Review Roadmap

The complete independent review and consultation process


Arise Church’s vision has always been to transform cities by the truth and love of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the head of the church and we desire to reflect His love and acceptance to everyone, everywhere (Ephesians 4:1-16).

While this has been the heart of the Church, we acknowledge that we have not always got this right, and as a result there have been people who have been deeply hurt and experienced rejection.

In response to this it is our heart to be open, to listen and go on a journey to ensure we:

  1. Allow the time and space for people to safely share and be heard
  2. Acknowledge any hurt caused, to repent and seek forgiveness
  3. Bring health and reconciliation by committing to genuine change

We believe this is a significant and important opportunity for Arise to learn, to grow, to become healthier and a more beautiful representation of Christ to Aotearoa and the world. We believe that Christ will continue to build his church and we are committed to reflect and change where we need to.

Review Timeline

Given the nature of reviews and amount of consultation require, these dates are subject to change, however, the below are our estimates around timelines.

Pathfinding recommendations released publicly.
More about Pathfinding →
Mid July
Review Advisory Council (RAC) representatives announced
More about the RAC →
Mid July 2022
Duncan Cotterill findings released to the Arise Board and RAC
More about Duncan Cotterill review →
End July 2022
Arise Board and RAC to workshop vision, strategy and action plan
More about the RAC →
Early August 2022
Interim recommendations begin implementation Early August 2022 onwards
Staff and Members Hui held across key campus locations (exact dates TBC)
More about the Hui's →
August-September 2022*
RAC prepare and finalise final recommendations
More about the RAC →
October 2022*
Final recommendations made to the Arise Board by the RAC
More about the RAC →
30 October 2022
Implementation of final recommendations begins 1 November 2022 onwards
Current Board terms end and new Board appointed 30 April 2023
First review of recommendations progress Hui held, and report released
More about the Hui's →
October 2023
Second review of recommendations progress Hui held, and report released
More about the Hui's →
October 2024

* More time may be given for the hui and finalisation of recommendations by the RAC if this is required.

The Process and People

This time of reflection will be informed by two independent reviews which are being undertaken by a professional counselling service, Pathfinding, and legal counsel, Duncan Cotterill. Further, we’re also undertaking four other reviews with external experts to assess the board and governance structures, the place of a spiritual oversight and eldership, the handling of information and privacy and the financial management of the church.

It has been agreed that the findings of these reviews will be passed to an advisory council made up of church representatives. Amongst other responsibilities, this Review Advisory Council (RAC) will consult (hui) with staff and key pastoral leaders within the Arise congregation and then make final recommendations to the Arise Board by October.

The key outcomes of this process is to help Arise become a better:

  • Place that loves all people
  • Place where all people are equipped and empowered in their calling
  • Place that deeply cares about our wider communities
  • Place where people are lovingly encouraged to grow in their Christ-likeness
  • Place where the policies and practices are best practice
  • Place where there is transparency and accountability at every level
  • Trusted and safe place
  • Culture where all people are welcomed, loved, and accepted, because that is Christ's vision for the world

The Arise Board acknowledges the significant cost of time and resource necessary to undertake this level of review, and reiterate we are committed to this journey and the investment it warrants.

God gives grace to the humble, and while we know this process will be uncomfortable, it is with a humble heart that we seek to reflect on Arise. We trust and believe that God will continue to bless His church as we repent, learn, and grow. It is our prayer that through this process those who have been hurt will find a pathway to healing and reconciliation. It is also our prayer that Arise will more fully embody who we are called by God to be: to bring transformation to cities with the truth and love of Christ.

As the review roadmap has a wide-ranging scope, it is important to recognise that aspects of the review structure, process, scope, and timing may need to change and adjust as it progresses. We expect that regular ongoing updates will be provided to ensure transparency and accountability is maintained.


The Review Advisory Council

It is important that the findings and recommendations from all the reviews are prayerfully considered and understood by all those they impact. It is also important, in order to rebuild trust, that there is transparency, accountability, and engagement with the review findings and their recommendations.

As a result, a group of internal and external stakeholders to Arise from across the country will be gathered to act as oversight and facilitate further consultation with Arise members. The key objective of this group will be to make final recommendations to the Arise Board and provide accountability over the changes being implemented.

This group will be called the Review Advisory Council (RAC) and they will be composed of approximately 9-13 people representing:

  • External legal representation (to chair)
  • Arise Board representatives (2 people)
  • Arise pastoral representatives (2-3 people)
  • Arise leadership representatives (1-2 people)
  • Arise congregational representatives (2-3 people)
  • Theological expertise (1-2 people)

The terms of the RAC are yet to be finalised, however, their key responsibilities will be to:

  • Take receipt of the findings and recommendations from both independent reviews
  • Take receipt of the findings and recommendations from the other four specialist reviews
  • Lead a consultation and hui with key Arise pastoral leaders and staff
  • Obtain theological and spiritual advice
  • Make formal recommendations to the Arise Board
  • Provide regular updates on the progress of implementing the agreed recommendations

The selection of representatives will be made using a skills matrix in consultation with key leaders, pastors, and external advisors to Arise.

The final membership of the RAC will be communicated to Arise members prior to the beginning of Staff & Members’ Hui.

 
Staff and Members Hui

These hui will be facilitated by the RAC together with Campus Pastors and will invite staff, as well as pastoral and congregational leaders across Arise’s campuses to consultative gatherings. Their purpose will be to receive consultative feedback around the findings of the reviews, and to input to the formulation of final recommendations made by the RAC to the Arise Board.

The Staff and Members’ Hui will take place over a 6 to 8 week period and include all staff and key pastoral and congregational leaders from all campuses. They will take place in:

Staff Hui:

  • Wellington — Combining all North Island staff and Campus Pastors
  • Christchurch — Combining all South Island staff and Campus Pastors
Members Hui:
  • Christchurch — Combining Christchurch, Dunedin and Selwyn
  • Wellington — Combining Hutt Valley, City, Kapiti and Palmerston North
  • Auckland — Combining Auckland, Whangarei and Hamilton

The Reviews in Detail

The Pathfinding Review and Recommendations

Pathfinding was created as a safe and trusted place for people to share both their good and bad experiences about Arise. The priority was to ensure people felt their voices were heard and experiences confidentially recorded. Over 545 people engaged with this process, with many sharing their stories for the first time with counsellors and psychologists.

Pathfinding will examine the submissions and provide a range of key findings and themes and make recommendations to the Arise Board regarding best practice in the care and welfare of staff, interns, and congregation members. It will also highlight any other key themes that may need to be addressed.

Pathfinding will also publish publicly the recommendations it has made to the Arise Board.

The Duncan Cotterill Review and Recommendations

As a best practice standard, the Arise Board had made the decision to undertake a review of its employment practices, handling of complaints, and board structure at the end of 2021. But, with the recent allegations and complaints, the Arise Board expanded the scope and increased the independence of this review. This process is being expedited by engaging an independent law firm who are experienced in undertaking legal reviews of this type, Duncan Cotterill.

The focus is on ensuring Arise is a legally compliant, well-functioning, healthy, and safe workplace for employees, interns, and members. As commissioned by the board, the Duncan Cotterill review will make recommendations in relation to the following:

  • Workplace culture
  • Employment policies, and practices
  • Post-employment practices
  • The management of volunteers and interns, including Ministry School culture and policies and procedures
  • Handling of complaints
  • Compliance with workplace health and safety

Any serious allegation or complaint against an individual coming out of any of the above review processes will be reported directly to the Arise Board for further consideration and where appropriate investigation. Depending on their nature they may also be reported directly to the Police by the reviewers at their sole discretion. Allegations against individuals cannot be shared publicly for legal and privacy reasons.

Other Areas Under Review

In addition to the above two Independent Reviews, Arise is also obtaining third party specialist advice regarding several areas within the church. Some of these areas were already under review prior to the Pathfinding or Duncan Cotterill review processes and require specialist knowledge or expertise. The additional specialist advice includes:

  • Advice in charities governance and privacy obligations — Parry Field Lawyers
  • Advice in financial management and control, transparency, and disclosure — BDO and others
  • Expert theological input and advice on church structure and leadership — TBC

We expect that in addition to the specialist advice received, the Pathfinding and Duncan Cotterill reviews, together with the Members’ Hui and RAC will further refine any recommendations given across these areas:

  1. The Board and Governance at Arise including:
    • The selection and appointment of new board members
    • Board representation and diversity
    • Board membership terms
    • Board powers and processes including:
      • Appointment of the Chair and the roles and responsibilities
      • Approval of budgets and delegated financial authorities (DFAs)
      • Employment and workplace health and safety
      • Board subcommittees
      • Board engagement and consultation with Eldership and Spiritual Oversight
  2.  
  3. The operation and function of the Spiritual Oversight and/or establishment of an Eldership including:
    • Selection and appointment of Spiritual Oversight and/or Elders
    • Representation and diversity of Spiritual Oversight and/or Eldership
    • Eldership and/or Spiritual Oversight terms
    • The relationship and interplay between the Arise Board, Spiritual Oversight and Eldership
    • Roles and responsibilities including:
      • Appointment of members
      • Recommendation on pastoral appointments
      • Spiritual and moral guidance for pastoral staff
      • Advice to the Arise Board on spiritual and moral matters
  4.  
  5. The Organisational and Leadership structure of Arise including:
    • The role and function of the Senior Pastors
    • The role and function of Campus Pastors
    • The role and function of the Senior Leadership Team and Church Management
    • The roles, responsibilities, and authorities at Campus Level and Head Office Level, and the relationships between each
  6.  
  7. Arise's Privacy and Data policies and processes — to ensure member data is safe and secure and Arise is compliant with Privacy Legislation. Will look at specifically:
    • How information is given and collected from members
    • How information is stored and accessed and who has confidential access to this information
    • Streamlining privacy concerns and request
  8.  
  9. Arise's Financial Management and Oversight — to further improve the existing financial controls and stewardship within Arise including:
    • Reviewing DFAs at an individual employee and campus level
    • Reviewing salaries, entitlements, and benefits of all employees across the organisation
    • Reviewing how budgets are set and expenditure allocated across Arise
    • Reviewing policies and process regarding expenditure on guest speakers
    • Reviewing budget allocation for Arise Care and pastoral support for members
    • Enhancing the level of reporting and improving the transparency in reporting of expenditure

Again, our prayer is that over this time, those who have been hurt will find a pathway to healing and reconciliation and Arise will become more of what we are called by God to be—a church that will authentically shine Christ’s light and love in a world that desperately needs the truth of the gospel message. We are incredibly grateful for the patience and grace of the Arise congregation through this journey. We welcome feedback about this process which can be lodged via submission below.