By CCCNZ Auckland Mission Enabler Lui Ponifasio
Auckland has become one of the most diverse cities of the world with over 200 different ethnic groups and it is the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world.
About 40% of Auckland’s population are born overseas. According to the 2018 Census 28% of Aucklanders identified as Asian. This is an increase from 5% in the 1990s.
A Wilberforce Foundation Study in 2013 shows that—when compared to Wellington and Christchurch—Auckland has the lowest proportion of residents who identify with Christianity, suggesting migration is an influencing factor.
With that information available to us, the question we need to ask now is:
“How do we position ourselves to evangelise the world at our doorstep, in a time when it seems like we are dwindling in numbers?”
Planting revitalises the Church
I have been involved in several church plants both locally and overseas. I have observed that the process of starting a church is vitally important whether you are part of a flourishing church or a struggling congregation.
The process of planting invigorates the whole congregation. Human wisdom says congregations will feel discouraged to ‘lose’ people as they move plant churches, but the opposite is often true: People begin praying and fasting specifically as they hear a gospel-centred vision to plant a church, and the desire to make disciples. They are prompted to give time and finances.
Church planting or re-planting brings freshness and vitality. Tim Keller says:
“A vigorous and continuous approach to church planting is the only way to guarantee an increase in the number of believers, and is one of the best ways to renew the whole body of Christ.”
Reaching the world at our doorstep
Another question is:
“How can we best present the gospel and make disciples of people that are different from our own ethnic mix?”
We have an amazing opportunity before us to present the gospel—not just to Auckland but to New Zealand.
Most mission leaders around the world believe that church planting is the best form of evangelistic method under the sun.
We need to plant new churches to reach the variety of people in different cultures and subcultures. For example, we have seen a sharp rise in secularism in New Zealand. The Wilberforce Study tells us it is a result of no religious tradition in youth. So planting new churches that will reach young couples and their children is crucial.
Church planting works. We have been church planting for 2000+ years. Every church that is functioning today—including the one you are currently attending—has been planted.
People had a vision, and sacrificed their money and time to start a church, so that people like yourself can one day encounter Jesus as Lord, and be nurtured and discipled.
If you or your church world like to explore the possibility of planting a new church in Auckland, please get in touch with Lui Ponifasio firstname.lastname@example.org