Russell and Noelle Carle
Russell and Noelle Carle and their family came to New Zealand in 1995 as missionaries with the Advent Christian General Conference. They pastored the Takanini Church of Christ (Life & Advent), the same church that Jack and Connie Jones (also Advent Christian missionaries from USA) had pastored many years ago. Russell started two cell groups (we call them “LIFE groups“), one in Papakura (South Auckland) and the other in Piha (West Auckland). The plan was that the LIFE groups would grow and multiply and become the backbone of the many new churches we hope to plant.
David and Tarnya Burge
The Bible says, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few“. In 1998 David and Tarnya Burge and their growing family joined the Carle family and David began working with Russell as an Associate Pastor at Takanini Church of Christ and as a church planter. The result was that with more workers we were able to reach more and more people in South Auckland.
Jeff and Penny Vann
In November 2009 David Burge was diagnosed with leukemia. He was too ill to work so Jeff and Penny Vann were sent to New Zealand by the Advent Christian General Conference, and they did a wonderful job of assisting the Takanini Church of Christ and the wider ACCONZ work through a difficult time of change. David fell asleep in the Lord in July 2010 and the Vanns returned to the USA in February 2011.
LIFE stands for Lives Invested For Eternity. Our small groups give people opportunity to be involved in an open circle of friends looking for spiritual intimacy, accountability, practical help and mutual encouragement in an environment of trust.
In such an environment, with the help of some excellent teaching resources, people are growing in the Lord. Everybody involved in LIFE Groups is giving more, serving more, witnessing more. Not because we have to but because we feel this is what the Spirit is calling us to. We want to invest our lives in something that will count for eternity.
Our aim was to establish an Advent Christian Conference in New Zealand. On Saturday December 12th, 1998, the newly incorporated Advent Christian Conference of New Zealand had its first official meeting.
At that meeting ACMissioNZ was adopted as the official channel for mission work among ACCONZ churches, a budget was set and our first church plant approved. The Executive was empowered to continue negotiations with churches that might join the Conference.
Our First Church Plant
The Randwick Park Christian LIFE Church (now Christian LIFE Church) had its first meeting at 4.30 pm, on Sunday 6th March, 1999, at the Randwick Park Community House. Since then we have shifted house. We now meet in the Lounge at the back of the Takanini Church of Christ premises.
Many of our people are unemployed. Many of us are by no means 100% fit and well! This poses some special challenges. We need your prayerful and practical support if we are to grow this fellowship.
Prayer And Fellowship
Every ministry needs prayer support. We are thrilled that a Prayer Fellowship group started in West Auckland in May of 2000. This group meets to pray specifically for the needs of ACCONZ people, churches and ministries. We covet this prayer support and realise that we must constantly bring each and every care before our God who answers prayer. The group meets on the first Sunday of every month – originally at the home of Rob and Patricia Carr, now at the Takanini Church Lounge.
Time At Thames
[when?] David and associate worker Garry Schäche began travelling down to Thames every second week to assist with running a LIFE Group in association with the Thames Church of Christ. This group was designed to teach and equip the church folk for ‘lifestyle evangelism’ and to conduct Bible study. The group was advertised in the local community and special events were held at the church. The group began to grow and it has been a great time of fellowship.
In 2008 Gavin and Alison McIntosh (pictured) undertook the pastoral work at Thames, now named the Parawai Church of Christ. This reduced the workload for David and Garry, but they and other ACCONZ members have continued to be closely involved with the Thames folk.
ACCONZ now has 5 member churches:
- Thames Church of Christ (Life & Advent / Advent Christian)
- Melville International Christian Fellowship (Advent Christian)
We have connections with other like minded individuals scattered around the country and in 2004 David began doing pastoral work, one day per week, at the Mardon Road Church of Christ (Life and Advent), also in Hamilton.
God willing we will one day have more churches. We are praying that we will be part of an Advent Christian movement planting churches all over New Zealand and around the world!