put aside their cultural and geographic differences to battle for a much greater cause and destiny.
Battle for the Kingdom
Similarily, we are facing a battle for the Kingdom of God in our cities and towns. Religious freedom is under attack. Christian values are being undermined and watered down. Questions are being asked about the value of the Church in society and now some people are asking whether churches should qualify for a tax rebate on their donations.
Many people are unaware of the value Christianity has played in establising many of the attitudes and values that underpin our laws, education and codes of behaviour in New Zealand society.
Neither are people aware of the early Christian influence in charitable works in the absence of Government social welfare policies. Christians establised orphanages, homes for ‘fallen women’, food banks and help for the poor.
The good news is that Christians are doing amazing things all across New Zealand, but it is seldom noticed or picked up by the media.
Now is the time for that to change.
Owning your place
Imagine the possibility of Christians uniting for a common cause. Coming together in love to take responsibilityfor the health, well-being and prosperity of their towns and cities.
Recognising that although they represent different churches, and each may worship in their own style, these differences are tiny compared to the God they worship.
Imagine Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and the Salvation Army uniting to feed the poor, fight isolation and loneliness and battle drug and alcohol addictions in their regions.
Envision united churches refusing to accept suicide and poverty and bringing forth a 15 year vision to transform their placefor God’s gloryand serving people in love.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these churches were not just housed in a building, but out on the streets, in the schools, universities, community centres, hospitals and prisons.Churches running youth groups, kids clubs, counselling services, budget advice, womens groups, mens breakfasts, prayer meetings, healing rooms and mums and toddlers clubs.
And these churches wouldnot just be open on Sundays but have influence 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the cultural, social and spiritual transformation of their communities.
Many churches are running the above programmes in isolation butit would be fantastic if these activities could be organised in a combined way for maximum effectiveness. Now is the time for churches to unite for a common cause and more powerful Kingdom influence.
This church unityis not a dream but a developing reality in the United Kingdom and is poised to happen in Australia and New Zealand.
It is already happening in some regions in New Zealand, for example, Whanganui.
This development requires unity of purpose and mission and effective partnering and collaboration and a movement has been birthed in New Zealand to facilitate this called City by City.
Are we willing to take responsibility for the manifest presence of God in our regions?
Who doour churches already partner with? What contacts do we have with other churches? Who could we unite with?
What could our places look like in 15-years time?
To join this movement and find out more go to City by City. https://www.citybycity.co.nz
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Wayne worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.