New Evangelical movement planned in New Zealand
Five senior pastors from New Zealand, including Presbyterian moderator Rob Yule, are discussing the introduction of a new evangelical movement modelled on the Evangelical Alliance. Initiated by Pentecostal leader John Walton, the group met with 70 senior pastors in March. A further meeting is planned for September.
Yule says the initiative builds on the Evangelical Fellowship of New Zealand (EFNZ) and an evangelical networking movement called Vision New Zealand. Yule was involved in the formation of the EFNZ in 1986 and is involved with Vision New Zealand. The new alliance will have more structure, funding and formal membership, although the group is in the early discussion stages.
There has been an explosion of Pentecostal and charismatic congregations in New Zealand during the past three years. Although the new alliance is Pentecostal driven, it aims to encompass all evangelical groups.
“The key thing is to create a movement of Christians who will take the bible seriously,” Yule says. “There’s a real attempt to reach out to other groups within the body of Christ.”
Spokesperson Bruce Patrick, a Baptist pastor, says the church in New Zealand is silent and a Christian voice is needed. He hopes the new evangelical movement will be a platform where the church can provide a credible voice, particularly to politicians and with media.
The evangelical movement aims to attract relevant spokespersons from groups who come together to express their views.
“They are not speaking on behalf of the churches. They have come to get some action,” Patrick says.
“The evangelical church is not being heard because we are not speaking.”
Patrick considers the church needs to advance of the kingdom of God and disciple the nation back to a Christian and biblical world view. He says the new evangelical movement is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.