Sometime around 1918, a rather dedicated man began making a weekly journey on horseback to Horsham Downs, a small rural community north of Hamilton. Starting a Sunday gathering for the local children, he soon found a core of families wanting to meet together regularly as a faith community. So they did. And in time, they built a brick church on the hilltop, steeple and all.
The church continued to gather over the years, with highs and lows that attend small rural communities in New Zealand. As the nearby city became more accessible, more people found a spiritual home within the church, and in recent years a second location was added in nearby Ngaruawahia.
We, too, have heard the story of Jesus, and discovered, like those earliest Christians, that his story makes sense of ours. We have joined the happy band of those who follow Jesus, orienting our whole lives around him, and gathering as a community of faith, hope, and love, in his name. We call that community The Village Church.
With a history spanning a century, we’re a church that is insistently local: a church for the people of Hamilton, Horsham Downs, Ngaruawahia, and the surrounding regions. We believe God has called us to live for him and for the greater good of the communities where we live, work, and play.
However our horizons are not bounded by the hills around the Waikato basin; we hear the call of Jesus to continue spreading the news of his great love to every nation and people-group. A map of the world sits in our hearts alongside a map of the neighbourhood
what we believe
We look to the Scriptures (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) as our authority in matters of both faith and practice. That said, we happily affirm the Apostle’s Creed as a fitting summary of those Scriptures, and you can get a broad sense of our “big rocks” from there.
Further to that, if you were to visit a few times you might begin to detect a few of our idiosyncrasies:
We are broadly charismatic in our understanding of the gifts of the Spirit.
We are contemporary in our musical style, but keep a steady eye on the great songs of the past to remind us that we are part of a family that is spread over centuries.
We believe the highest authority in our church is the team of elders, and in accordance with our understanding of Scripture, that team is to be made up of men qualified and ordained to the task of shepherding the church.
We want our kids present for a good chunk of the church's gathered worship.
We aim to foster a sense of sincerity and reverence in our gatherings while avoiding polish and professionalism.
We are partial to good coffee and the point about avoiding polish and professionalism does not apply in this case.
We understand from Scripture that the local church is led by a plurality of elders, and that the Bible reserves the role of an elder to qualified men who lead under the chief Shepherd and head of the church, Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures state that the elders are responsible before God for the care and health of the local church, and will give an account to Him for the way they have led His people.
Recognising and acknowledging the one-flesh union of marriage, for those elders that are married, their wives co-labour with their husbands and are embraced as an integral part of the Eldership team.
Presently our Eldership team consists of: Mark & Colette Meeske, Dave & Sarah Campbell, Brennon & Carrie Lanigan, Phil & Wendy Whitechurch, Liam & Alannah Meeske, Angus & Kelly Jones
Mark & Colette Meeske
Mark & Col have been in ministry and church leadership for over 29 years. They have just recently joined our church family to lead the eldership team who together lead the church. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild. Mark serves as our lead elder and has a key leadership role in church oversight, preaching and leadership development, while Col leads our women’s ministry and has a huge heart for pastoral care in the church and the community. Together they serve on an apostolic team (New Covenant Ministries International), which ministers into local churches around NZ and beyond.
Brennon & Carrie Lanigan
Brennon & Carrie have been part of The Village Church since 2016 and help to bring leadership and care to our Horsham Downs congregation. Brennon has a key leadership role in the building project currently underway, while Carrie’s primary role is on staff as our church administrator. Together they oversee our life groups and help new people find their fit.
Connect with Brennon
Connect with Carrie
Phil & Wendy Whitechurch
Phil & Wendy have belonged to The Village Church for over 25 years. Phil has served as an elder between 2005 – 2008, and now again since 2018. He oversees our prayer ministry, including Healing Rooms and Clearing the Rubble. Together they walk alongside many of our church family pastorally.
Connect with Phil
Connect with Wendy
Connect with Mark
Connect with Colette
Liam & Alannah Meeske
Liam & Alannah got married at the end of 2020 and bring a mixture of South Africa and Australia to our Kiwi shores. Liam has a key leadership role with our staff and finance team. Together they lead our youth ministry and bring oversight to our young adults.
Connect with Liam
Connect with Alannah
Angus & Kelly Jones
Kelly has grown up in our church, but together with Angus, they have been part of The Village Church for 9 years. Angus has served as an elder since the middle of 2021 and when he isn’t teaching at Ngaruawahia High School, he and Kelly help to lead and care for our Ngaruawahia congregation.
Connect with Angus
Connect with Kelly
Dave & Sarah Campbell
Dave & Sarah have belonged to The Village Church for over 20 years and help to bring leadership and care to our Ngaruawahia congregation. Dave has a key leadership role in our preaching & teaching, while Sarah keeps the family smiling and the home fires burning.
Connect with Dave
Connect with Sarah
Accounts Administrator, taking care of donations, bills, and the day to day accounts.
Music Director, leading our teams who help lead our musical worship.
Prayer Team Coordinator, leading our prayer ministry teams, plus supporting other office and ministry tasks.
Amber van Gaalen
Communications Manager, taking care of all things communication and social media, plus Village Kids administration.
Our staff all function as deacons. The office of a deacon (diakonos means “servant”) is to serve the church by shouldering some degree of leadership authority from the elders so that they are able to give themselves to the tasks of oversight, shepherding, word, and prayer. Deacons are qualified men and women appointed to this office by the elders in the public laying on of hands. Examples of spheres of responsibility warranting a deacon appointment would be the administration of finances, church property, hospitality, worship, children’s ministries, youth ministries, small group ministries, outreach etc.
The Scriptures of the New Testament reveal a pattern of Apostolic partnership for the health and strength of local churches. We partner with a team of men and women who work with many local churches to help equip, strengthen, and encourage them. The people making up this team operate and relate together in the gifts explained in Ephesians 4, (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, Teachers) for the good of local churches in their communities. Another way to say this is that The Village Church is an autonomous local church (self-governed under the Eldership appointed here), operating in relationship with an apostolic team, whose input we welcome for the health, progress, and maturing of the church. This particular team goes by the name New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI)