Gateway Adventist Centre – in Melbourne, Australia – is a church-planting church plant!
The Story: In 1997, a group of young people (19 – 22 years of age) attending church in the Melbourne suburb of Forest Hills got the vision of reaching their friends in the city centre. Most of their friends lived in the heart of the city – and they dreamt of starting a church in the CBD (central business district). They were enthusiastic and motivated but also needed training – and so they read up on how to run campus outreach programs, home groups, and camps.
In 1999, a centralized Friday night program for the youth attending Forest Hills church was established. By 2000 these young people, together with a few youth advisors, took the step of modifying the program to become a home group structure. Youth revival meetings and training programs for effectively sharing the gospel – and conducting evangelism seminars and home groups – were organized, and continue to present day.
Two home groups were established in Melbourne city by the end of 2000. While one group focused on university students, the other attracted young adults. Over time these home groups multiplied across the city. In April 2001, a monthly Saturday afternoon program was held in the city – with an annual outreach program conducted, to share the gospel with the community.
C.A.R.E Groups: The home groups, which have now become critical building blocks of Gateway, were renamed as C.A.R.E groups to serve as a reminder of: Christ’s Attitude Reflected in Everyone. These C.A.R.E groups are friendship groups that come together each Friday for a meal, the study of the Bible, and prayer.
Gateway worship: After two years of conducting monthly programs and three years of running Care groups in the city, a morning church worship service was launched on 15 March, 2003. While the initial group consisted of 35 people, the church was blessed with God’s careful leading in time. The first worship service was held in a lecture theatre in Carlton under the banner of Gateway – a gateway to the city. After 1 ½ years the church moved to the newly-developed ICT building at The University of Melbourne. But to sustain attendance growth, a decision was made to move to Federation Hall, VCA, Southbank, in 2006.
Training – ‘Church of Antioch’ Model: One of the core values of Gateway is youth-led training for service – with the vision of becoming the ‘church of Antioch’ today! In 2006, Gateway launched a training conference which attracted over 200 young people from across Australia. Over 300 attended in February 2007.
Multiplying Church Plants: The Gateway Adventist Centre is a ‘church-planting church-plant.’
- Gateway alumni have returned to various parts of Asia starting at least 12 C.A.R.E groups (and churches) in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan and USA.
- In February 2006 the Swinburne Gateway church planting project was launched (in an inner Melbourne university suburb) – with C.A.R.E groups multiplying.
- In January 2007, Gateway celebrated another milestone by opening its first permanent facility, a training centre at 161 Pelham Street, Carlton. This centre has become a vital training ground to reach out to the community at large and a Bible school for training other enthusiastic and motivated young people.
The VISION of the Gateway Adventist Centre is to be “a soul-winning and training centre that multiplies churches every three years.”
This vision could also be yours. For ideas visit www.gatewaysda.org.