A Brief Encounter
Written by Colin Shaw
24 August 2017
Hi again… Beginnings… It’s good to look back, reflect and give thanks. After living in Australia, Philippines and Canada, for a total of 25 years our reconnection with New Zealand, our birth-place, began in1995. It was mainly due to one of those amazing ‘encounters’.
It all began when a World Vision worker in Auckland, Lleon Downes had a very short conversation with a complete stranger in an Auckland car park. The person that Lleon chanced to meet was Peter Aspin a good friend of ours, a fellow Kiwi and formerly a pastor from Toowoomba, Australia. We were living in Toowoomba at that time. Peter was now living and working in Auckland. During this brief conversation they quickly discovered their common interest and desire for church unity. Peter told Lleon how Pastors Prayer Summits – three days of prayer and worship gatherings with a good representation of church pastors in one city or town were having positive outcomes. He mentioned that I would be a good person to communicate with because of my involvement. A brief conversation that was to have far reaching consequences.
A few days later Lleon and his wife Mary began a holiday in Queensland. He phoned me, introduced himself, said what he was about and asked ‘Can I come to your office and talk about these Pastors Prayer Summits?’ Again, this was quite amazing because I had stopped over in N.Z. only a few days earlier on my way back from attending three Pastors Prayer Summits in the U.S.A. In Auckland I had tried to sow the idea of Prayer Summits with Kiwi pastors but there was not much buy-in. I did have a sense at the time however that God was going to undertake one way or another.
Through Lleon’s initiative and World Vision NZ’s subsequent funding of three different travel itineraries, Lleon and myself were able to promote Pastors Prayer Summits throughout N.Z. As a result thirty, mostly three day, Pastors Prayer Summits were held from the far north to the far south. These were wonderful times where leaders from different churches in one town or city were able to connect, worship, pray and fellowship together. It was a privilege to witness God at work as leaders took time to seek His face and spend time in His presence together.
While there have been few of these Prayer Summits of recent days here in N.Z. the ones that were held laid a good foundation for all that has happened since. This includes strategic regional roundtable gatherings for those leading pastors networks and one day City by City gatherings where leaders from different cities and towns gather in another city to support, encourage and pray with leaders there. (See photo below of our last City by City gathering held in Napier.)
Through these and other initiatives it has been great to see relationships grow stronger as love for His church, the whole body of Christ increases and the desire to reach our cities and towns jointly, gains momentum. We have been greatly blessed …. and are truly thankful to have been part of the journey with all its other ‘encounters’ along the way!
Until next time