Abundant Life Community is a bible-based Christian congregation who believe that the presence of God in those who are being transformed canmake a powerful difference in society – “Transformed People, Transforming Our Community”.
Mike and Janne Cullen pioneered Abundant Life in August 1982 after working for Scripture and Song for ten years.
In 1996 the church was believing for a $200,000 property that they hadn’t yet seen. They came across the Sutherland Road property, not believing their eyes, as Mike had had a dream about a restored barn full of light. ‘We knew it was ours, but they sold it to someone else. Then that deal fell through. We waited for the right time and ended up paying $200,000 net.Such a miracle,’ says Mike Cullen, founding Senior Pastor.
Not long after purchasing the 1.56 hectares of parklike land,Mike and Janne felt strongly that they needed to build a large auditorium on the property for the church’s own ministries, local community events and for the larger Christian community. ‘We knew we needed to build something that was bigger, to accommodate a lot more people that we know are coming,’ says Mike.
Over the years the congregation has supported the church in various building projects, and in 2019 the church approached Christian Savingsfor finance to help complete the building project of the centre. Abundant Life Tauranga first heard about Christian Savings at a Movement Day Conference organised by City by City and partly sponsored by Christian Savings.
‘Christian Savings were very helpful & understood our needs as a church ministry organisation,’ says Mike & Janne Cullen. ‘We are extremely appreciative & grateful for their understanding. We were at a stage in the building process where we needed to meet completion dates. Christian Savings enabled us to achieve this.’
The new Auditorium has been named the ‘Is54 – The Centre’ named after Isaiah 54:2-3. The Isaiah reference is about expanding: “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes” with a vision of renewal and revival for their next growth phase.
‘In some ways it seems a long time, but you look back and it’s gone so quickly.’
As well as church programmes, people come to the centre for Mainly Music, parenting programmes, children and youth programmes, ‘Keep On Your Feet’ – a Sports Bay of Plenty initiative, SOZO – a prayer ministry, and balance classes for the 60+ and the 65+ Golden Years Club which feeds and entertains residents of several Tauranga rest homes. The church has a connection with the nearby Huria Marae and supports reconciliation initiatives between Maori and Pakeha.
‘We would strongly recommend Christian Savings services & assistance’, says Leanne. ‘People from our church invested term deposits into Christian Savings’ investment options. Returns are competitive with other financial institutions and it is rewarding to support goals, vision & values of an organisation that supports Christian works.’