Connect 2019

Once again, we have been staggered by the post feedback we received from Connect 2018. We are so thankful for each person who attended, because we know the awesome vibe we had at Connect came from you.

Connect has been based in El Rancho in Wellington for the past 3 years and before we sign on the dotted line to run Connect 2019 at El Rancho, we thought it was a good time to pause, reflect, survey our people, and seek God’s will for the venue for next year.

For both Matt and I in our quiet time we have had a sense that Connect 2019 should happen on our national Marae in Ohope. We have a sense, this would be an amazing shared experience for us, and on top of the usual Connect experience, we would engage and be upskilled on our bi-cultural commitment.  We could really explore what God mission in Aotearoa looks like in 2019.

At Ohope, participants would have the option of sleeping marae style, or in bunks, or staying in local B&B’s, hotels, cabins etc.

We acknowledge getting to Ohope isn’t as easy as a major centre, and this may affect attendance. Whakatane has a little airport with planes coming in from Auckland. Rotorua and Tauranga have airports an hour and a half away. There are also well priced bus services leaving from Auckland and Wellington that go through Whakatane or Rotorua.

So we want to ask you our whanau, what is your take? How does this idea sit with your soul? Does it feel right, that for a one off, we should run Connect at our national Marae in Ohope? Please answer this survey here.

See Survey here


NUA is all about exploration: it’s a film series that encourages questions, acknowledges doubt, and offers an engaging perspective on the Christian faith. Discuss your worldview and wrestle with the things that don’t seem to make sense—this film series is about the life-changing experience of working out your faith.


The Sessions

Session One // How Did We Get Here?
Session Two // Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
Session Three // What About The Resurrection?
Session Four // What Was Jesus Really Like?
Session Five // Why Do I Like Jesus, But Struggle With Christians?
Session Six // How Can You Say That God Is Good?
Session Seven // Has The Church Caused More Harm Than Good?
Session Eight // What’s Jesus Got To Do With Me?

Episode 1


Online Form to report hazards or incidents

Groups using our church buildings are expected to report any hazards they find and report any incidents and accidents that happen while they are using the building.

Your congregation may currently have physical forms to this. eg Hazard Form, Incident Form

Physical forms can work really well, but in some cases it can be a hassle. For example, if your group meets on a Friday night, you have an accident, and then you have to wait until Monday to go to the office to fill in a form during your lunch break.

We have put together an online template form which you could use. Using this form, any group using the church building can report a hazard or incident 24 hours a day. Every time, someone fills in the form online, it will go into a spreadsheet, You can even set it up, so your Health and Safety rep or office manager gets an email to say there has been a new entry.

View the online Form

View the spreadsheet. 

To get your own version, click on the spreadsheet, make a copy of, and then edit the form. add your own Church name. We suggest you add a link to the form from your church website.



24 Hours of Prayer

As you probably are aware there is a crisis facing our young people like no other time before. We are seeing record suicide rates, young people on pills for anxiety/depression, family violence – just to name a few issues. Add into this mix: bullying, isolation, self image and the list goes on.

You are invited to participate in 24 hours of prayer on 11/12 May. It’s really simple, just find a time to pray with your youth group or churches and log it on the Heartache website so others in your region can attend your prayer/worship meeting and stand with you. Timeline and themes are on the Heartache website to give you some ideas. So far 300+ churches across many denominations are participating.

CCA invites delegates for Youth Assembly

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) is holding a Youth Assembly in Indonesia in April.

Young adults from the Presbyterian Church with an interest in this can apply to be a delegate (the age criteria is young adults aged 20-35). Some travel subsidy will be available, but all costs are not yet confirmed. Download application forms here. Applications will need to be confirmed by the Assembly Executive Secretary. The closing date for applications is 15 February.

If you would like to consider this, please contact Global Mission officer, Rev Phil King for more information.

12 Great ideas for parents on how to connect with their teens and model faith

Studies show the most important factor for a teen to stay in the Christian faith is the example of the parent’s faith. But a more nuanced – and accurate – understanding is, it’s not so much what the parents believe, but what the teenagers perceive they believe.

Here are 12 great examples of parents connecting and modelling faith. Perhaps one or a variation of these may work in your setting?

1. The family meeting

After dinner on Tuesday, the Welborn family clears the dishes from the table and sits back down for their weekly family meeting. Tom and Marcia start the meeting to give their family a chance to share their perspectives on what’s going well – and not so well – in their household. It has become a time to review the week ahead, so everyone understands the logistics of sports etc.

Often the meeting will have a theme like, “How can we be more of a team?”, and sometimes topics get bounced around from dinner leftovers to who’s feeling left out?

Often, the kids will bring prayer requests. And even pray aloud. Their family meetings can be long, or just a few minutes. Sometimes they bring bible verses. Usually, the kids enjoy it; but if their attention wanes, they ask how their time can be improved.

But most importantly they set a culture where “we make sure the kids know they have a voice and can share their experience, so that they know their feelings matter.”

2. The Twelve-year-old Trip

As a youth leader, I would often tell families that a student who attends a weekend retreat experiences the relationship equivalent to attending youth group for about six months.

Many families are taking on this idea too. Whether this is booking a motel room for a night, or a sleepover in the living room, or camping in the backyard.

The Fitches take on this as a bit of a rite of passage. The Twelve-year-old trip.

When each of the kids turns twelve, they get a weekend away with the parent of the same gender. They fly, stay in a hotel, get introduced to journaling, do a service project and have some good fun.

3. Monthly Dates

Especially with big families, it is easy to not to connect personally with each kid individually often enough.

Gabe spends an hour with each of their kids on their monthly birthday dates. Eg, his eldest was born on the 8th May, so on the 8 of each month, he spends an hour one on one doing what they want, playing a board game, going on a hike etc.

Gabe says it’s only 3 hours out of his month, he has yet to miss one, and even if he wanted to, his kids wouldn’t let him.

4. How Can I pray for you?

Tammi wants her teenage boys to know that not only is she willing to spend time with them talking about God, but that she spends time every day talking to God about them. So she often asks her sons a simple question like:

How can I be praying for you?

She either writes down their answers or asks them to. Then, she keeps the sheets they have written in her prayer journal, but she makes copies to give back to her boys, so they have reminders of her specific prayers for them.

By asking this simple question, Tammi learns more about her boy’s struggle and dreams, and the boys learn more about their mum’s passion for prayer.

5. Loving online (LOL)

As parents, we can use technology to:

  • Let our kids know we are available for them at any time
  • Tell them we thinking of them
  • Remind them that we are praying for them, given what they are facing at school that day
  • Share a Bible verse
  • Send them pictures of things we are seeing or eating that reminds us of them.

6. High School Bible

Wanting to show their 16-year-old son how much they care about him, Pete and Kathy bought a bible for him. But they didn’t give it to him. They kept it for themselves for the next two years as their own devotional Bible. They prayed through it and made notes in it about passages that specifically related to their son.

Then they presented it to him when he turned 18.

Pete and Kathy did the same for their other three children, starting when they turned 16. For all four of their young adult children, that Bible (even when it sits unopened on a bedroom shelf) is a powerful symbol of their parents’ spiritual investment.

7. Weekly Coffee shop Meeting

Dave wanted to study a book about godliness with his seventeen-year-old son, but wanted the discussions to feel special and manly. So instead of talking at home, Dave and his son met at a coffee shop in the city before they both came home from school and work.

In talking through each chapter, father and son answer questions like: what stood out to you about this chapter? What questions do you have?

Dave’s son loves meeting his dad at a coffee shop and being treated like a peer (well, almost like a peer). Dave still buys both their drinks, which he feels is a small price to pay for the weekly chats with his son.

8. What adults do you like?

In a youth group setting, we will often say we want one leader for every 5 young people, allowing the leaders to invest time and effort in a small number of young people. As a parent you may want to switch that ratio: I want 5 adults for my child, who know them, care and pray for them, occasionally showing up to netball games etc. These people, who you have vetted as safe, can form a web of support for your child.

Susan, knowing she didn’t need to keep her 5:1 team a secret, periodically asks her teenage daughter, what adults do you like? Which of our relatives would you like to get to know better? She mentally files away her answer, so when the family has free time for lunch after church, or her daughter has a big netball game, she knows who to invite.

9. Dad’s Camping Trip

Glenn’s wife is more a hotel kind of woman rather than a camping kind of person. But since Glenn wanted to expose his kids to the fine art of camping, four years ago, he and three other dads took their kids.

Since then, it has grown year on year. This year, 7 dads and 22 kids, went camping, tramping, cooked over open fire, swam, shared practical jokes, and played cricket. Dads and kids cross-pollinated.

And in case you were wondering, none of the mums have yet to complain about the annual camping trip.

10. Wow, Pow, Holy Cow, How

Each night at the dinner table the Smith family discuss four topics related to their day:

  • Wow is the best part of the day
  • Pow is the worst part of the day
  • Holy Cow is something in their day that pointed them to God
  • How is an opportunity in their day to be the answer to someone else’s prayer

11. Bread and butter Dinner

In New Zealand, “40% of households go hungry, skip meals or scrimp on ingredients because they are not ‘food secure’” (, Healthy eating hard for poor.)

Bryan and Shelly wanted to give their kids a taste of what it’s like to scrimp on food.

Together with their 12 and 10-year-old, they came up with the idea of “bread and butter Sunday dinner.”

Each Sunday, they eat slices of bread with margarine rather than their usual meal. Sometimes they add the luxury of jam, but they always donate the money saved from a more elaborate Sunday dinner to a local homeless ministry.



Many of these ideas came from Sticky Faith Guide for your family

Urgent Prayer Request – Canterbury

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST | Can we ask you to join together to pray for the wellbeing of our young people in Canterbury?

(Letter from Mike Dodge, our regional youth enabler in Christchurch)

All of us who are working with young people are very concerned at the alarming increase of suicides across the region this month. In my 36 years of youth work I have never seen anything like this before. We strongly feel the need to call “the whole church” to prayer together over this (PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens)

Can you as a church pray this Sunday (and the following weeks) – as we stand together with all the churches of Canterbury – praying for breakthrough in this area of mental health. We would love you to ask and encourage your congregation to pray over the week, in their personal prayer times and small group gatherings.

Over the last year at least 6 different prayer gatherings have all had a similar picture of a black cloud/heavy fog/pollution/smog and darkness covering the Canterbury region.
We’re asking that you would pray against this dark cloud of anxiety, depression, despair, self-harm and suicide – especially among the young people of our region. Pray for hope instead of hopelessness, light instead of darkness, love, power and a sound mind instead of fear so that we would see a change in the mental health and wellbeing of our young people.

We are in need of a miracle and I love that as the body of Christ we get to stand together, pray together and see what the Lord does in response. He is the only one who can bring light and change to these situations.