The Lord's Church in Wellington, New Zealand
By Kevin Moore
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand as well as the commercial and cultural center of this South Pacific nation. It is located at the southern tip of the North Island and has a total population of 325,000. The Lord's work in Wellington began in 1963 when Ralph Ellis, Jerry Starling, Eddie Cantrell, Doyle Wright and their families moved here. A building was purchased and contacts and conversions were made through Vacation Bible Schools, gospel meetings, campaigns, extensive visitation, and home Bible studies.
Other workers who have served in Wellington have included Cliff Lyons, Rod Kyle, Pat McGee and I. The church has steadily grown through the years, but suffered a major setback in 1983 when about half the members were lost because of false teachers. The church has since recovered and prospered.
I moved to Wellington in 1987 to work with the church for the next seven years. During this time, the church had its share of ups and downs like any growing congregation, but the Lord richly blessed it. The church building had to be extended in 1992 to accommodate numerical growth (reaching an average of 110). Outreach efforts have included letter boxing, newspaper advertising, door to door evangelism, university campus evangelism, home Bible studies, campaigns, gospel meetings, and personal contacts. Thorough follow-up on new converts and the exercise of biblical discipline have been important ingredients in the growth of the church.
The Wellington congregation is also active in benevolence and both foreign and domestic mission work, supporting efforts throughout New Zealand and in eight other countries. Leadership training classes have contributed to a large percentage of the membership being actively involved in teaching and outreach. Eight men in the congregation presently participate in the public preaching of the gospel. Three have pursued training at the East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions in the U.S. with a desire to become full-time evangelists. A number of Christians from Wellington have relocated to other cities in New Zealand and several foreign countries where they are actively engaged in the work of the Lord.
In addition to Sunday services, there are three midweek Bible classes, two weekly ladies classes, an active youth group, regular fellowship activities, and a family camp each year.
From its inception, the Wellington congregation has been a multicultural church with up to sixteen different ethnic groups being represented at one time.
The church in Wellington is now self-supporting. Despite having no full-time worker, the local brethren faithfully carry on the Lord's work themselves. The primary goals of the church are the following: (1) Pay off the cost of the recent building extension; (2) begin supporting their own full-time local evangelist; (3) appoint qualified elders and deacons; (4) establish another congregation in the northwestern suburbs of the city.
Naturally, the congregation is not free from all problems. A sound, mature evangelist would be of great value in providing direction and leadership. But we can thank God for the light that presently shines in New Zealand's capital city.
If you are interested in working in New Zealand or would like more information about the Lord's church in that nation, please contact me at Box 87, Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn. 383402399.