Messages written in May 2014:
From Alan Vink, Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ
Faith@Home NZ was established in 2012, as a ministry of Willow Creek NZ, in partnership with the founder of Faith@Home, Mark Holmen. During the early part of 2014 we have been working through some huge challenges around the funding and operational model of our ministry. We have all come to the conclusion that it is not sustainable. Therefore, we have had to make the difficult decision to cease the current partnership and close Faith@Home NZ, as of 16 May 2014.
Willow Creek NZ remains committed to the Faith@Home message and our partnership in the gospel with Mark Holmen, and sees this as a good part of the answer to the current crisis that the church is facing with so many young people disengaging from faith in their teens. We have been thrilled with the uptake of Faith@Home across churches in New Zealand so far, and the part we have been able to play in helping families build faith-filled homes.
Karen Steward and Rachel Cooke have worked extremely hard and diligently in this ministry and we at Willow Creek NZ wish Karen and Rachel all the best for the future. We pray that God will make clear a way forward to spread and sustain the Faith@Home message in New Zealand.
From Karen Steward, National Leader Faith@Home NZ
While Faith@Home NZ is closing, the Faith@Home message remains a passion of Rachel’s and mine, and we remain absolutely convinced that this message is vital for the church and ALL Christian families in NZ. Rachel and I will continue to embed Faith@Home in our own churches, and hope to continue to champion the message across our nation in whatever capacity we can.
It has been wonderful to build relationships with you all. On this Faith@Home journey we never believed that we could pull this off on our own and realised that it was only as we came together and began working together that we would see this movement gather momentum. Thank you so much for being the “friends of Faith@Home” that have kept Rachel and me going.
I truly believe that God’s purposes for Faith@Home will be worked out. Each step of the way we have sought God for the next step, and I have hope and a real sense that a new “ministry model” will emerge that will serve our country even better in the years to come. I would commend you to continue to pray for the spread of Faith@Home and God’s direction for the future. In fact, in one of our prayer times we felt encouraged by the picture that God spoke to us from Exodus 2:1-10. When Baby Moses was set adrift in his wee basket, God was watching over and caring for him, and Moses landed in the place of God’s appointing. I feel a bit like Moses’s sister Miriam watching on with a heart-invested interest to see what God will do. I am encouraged that I know the end of his story!
From Mark Holmen, Founder of Faith@Home
It has been a great relationship with Willow Creek Association NZ and the Faith@Home NZ Team as we have had the opportunity to launch and spread the Faith@Home movement across New Zealand. In a relatively short amount of time we have achieved a lot, thanks to Willow Creek’s commitment to the movement. I believe God brought us together and I will be forever grateful to Alan Vink for his leadership and support.
As we have repeatedly said, Faith@Home is a “heartbeat” that we are seeking to instil into the DNA of churches, and not a program nor a curriculum, which is its greatest strength but also its greatest weakness. The strength of the Faith@Home movement is that any church of any size can develop a customized Faith@Home strategy, which can be seen in the number of churches across the country and world that are already doing so. The weakness of the Faith@Home movement is that there is no consistent revenue stream coming in from a program or curriculum that can be used to fund the ministry and employ staff. We were hopeful that the Church Partner program that we introduced at the end of 2012 would provide some of the income we needed to establish a small team in NZ to continue to champion and serve the Faith@Home movement in country. But unfortunately our Church Partner program “over promised and under delivered”, as we simply didn’t have things as ready as we had hoped for.
We have recently hired Brian Siewert as our Ministries Director with a primary focus being on how to help churches and countries SUSTAIN their Faith@Home focus. We have done a good job getting churches excited and started with a Faith@Home focus and now we need to help them to continue to develop their strategies by connecting them to other like-minded churches, leaders and resources from all across the world. Brian has been working diligently to develop what will be an online international community and resource base for Faith@Home focused Partner Churches.
As you will be aware, funding is a critical component for all ministries, and moving forward we will need a ‘business model’ that offers multiple revenue streams to support a ministry that will be focused on growing and strengthening God’s Faith@Home movement in NZ. So along with a healthy and growing fees based Church Partner program, we will also need other income from ‘Angel Investors’ and churches or individuals who feel called to provide support from their Missions budgets so that a Faith@Home ministry can exist in NZ. If you are interested in supporting us in any way, please go to www.faithathomenz.com for opportunities to do so.
We are VERY excited about this new direction. We look forward to your engagement with us and we would welcome your comments, questions and concerns. We knew that reestablishing the home as the primary place where faith is nurtured would be an uphill battle, because Satan is not going to give up his foothold in homes easily. And that is precisely why we need your support to enable us to establish a long term Faith@Home ministry in NZ.
Faith@Home in NZ: Moving Forward
So moving forward:
- A new website for Faith@Home information has been established at www.faithathomenz.com. This site will eventually link into and out of the new International Partner Church Program website currently being developed.
- Willow Creek Association NZ will maintain this link to Faith@Home information in the short term.
- Faith@Home Books and DVD’s will still be available from Willow Creek NZ through the webshop, while stocks last.
Karen and Rachel will be keeping in contact with Mark and Brian, so you may hear from them from time to time with an update on ‘where things are at’ and when the new International Partner Church Program website is available. We will also post updates on the new www.faithathomenz.com website.
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