by Helen Sadler, Office Manager
On 10 November 2000 Ian Vail, then Director of Wycliffe NZ, had a dream of missions cooperating and working together and wrote up the first Mission Synergy Proposal. This was sent to Missions Interlink and four or five mission agencies for their input. The dream was to build or renovate a building where missions could share office space, boardroom and lunchroom, and even share a single receptionist. Ian’s dream included sharing staff and equipment to produce media materials, and maybe even sharing member-care responsibilities.
Around the same time as this was being discussed I read that Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) had sold their hangar at Ardmore and were desperately looking for office space closer to the city. By moving out of my office into a smaller one, using our vacant reception desk, and some storage space, Wycliffe was able to offer MAF staff the exact space they needed in our Onehunga office. A little later we had a reduction in our staff so we had another office available and HCJB¹ moved in.
In April 2001 the last draft of the Mission Synergy Proposal was distributed but it seemed to lose momentum. It appeared that this dream had died as Ian prepared to take another assignment overseas.
Then in 2005, Wycliffe, along with MAF and HCJB, were looking for more suitable office space when Wayne Freeman, who was Wycliffe Director at that time, heard that there was a Korean Christian businessman in Manukau City who owned a nine-storey building. This man had a dream of using one of those floors for missions. In February 2005 Wycliffe and MAF moved into a portion of the sixth floor. The rest of the sixth floor space was shared with Auckland Edinburgh College, a language school which was owned by the building owner, Pastor Daniel Yi. HCJB decided they would not move with us, but we were joined by the northern representative of the Church Missionary Society.
Some time later, Pastor Daniel gave us half of the sixth floor and we added World Outreach and Gospel Outreach to fill the available space now known as the MissioNZ Centre. In October 2011 we were offered more space on the ground floor so Barnabas Fund, Asian Outreach, Operation Mobilisation, Food for the Hungry, Middle East Christian Outreach, Child Evangelism Fellowship and Precept Ministries joined us. Pastor Daniel’s dream was fulfilled in December 2012 when those on the ground floor moved up to fill the whole of the sixth floor. At our peak we had 16 organisations, including two Chinese missions and the Auckland regional office of the Bible Society working in the MissioNZ Centre, sharing an IT consultant, office space, telephones, computer servers, lunchroom, boardroom, and other facilities for a minimal cost. We enjoy the blessing of fellowship around meals and special events, and praying together every Tuesday morning. Pastor Daniel leads the Auckland International Church (Baptist) which meets each Sunday in the language school premises. MissioNZ Centre personnel are often asked to preach the sermon and then stay on to enjoy the lunch which Pastor Daniel provides for the congregation.
There is much cooperation and cross-fertilisation and Ian’s original dream of the missions community working together has been fulfilled beyond what we could have ever imagined.
¹ Heralding Christ Jesus’ Blessings, a shortwave Christian radio service.