House of Hope making a difference
2000. Petone’s House of Hope (In New Zealand) was born out of a “fairly evident need for resources and ministry”, explains shop manager and chairman of Jubilee Ministries, Selwyn Stevens (Pictured above).
The House of Hope is a resource centre “strategically” placed in Petone, “because that’s the centre of Wellington in terms of population.”
It is a retail outlet for Christian resources, and they have quite an extensive range of books, tapes and videos that cover a wide range of topics about spiritual deception issues, including cults, freemasonry, and the occult. They also have several titles that are of general Christian interest, such as Bible studies and resources on books of the Bible by a variety of authors. In addition, there are a complete range of Derek Prince, Bill Subritzky and Intercessors of New Zealand material as well as supplies from several other ministries. The shop also stocks an extensive and growing range of second-hand Christian books and “they’re primarily what pays the rent”.
House of Hope is also a national and global distribution centre, sending their goods to Christian bookshops in New Zealand and Australia. Approximately one-third of their turnover in terms of resources being sent out comes from America and Australia.
A third aspect of their ministry, which is a division of Jubilee Ministries, a registered religious and educational trusts and in New Zealand a charitable trust (that the House of Hope is also under), is Christian Carers Network.
Mr Stevens was finding that people who were coming to him for help in spiritual matters as he spoke in Churches and that the books were striking a chord in various areas of people’s lives. As a result, although not originally intended, networks of 750 different ministries globally are points of contact for people struggling with spiritual, emotional, and mental issues. Rather than calling this wing a counselling centre, they call it a prayer ministry, because we want Bible-based counselling, says Mr Stevens. The Christian Carers Network comprises of pastors, professional counsellors and other professionals who are involved in some way in leadership in their church and “bringing ministry in their church and enabling them to upskill to learn how to minister in the Holy Spirit in an effective way.
“What we find is that a lot of secular counselling doesn’t have spiritual answers and we don’t want to criticise the many good people of what would be called Christian counselling. Most of them are church goers who use secular methods and that doesn’t constitute biblical counselling in our opinion.”
The testimonies have been amazing and awe inspiring, notes Mr Stevens. He recaps the story of a lady who was on anti-depressants, and she had two sessions of prayer ministry through some “ministers” who were trained through their programme. The lady was then able to give up her medication under the doctor’s authority, “because there’s sensibility in what you are doing.” Now, with the doctor’s consent, she has given up the medication and is “absolutely fine”.
Mr Stevens continues that without the counsellor having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ it would not work.
“The biggest divide in the Church,” he says, “is not between denominations. It’s if they are religious or have relationship with God. That’s the real divide that has split the likes of the Presbyterians and Methodists in terms of gay ordination and those sorts of issues.
“There are lots of religious people. I know religious atheists, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. We are going to be effective as Christians to the level and depth that we have relationship with Jesus Christ and if we don’t have that we’re wasting time.
“We have unsaved people who have had ministry through us. The Lord has done the healing, at the end of the session they have been asked, do you know who has healed you? And they’d said it must be God because it’s been such a liberation. Then we’ve been able to say, may we have the privilege of introducing you to the one who has set you free – Jesus Christ – and many of them have been saved through doing this. If we were doing this through churches in New Zealand, I believe that we would see a lot of people who are coming to church but were not born again come into the Kingdom and be totally set free. That’s become a pivotal point of what we’re here for.”
The House of Hope started in October 1999 and Mr Stevens is now wondering about where to move next as the shop is too small and they need more office space for ministry.
“Only the Lord knows the impact that this has, and we just want to say we need Christians to pray for this ministry, because its innovative. And if we didn’t have already about five hundred intercessors, we wouldn’t be doing this.”
By Peter Veugelaers
Published 2000, Challenge Weekly