There is great value in knowing our history, and understanding what has taken place in our land in times past. Knowing significant events, particularly in the earlier years where Tauranga was established as a settlement, also provides insight for targeting our intercession and for understanding the spiritual climate of our city.
We have the incredible opportunity and invitation from the Lord to respond, and to see hope and redemption arise in our land. From out of the place of prevailing prayer, we connect with the heart of God and discover the plans and purposes He desires to bring forth in our land.
As we consider the history of our city and how we should respond, the bible provides clear guidance for us. We are to repent for the sins of the past in what has taken place in the land (2 Chronicles 7:14). We are to forgive and be reconciled with one another (Matt. 5:21-25). We are to call forth the ‘wells of revival’ in this region again. The spiritual climate in our city will change according to how we steward this place in prayer, and how we walk out the power and truth of the gospel in our land.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
RE-DIGGING THE WELLS
The bible demonstrates that God accomplishes His purposes on the earth through many people across multiple generations (Hebrews 11), and not only through one person, or one denomination or movement. The Lord desires that we honour and build upon the foundations laid by those that have gone before us. In Genesis 26, Isaac was tasked with re-digging and restoring the ancient wells of his father Abraham. The re-digging of the wells preceded the Lord appearing to Isaac where He spoke the same blessing over him that He had spoken over Abraham.
When we are asking the Lord to re-dig the wells, we are calling forth what He has done in previous times, and asking Him to do it again – with increase, multiplication, and lasting impact and transformation.
There has been many significant moves of God across the decades in Tauranga. Some have been characterised by salvations, others by Church revival, and others by the restoration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, just to name a few. They come at the initiation of the Lord, and in partnership with His People who choose respond.
The earliest recorded proclamation of the gospel in this region was at Waikorire (Pilot Bay), Mt Maunganui, by Henry Williams on 25th June 1826.
In 1834, the first Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries arrived. The following year the Gospel of Luke was printed in Maori and some of the 1,000 copies were given to Alfred Nesbit Brown, who moved to Tauranga. The CMS established a mission station at Te Papa, and during this time Alfred Nesbit Brown recorded in his journal that he baptised 680 adults and 504 children during 1840-1842. In proportion to the population at the time, this was significant.
In more recent times, Tauranga has seen a number of different ‘waves’ sweep across the region, each bringing an aspect of God’s intentions and divine purposes for this land.
In 1967, Derek Prince and Des Short preached to over 12,000 at the Tauranga Racecourse. In the 1960s and 1970s, Tauranga experienced a charismatic revival where the gifts of the Holy Spirit were active and God was present at these meetings for healing, salvation and deliverance. Many testify to the lasting impact of this God-orchestrated season. The Mount Baptist Church was the place of a significant revival, and there have been other churches that have seen powerful visitations of the presence of God.
In more recent years, the ‘Impact World Tour’ campaign moved through the nation in 2004, where in Tauranga over 18,000 attended the meetings resulting in many committing or recommitting their lives to Christ.
Tauranga has for many decades also been a birthing place for various ministries, including the first known evangelistic and healing tent crusades of its kind in New Zealand (1957), and the planting of bible training schools in the 1960s. It’s been a place where missions-based initiatives have been launched from. Many of these had humble beginnings, but went out into the nation and multiplied as they went forth.
In many ways, we see from history a foretaste and a partial fulfilment of what the Lord wants to do in this land. The Lord is now looking for those who would pray for the fullness of His promises, and for the Kingdom to come in power to shift a region and bring a catalytic move of God across the nation.
A kairos moment
Many intercessors have spoken of a fresh wave of His Spirit breaking upon our shores in this season, and a city being awakened and revived. For decades, there are those who have carried the burden of the Lord for this city and are praying for the ancient wells to be opened again in this city. Psalm 24:7 says: “Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”
We are in a Kairos moment in our history. We have an incredible invitation to respond in this time, and to call forth a move of God in our city that is beyond anything we have seen before.
It is in coming together in unity as the Body of Christ that we will see hope and healing sweep across our land. Let it be our prayer that the king of glory will come in, and move upon the hearts of His People to bring, salvation, redemption, and the Kingdom of God on earth.