A decade ago, Elim Nelson – one of the earliest Elim churches to be founded in Aotearoa, New Zealand – was based in a tired, leaky building that wasn’t serving the needs of its vibrant, multigenerational community.
Needing a loan to help finance the building project, church leaders first approached a major commercial bank. The bank staff had trouble understanding the nature of church income – based on giving, rather than sales – and Elim had to look elsewhere. They found a more sympathetic ear with a specialised Christian lender; later acquired by Christian Savings. After their loan was approved, they got busy building for the future.
Elim Nelson’s new facility is now a great asset for the congregation and for the wider community. It’s location and warm, welcoming design has resulted in people driving past and then visiting church on a Sunday. It’s an excellent multi-purpose site, used throughout the week and available for local groups to hire.
Elim has a thriving preschool, and regularly fills its 200-seat auditorium with guests and regulars. Pastor Richard Batchelar explains that the church sees itself as ‘the hands and feet of Jesus. We’ve got to be in the community. We’re each called to make a difference where we are.’
Among their extensive community work, Elim is involved in CEC (previously known as Bible in Schools) at lunch times in two schools, serve four schools in the area with their after school & holiday programme, and provide a free soup and buns lunch during winter for school kids. The church runs parenting courses through The Parenting Place, Alpha courses, Cleansing Streams, and CAP money courses. Members volunteer to support rest homes, and put together Christmas boxes for people in need in the community. The church recently put on a community day in a local park, complete with a bouncy castle.
Since acquiring the loan, we have been involved in refinancing and restructuring Elim Nelson’s building loan so they can get the most out of their money and keep doing this fantastic work in their community.
Pastor Richard recommends Christian Savings to all churches. ‘It’s great to have someone who understands who we are, why we do what we do, how our income streams operate.’
He says, ‘Christian Savings has a heart to see lives changed, they understood our church’s business model and potential, and worked really hard to support our plans. Christian Savings is such a benefit to our movement,’ he said. ‘Partnering with you makes real good sense.’