It is recognised that there exist both longstanding relationships and newer developing relationships in many countries who desire to have connection with N.L.C.I. both in New Zealand and across the globe.
In terms of existing international connections, there are three areas of relationship for those of us in New Zealand who minister beyond our shores.
We minister among churches that are:
Affiliate churches are under the covering of the Apostolic Leadership Team (A.L.T.) and its ministers hold Affiliate Credentials. All New Zealand member churches are responsible for the ordaining and application for Affiliate credentials for their pastors.
Associate member churches are under covering of their own National Leadership structure but are able to hold Associate Pastor's credentials. These pastors may be under the covering of any nations New Life movement, or any other movement.
Our connections often develop to the point where those that we relate to wish to be more connected to N.L.C.I. than just being part of the N.L.C.I. Network.
They may desire a more formal connection with N.L.C.I. This can only happen when these churches are under the authority and covering of a church that is in turn under the covering of the A.L.T.
Others contact us via the website wanting to make connection with us. For those coming via the website we mostly have no idea who they are and often their motives are not clear. A pathway for connection to N.L.C.I. which includes the screening of that church or movement by the Regional Co-ordinator is to be in place.
A structure also needs to be in place where the right kind of support can be offered for the churches that are part of N.L.C.I. and where problem areas can be adequately addressed. This assistance can be requested of the Regional Co-ordinator via the Regional Team working in that area.
The strategy is to build a Network of life-giving churches, who agree with N.L.C.I. in terms of doctrine, theology, ministry ethics and practice, and the inter-dependence of local churches and ministries to support one another in the great commission.
In essence, as we attract the attention of churches/ministries who have similar core values to N.L.C.I. these churches/ministries may seek to be a part of that Network.
International Apostolic Co-ordinator
A region is defined by an area of the world identified by the Apostolic Leadership Team (A.L.T.) where there are significant numbers of N.L.C.I. churches and can range from a continent (e.g. Africa) to a single country (e.g. India).
The A.L.T. appoints a Regional Link Ministerfor each region. It is anticipated the Regional Link Minister would build a Regional Team or in the case of larger Regions - Regional Teams, so that effective coverage is achieved across the region.
Generally the churches within a nation (recognising that some have churches beyond that nation) are defined as a national area.
The national area has a National Leader who would be a member of the Regional Team. The National Leader is either already functioning in that role or is recommended by the local churches, the Regional Link Minister, and is endorsed by the A.L.T.
The Regional Link Minister can be called upon to assist with problem areas that are of significance and beyond the expertise of the National Leader/s.
Overlap of National Areas
It is acknowledged that many groups of churches cross national borders. Where this is the case, the responsibility for these churches remains with those who planted them or already have a measure of oversight relationship with them. However, the churches 'across the border' have the freedom, and are indeed encouraged to also relate to other N.L.C.I. Network churches in that national area or any other area.
Appointment of National Area Leaders
National Area Leaders are appointed on the basis of ministry credibility and have a proven track record. They must have the confidence of those they are responsible for and demonstrate a Kingdom minded view in that they do not carry a sectarian attitude and are able to work with a wide range of churches and ministries. The role of the National Leaders and Regional Link Minister is to assist and strengthen the churches within that nation. The National Leader must recognise the autonomy of a local church or cluster of churches but be available to assist when requested.
In time it may be that as more churches come on board that a national A.L.T. team structure headed up by the National Leader is set up within that nation. The N.L.C.I. Apostolic Leadership Team would be available to help in that task.
Each area will have a New Zealand contact person (a member of The Regional Team) endorsed by the A.L.T. of N.L.C.I. and have the support of the National Leader.
N.L.C.I ministries going into an area should liaise with that person so that there is no overloading of these area churches.
A Pathway of Connection
N.L.C.I. is a movement of like-minded pastors and churches who are strongly connected relationally. For those wishing to join N.L.C.I. then we need to know them and likewise they need to know us and what we stand for.
Each church/ministry seeking connection with the Network should become thoroughly familiar with the vision, core values, and policy documents on the N.L.C.I. website.
Relational Building Period
For those who contact us 'cold turkey' via the website or by word of mouth, then a period of relationship building could begin with the National Leader and/or a Regional Team member and/or other recognised N.L.C.I. ministry with no commitment from either party. N.L.C.I. can enquire via local reliable ministries (N.L.C.I. or other) that already have relationship with them 'on site', and who can provide us with any known background information.
Associate Status (Network Member)
Once sufficient understanding of both parties has been reached and the church or group of churches wish to be connected with N.L.C.I. then a recommendation that they be accepted as an associate of N.L.C.I. could be initiated. The recommendation can come from the N.L.C.I. ministry contact that has built the relationship, supported by the New Zealand contact and National Leader.
Churches that are already under the covering of another church stream or group of churches can be associates of N.L.C.I. but not hold Affiliate status. Associate status would mean they have access to what is happening within N.L.C.I. by way of newsletters, emails and attendance at conferences.
Resources, ministry aids, personnel, recommendations and information can be shared with Associates. Some ministry support could be given to Associates but priority would be to the member churches of N.L.C.I. A.L.T. in New Zealand would be advised of their status but are not required to endorse such positions.
Associate status would essentially be a "Network Member".
Affiliate Status (Movement Member)
Churches and ministries who want this status as Affiliate members are churches/ministries that are under the covering and authority of a church that is an Affiliate Member of N.L.C.I.
A Pathway for Disconnection
Just as churches are not accepted on a whim so likewise churches are not removed from N.L.C.I. on a whim. A church or group of churches can be released from N.L.C.I. after dialogue with the National Leader, New Zealand contact, and the A.L.T. Regional Co-ordinator. This gives opportunity for any misunderstandings and unrealised expectations to be aired so that there is mutual understanding. As with joining N.L.C.I., the leadership of the local church wishing to disconnect must be supportive of the move.
Some churches, unfortunately, may be motivated by money and are lured by the prospect of financial benefits.
N.L.C.I. does not promise financial support but are happy to make needs known within the N.L.C.I. Network. We offer support by providing a Network of expertise that will assist churches to be healthy and grow.
Affiliate - "to be a part of"
Associate - "to be in relationship with, associated with"