God has a strategy for fulfilling his plans for Christchurch.

Strategy is determined by objectives. God designed his strategy for Christchurch that will fulfil his purposes for the city, so to understand his strategy, we need to know what he has planned for it.

God’s intends Christchurch to be a city where the fulfilment of his Kingdom is demonstrated to the nations of the world. Christchurch will be a model to the nations of a city living under the government of God. The kingdom of man is rising to a climax throughout the world, but it is also running out of steam. It will eventually collapse under its own weight, spreading destruction and trouble all over the world. However, God’s light shines strongest in the darkness, so he has a plan for this time for releasing his Kingdom during this time of distress. He wants Christchurch to be a light shining in the darkness that is coming.

Christchurch has a special role in God’s plan. The Kingdom of God will emerge in a unique way in this city and be exported all over the world. The city will be a model of the kingdom that can be copied in other nations when they have turned back to God and are seeking his kingdom. The model that emerges in Christchurch will be copied all over the world. God wants to establish his Kingdom in Christchurch as a model for the nations. This has always been his objective for the city.

Canterbury Association

The city of Christchurch was established by the Canterbury Association. The aspiration of members of the association was to create in New Zealand a society based on faith and obedience to God, where Christian civilisation could be preserved from the forces destroying society in the old world. Their goal was to establish the Kingdom of God in Christchurch, at a time when darkness was sweeping the rest of the world. Austin Leigh described the vision in a meeting of the Association at Reading.

The Canterbury Settlement appears likely to further the efforts already made to extend the blessed influence of the Redeemer's kingdom, not only throughout New Zealand, but also in the surrounding islands of the Pacific Ocean.
This was a prophetic vision.

Robert Godley believed their calling was to establish the Kingdom of God in Christchurch.

He saw the Canterbury Settlement as a little leaven that would leaven the whole mass of the earth with the light and glory of the gospel of Jesus (Canterbury Association Papers, 1850-1852).
The Kingdom of God has always been central to God's purpose for Christchurch. Every Christian who is called to live in Christchurch should have an understanding of the Kingdom of God, or they will not fully understand what God is doing.

The Canterbury Association did not achieve its goal. Their project was troubled and corrupted by the pride and superiority that effects most of what happens in Christchurch. However, the calling they heard, but could not fulfil, has not been revoked.

David Pawson

In 1982, the UK evangelist David Pawson was invited to speak in New Zealand by Youth for Christ. He delivered a burden that God had given him for our nation in Wellington:

God wants New Zealand back. He wants New Zealand back as a nation that will be a model to the nations of a people who are living under the government of God. God intends New Zealand to be one of those nations where he demonstrates his Kingdom. God wants New Zealand back. He is wanting his people to reign with him. Don't wait for eternity to begin to reign with him He is looking for a queen to reign with him now, because New Zealand has a king and his name is King Jesus. This country needs a change of government. New Zealand is a nation that could be brought under the government of God and be a light to the nations.
This burden was not understood at the time, but there are three main points. God wants to demonstrate his Kingdom in New Zealand. The first manifestation of the fulness of his kingdom will come in Christchurch. Dunedin will be a base from which the gospel goes out to the Asia and the Pacific. From, Christchurch the fullness of the Kingdom of God will spread out across the nation and into the world.

God wants to establish his Kingdom in Christchurch, as a model that the world can copy. The people of the world will come to Christchurch to see how the Kingdom of God should be done.

Spiritual Resistance

The Kingdom of God has faced strong spiritual resistance in Christchurch. The city is dominated by a strong controlling spirit. A corporate spiritual stronghold gets control of a city when the business, religious and political leaders all participate in a common sin enhance their leadership. This corporate sin allows the evil spiritual power behind it to gain control of the city.

Christchurch is dominated by a strong corporate spiritual stronghold that was given a place by the early religious and civic leaders. Its authority has not been withdrawn by current political, business and religious authorities, so it is as powerful as ever. This spiritual power does not want to the Kingdom of God to emerge in the city, so it has attacked the city with a vengeance, using its spiritual power to constrain the church. This stronghold has even used an earthquake in an attempt to destroy the city.

Before God can bring the Kingdom of God to fullness in Christchurch, the spiritual stronghold controlling the city will have to be defeated. An organisation that is structured with one professional, senior leader or chief executive at the top cannot stand against the spirit that controls Christchurch, (no matter how many good people are under them or around them). The Modern Church Model cannot defeat the spirit of manipulation and control, because they both use some of the same techniques to get things done. Before victory can come, the leadership of the church will have to change dramatically.

God has a strategy to defeat the spiritual stronghold that controls Christchurch, but his people will have to obey his instructions to win victory. The broad base of this spiritual stronghold’s authority makes it hard to beat, so this will be a tough battle. We will not defeat this spiritual stronghold by tackling it head on, because it was given its place of power by the political, religious and business leaders that control the city. However, it can be undermined on the edges of the city in places where it is vulnerable because its authority is weaker.

Territory is Important

Territory is critical to God strategy because victory comes through holding territory. Kings needs territory. A king without territory is not a real king. If another ruler gains control of his territory, he is just a pretender.

The spiritual powers of evil understand the importance of territory. The powerful ones have become “principalities and powers” controlling nations and kingdoms by dominating the kings and political leaders with authority over them. Lesser spirits control smaller areas where they have been given authority.

In the last couple of centuries, the church has lost interest in territory. Jesus now has many followers in the world, but very little territory where he has authority. There are very few places where he is king. Instead, his followers are scattered throughout territory that is controlled by the enemy. Because they live and work in enemy territory, they are often battered, beaten and robbed.

If there are no areas on earth that are evil-spirit free, then Jesus does not have a kingdom on earth. He just has people who have given allegiance to him living as outlaws in enemy territory. This should disturb us. Jesus needs followers who understand the importance of territory. To establish the Kingdom of God in Christchurch, God needs a church that can take spiritual control of territory for him and push the spiritual powers of evil out of it.

No matter how strong and army, it can rarely seize control of a big area of territory in one attack, because it will become over-extended. A better approach is to attack small pocket of territory, clear out all the opposition and establish strong defences, before pushing out from that stronghold to take more territory, and repeat the process of establishing control over it.

Establishing Spiritual Strongholds

Territory is critical to the Kingdom of God. He has given humans authority on earth, so he needs places where people have given him permission to work. To defeat the spiritual powers of evil, he needs places where his people have given the Holy Spirit full freedom to operate. A single house or a church building does not give him much scope. The Holy Spirit will be more effective, if his followers establish a stronghold in a group of dwellings close to each other (the shaded dwellings).

The advance of the kingdom of God needs followers of Jesus to establish spiritual strongholds where his authority is accepted. The best way to take territory for Jesus is a group of his followers living close together in one place. Two or three families living in close vicinity to each other in an area will have spiritual control over their homes. They can unite in spiritual warfare to force all evil spirits out of the surrounding houses. They can establish a small territory that is evil-spirit free.

They must not try to try to get control over the people living in this territory. Rather they should love them and serve them while driving all evil spirits out the area. Jesus has promised that where two or three of his followers come together in one place, he is there in the midst of them.

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matt 18:18-20).
The word “gather” is “sunago”. It requires more than coming together for a prayer meeting. Living in love and unity in the same place expands their spiritual authority, because Jesus promises to be there with them.

Those who live near each other and love one another will have greater spiritual authority because Jesus has promised that they will be able to defeat the spiritual powers of evil in the surrounding territory. They will be able to pray for the sick and cast out demons because they are united in Jesus. They can establish an evil-spirit-free zone where the Holy Spirit is free to work (the shaded area).

Establishing a beachhead in a strategic locality and then expanding outward is the most effective way to expand the territory of a king. An army takes a city street by street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

Expanding Territory

When some more people in the neighbourhood have chosen to follow Jesus, and once they have cleared out all evil spirits, and established strong spiritual protection over the territory, they can send out two or three of their number out to a new piece of territory close by and repeat the process to establish another spiritual stronghold.

If three or four families who are united by their love of Jesus and empowered by the Spirit move to a new place, they can establish another Kingdom Community. By living in a cluster of dwellings, they can drive out the spiritual powers of evil that control that vicinity. They can stand together against the attacks of the enemy and establish another place where Jesus has authority. If one family had moved there on its own, they would struggle, because the powers of evil could concentrate to pick them off.

When a group of people who are united in love and empowered by the Spirit live in the same place, they can expand the territory that belongs to Jesus. A few different groups of believers living close together in the same area, united by love and submitted to Jesus can resist the spiritual powers of evil and force them to flee.

The spiritual powers of evil always take the easy option, so they withdraw from areas where the Holy Spirit is strong. When followers of Jesus have established territory that belongs to Jesus, the gospel advance gets easier, because the opposition gets weaker. As more and more people choose to follow Jesus the territory that belongs to him gets larger. The evil-spirit-free zone gets bigger too.

No Territory

The Modern Church Model cannot take spiritual control of territory, because church members live in homes scattered across a wide area in the enemy’s territory. Even the pastor-leader is isolated in the suburbs of their city and vulnerable to spiritual attack. Christians who live in isolation from other members of their church will struggle to spiritually defend their homes because they are standing alone and the spiritual powers of evil can concentrate to attack them. They are incapable of seizing spiritual control of territory beyond their home because they have insufficient spiritual resources.

People driving to a church meeting once a week cannot establish territory where Jesus has authority. The best that they can achieve is gaining spiritual control over a church building. The spiritual powers of evil do not care about that, so they can dominate the surrounding territory because the building is empty most for most of the week. Jesus has authority in the church building where the church gathers, but once the meeting is over the Christians are scattered throughout enemy territory. A gathered church has no ability to seize spiritual control of territory. When Jesus had seventy strong disciples, he did not start a big meeting. He sent them out in pairs to take territory in the villages and towns of Israel (Luke 10:1-12).

The Modern Church Model has been prevalent in Christchurch for at least the last thirty years, but it has failed to advance God’s kingdom because it has no ability to take spiritual control of territory. With no territory under his authority, Jesus He is left as a king without territory. Unfortunately, most leaders of these churches are focussed on numbers of people, so they do not even see territory as important. The Modern Church Model cannot take spiritual control of territory, so it cannot receive the Kingdom of God, despite all the talk about it.

Because the Modern Church Model cannot receive the Kingdom, some pastor-leaders are tempted to collaborate with political leaders in an effort to use political power to establish God’s will. Their strategy will not work, because it strengthens the human kingdom that the enemy uses to fight against God’s Kingdom. Political power relies on Imposed Authority, but God will not use it to establish his kingdom. He wants people to submit to Jesus and obey his Spirit because they love him. He will not force people to do his will.

A wise general establishes a beachhead in a strategic locality and pushes outward house-to-house street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood to take territory for his king. The most effective force for this task will be small, highly-trained and committed guerrilla/commando units that can establish a safe stronghold in a strategic locality and then push out to enlarge it. God’s strategy for Christchurch is to use small groups of people bound together by love to expand out street by street to seize spiritual control of the city for Jesus.

Getting Started

To establish his Kingdom in Christchurch, God needs to establish spiritual control over territory. He needs numerous small groups of followers of Jesus that can move into the world under the radar and live close together in places where the Holy Spirit is working. They will draw in new people and transform them where they live.

These small apostolic teams will go into various parts of the city to establish an alternative society/culture/ in the places where people live that will be a demonstration of the Kingdom of God. The best way to start is for some followers of Jesus who are committed to loving each other and have learned to serve him together to move to a new place and form a small Kingdom Community.

Jesus needs thirty or forty teams of followers who understand the importance of territory. More would be better because there is plenty of room on the edge of the city. By living close together, they can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to drive the spiritual powers of evil out of the area where they live. When residents of the surrounding houses choose to follow Jesus, they can join with their believing neighbours to squeeze the spiritual powers of evil out of the area where they live.

Starting Over Again

When a Kingdom Community has grown to about forty adults and their families, the best leaders will be sent out to start again in a new place. They will go to a place where they can see the Holy Spirit is working. For example, some there might have chosen to follow Jesus. The following principles should apply to an apostolic team.

This apostolic approach can be applied and repeated anywhere. If the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully, most small communities will quickly get to a point where they can send out an apostolic team to start again in a new locality. After several years, some apostolic teams will have moved on three or four times and established new communities in several places.

Keys to the Kingdom

The Modern Church Model has been in operation in Christchurch for nearly thirty years. There has been some great worship, some anointed visiting ministries, and a few people have been healed, but spiritual decline has continued unabated. This decline will not be reversed by more of the same. Is not the problem. Jesus has done everything that needs to be done to defeat the spiritual powers of evil. The fulness of the Spirit has been poured out on the Church. There is nothing more that God can do.

To establish in his kingdom in Christchurch, God needs his church to implement a different strategy, which needs a radically different leadership model. Establishing a beachhead in a strategic locality and then expanding outward is a very effective way to take control of territory. As small bodies of believers led by leaders with complementary giftings expand and multiply, the territory where Jesus is acknowledged as king will expand rapidly.

We cannot receive the Kingdom of God by driving to a church meeting once a week. God is calling his people to establish small communities that can win back territory. He needs a body of believers living close together in the same location, loving one another and serving Jesus in the power of the Spirit.

Kingdom Communities

Growth in the number of people following Jesus is good but not the goal. God wants to establish his Kingdom in Christchurch. Each small community that has emerged on the fringe if the city will consist of a group of forty or fifty adults following Jesus together in the same location. It is not enough for the number of these groups to grow rapidly. For the Kingdom of God to come, these small communities must be transformed into Kingdom Communities that can reshape their neighbourhood.

Modern societies are controlled from the centre by human government. They have become fragmented and incoherent. Kingdom Communities will be shaped by love of Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit. God will use them to rebuild and restore society from the bottom up.

Small communities of people following Jesus can do everything that human governments try to do, but without force or coercion. When the followers of Jesus are providing for their neighbourhood everything that a strong society needs, they have become a Kingdom Community.

Followers of Jesus will already have been providing financial support and physical protection for each other within their community. Leaders will have been resolving disputes between the people they are watching over. A body of believers becomes a Kingdom Community when all these services are offered to the rest of the community, but without using Imposed Authority.

Modern human governments have three main roles: social support, justice and protection. They do none of these well. Followers of Jesus can do these tasks better, but in a totally different way.

A Kingdom Community will provide financial support, justice and protection for everyone living in their community. They will also take up other tasks that are currently seen as the responsibility of the government, including education, sanitation, rubbish collection, etc. Some of these roles will be done by new businesses that emerge in the community. Others will be freely provided by members of the community serving each other. The Kingdom Community will endeavour to meet all the needs that emerge into their neighbourhood. Meeting the needs of so many people will be costly, but giving for the service of others is normal for the followers of Jesus. It is another way of taking up the cross to follow Jesus.

As the Kingdom Community freely provides more and more of the services that were previously provided by the human government, everyone in the neighbourhood will be influenced. The leadership of the elders organising these services will be recognised by everyone in their neighbourhood. People who have rejected the gospel will acknowledge their wisdom because they are dedicated to serving their community. People who have not accepted the gospel will accept their authority because they recognise their love and integrity.

Citizens and Residents

A kingdom is a territory where a king exercises authority. Two categories of people live within the territory of a kingdom.

In the same way, two categories of people live within a Kingdom Community. They may want to receive the blessings that flow from participation in the Kingdom Community, but they are not full citizens, because they have chosen not to surrender to Jesus.

Citizens will support the work of the Spirit by loving and sharing with the residents of their neighbourhood. They will provide justice, support and protection for anyone in need, free of charge and control. However, residents will have to acknowledge the authority of the leaders of the community to receive these benefits. (The yellow dwellings are residents, and the brown dwellings are citizens.

Participation in the activities of a Kingdom Community will always be voluntary. However, when residents freely submit to the leaders to obtain the benefits provided, they will be submitting to the authority of Jesus, even if they have not acknowledged him as their Lord.

Jesus’ Territory

A Kingdom Community will be territory where most of the people freely submit to the authority of Jesus, either as citizens or residents.

Taken together, this means that many of the people in the neighbourhood will be submitted to God’s will most of the time, and most for much of the time. The Government of God will have come because his will is being done within the territory covered by the Kingdom Community.

Winning the City

A wise king seizes control of a piece of territory and consolidates his authority there, before advancing to take the next piece. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God undertook to drive out their enemy “little by little” (Deut 7:22). The Kingdom of God advances in the same way. We must take back territory for Jesus, house by house and neighbourhood by neighbourhood, moving slowly from the fringes to the centre. When followers of Jesus are led by the Spirit to live close together, they can stand against the attacks of the enemy and establish places where Jesus has authority. When a group of people who are united in love and empowered by the spirit live in the same place and serve those living around them, the Kingdom of God can come.

The Kingdom will come in Christchurch through a network of small groups of people listening to the voice of the Spirit, sharing with their brothers and sisters, suffering in the face of persecution and serving the people of the city. As the Holy Spirit is given freedom to do his work in evil-spirit-free territory, the kingdom will flow out and be welcome everywhere.

The Kingdom of God expands as Jesus’ followers push the spiritual powers of evil out of territory and bring it under his authority. As the number of Kingdom Communities increases, the territory where Jesus has authority will expand and grow too. Once a piece of territory is safe, we can push out into the neighbouring territory, resisting the enemy powers as we go.

When the Kingdom of God has been consolidated on the edges of the city, apostles will begin moving towards the centre of the city. The Kingdom of God will creep out slowly behind them. The centre of the city is the place where political and religious power and the powers of evil collude together to leverage their control. When their base of power collapses, God will build his kingdom into the centre from the places on the edge where it is strong.

Invisible Army

God is calling together an invisible army on the margins of the city that will take Christchurch back for him. When the religious, political and business powers entwined together with the spiritual powers of evil at the centre of the city will fade away, God will raise up his invisible army to build his kingdom from the outside in.

When David was preparing to become king, people who were in distress, or in debt or disaffected gathered with him in the Cave of Adullam (1 Sam 22:1-2). These people went unnoticed because they seemed irrelevant to the kingdom, but they grew into a mighty army that took the land for David. In the same way, many of the people that God is calling are currently discouraged and disaffected, but he can use them provided they are hungry for his Spirit.

God is calling people to participate in his invisible army. He can use ordinary people, provide if they meet the following requirements.


People who are called to participate in the invisible army must not stand around grumbling and moaning, but should get together with others who balance their giftings and share the same vision. They should:

The entire church does not need to change. God just needs a remnant. A couple of hundred people who are sold out for Jesus, and willing to follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads, could get things started.

December 2018

Printable version