by Ben Mai. Auckland Church Leaders (photo coutesy Samual Ferrara Unsplash)
It’s known colloquially as the City of Sails, and there’s something spectacular about being out on the Waitematā on a beautiful summers’ day. But I think Auckland is more aptly described as the City of Diversity – around 160 languages are spoken, 2 in every 5 Aucklanders are born overseas, there are huge, palatial homes and affluence in some suburbs, while others experience cold, damp housing and the highest concentration of poverty in Aotearoa.
What of the Church in Auckland? Well, it reflects the diversity of the city in a beautiful way. From traditional expressions of faith to more contemporary, from English-speaking services to those where many of the 160 languages are spoken and sung out in worship.
What if this diverse Church could be united? What if church leaders in Auckland could come together in the name of Christ, to build relationship, listen and learn from one another, pray together, then plan and work together for the peace & prosperity of the city? It’s a big question, an ambitious vision, but this is what Auckland Church Leaders are starting to do.
Photo shows just some of the Auckland city Church leaders . . .
Pastor Jonathan Dove, Chair: Auckland Church Leaders
Auckland Church Leaders are a group of denominational heads and senior pastors of large churces, all based in Auckland. The group have met regularly for a number of years, and are now chaired by Jonathan Dove, Senior Pastor of GraceCity Church (formerly Greenlane Christian Centre). Most mainstream denominations are represented in this group – Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Congregational, EFKS Samoan, Alliance Churches, Seventh-Day Adventist, Salvation Army, Assemblies of God, Vineyard, Elim and others – alongside large independent churches such as LIFE, Church Unlimited, City Impact Church. It is a widespread, diverse group.
There’s a sense in the group that God is calling us to a greater level of unity; to come together to repair the walls of the Church, and to repair the walls of the city, each one playing their part. This foundation of unity is vital; it must always be built upon, not eroded. We believe it can be built through uniting in prayer – for large-scale events such as the annual Auckland Prayer Breakfast, and for frequent, smaller and more intimate gatherings. We believe it can be built through relationship, and desire that pastors across the city are connected – that each has opportunity to be part of a pastors network in their part of the city. We want to collaboratively form a vision of a transformed city, one where the Church, Christian not-for-profit agencies and the likes of civic organisations - where appropriate - are working together for the peace & prosperity of Auckland. This vision will be long-term, looking ahead 10+ years, with plenty of space for the Holy Spirit to nudge us where He wants us to go.
Auckland Sky tower photo courtesy Josh Young Unsplash
We’re excited that around 17 leaders will come together for a 2-day gathering in March 2022 to build relationship, pray, dream, share, strategize and seek God together.
When we look around at our divided and somewhat anxious city, this type of demonstration of unity in the Church is what’s needed. In God’s grace and timing, let’s unite so we can heal, move forward and share Jesus’ love across Auckland.
Ben & Aimee Mai.
(BEN is the Manager for: Auckland Church Leaders)