According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics – as of 5.27pm, December 12, 2006 – there were 20,713,873 Australians. Every two minutes the number goes up with a new baby born. Every four minutes it goes down with a death. With migration factored in, there’s a net gain of one person every two minutes. Less than 9% of Australians attend a church weekly. But what is very clear is: denominations that grew in weekly attendance between 1991 and 2001 also grew in the number of plants – denominations that declined in numbers of congregations also declined in weekly attendance!
Even back in the 1980s Adventist researchers Roger Dudley and Clarence Gruesbeck demonstrated that church planting effectively advances God’s kingdom in western societies. They concluded that between 1977 and 1984, while the average annual growth rate of all [Adventist] churches in North America, including new ones, was 2.8 percent – the average annual growth rate of new plants was 31.2 percent. Also at that time Lyle Schaller (church growth expert) said, “Every denomination reporting an increase in the total number of congregations reports an increase in members. Every denomination reporting a decrease in congregations reports a decrease in members.”
More recently, a National Church Life Survey (Australia) paper confirms that new church plants result in growth. And, Russell Burrill, an Adventist church planting researcher in the US says, “Every denomination that has a church planting strategy is a growing denomination.” Those that are growing are planting churches – those that are not planting churches have leveled off or are declining.
While sharing more ministry ideas for planters, this NEWS also tells stories of churches planting churches. This is going to be the future. While some denominational leaders are still trying to come to grips with the idea of church planting – a growing number of planters (and pastors of established churches) are finding that their churches are healthier and grow faster if they empower and release people to plant new churches. They are also finding that emerging church plants are simply happening – and they want to affirm and encourage the action.
To check out links to websites about church parenting and multiplication go to https://www.newchurchlife.com/. You will also find important conferences that will support you in multiplying and planting new. Steve Addison has suggested, “Having children could be good for you!”
Make 2007 the year of parenting – lead your church plant to plant another,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 11 Feb 07
News stories, resources, websites & equipping – including:
Swinburne Gateway Plant – Growing: Gateway Adventist Centre (in Melbourne, Australia) is multiplying plants in the Melbourne CBD (central business district) and Asia. Chai Tian He leads the Swinburne Gateway project – near Swinburne University in the central city suburb of Auburn. “Last year was a sowing year,” says Chai – who coordinated a team establishing care groups and Bible studies. They have used a small church building as a base but that has become too small – and so they have rented an apartment as their base for 2007. “This apartment will be used for care-group gathering, a central meeting place for training and an outreach venue for conduct cooking class, fellowship and bible studies,” says Chai.
Brunswick – Another inner-city plant: (reported by Steve Addison of CRM): Brunswick is just a few kilometres north of the centre of Melbourne—a city that is more culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse than the rest of Melbourne. Peter and Susie Botross are planting a church as part of the Crossway movement. They began with a team of twenty in October 2005 – and today over 100 adults and children involved. The church meets above a video store on Lygon Street. Peter has a simple strategy—his people. They invite their friends and family and they share their faith. Twenty-five people have come to faith in Christ as a result. Taka is a Japanese language student studying in Melbourne. His flat-mate invited him to an outreach service. When Peter talked to him after the service Taka had no idea of even the basics of the Christian faith. Six months later he’s an avid student of the Gospels, he’s completed a basic discipleship course, he’s playing in the band and is about to get baptized. read more »
New Life Mornington Church Plant – Harvest Time: On January 21 the New Life Mornington (eastern Melbourne, Australia) 3 friends were baptized by Pastor Errol de Silva – pastor of the Frankston Adventist Church (their parent church). Back in February 2006 Ken & Heather Raymond – lay church planters – began a weekly routine of traveling 160 km to deliver Search Videos to the homes of 43 people on the Mornington Peninsula who had requested these. On June 22 sixteen people gathered in their home for a “Dinner with Geoff” – the key presenter for this video series, Geoff Youlden. From this 8 people began attending a regular Prophecy Seminar in their home each Saturday morning – followed by lunch and an afternoon discussion group. On the first week of the seminar, Traian Morovan and his fiancé Marcia asked to be baptized – and to be married by their pastor. They were married on 18 November 2006 and baptized in the sea (with Traian’s son, Benjamin) on Sunday 21 January 2007,
Climbing the Wall – at Yeovil: Gordon Lethbridge, in the UK Church Plant Newsletter (30 Jan 07), reports: “They are climbing the wall in the Yeovil Church Plant.” One end of their youth outreach unit has been converted into a climbing wall – decorated by street artists. Planters Dana & Leslie King – and their team of community workers – are fostering a range of innovative projects that are making a major impact of the lives of people in Yeovil. Another is their purchase of a double-decker bus – which is being refitted for use as a media centre, youth café and chill out zone. One of the major tasks is to make it accessible for wheelchairs. The bus will serve as the first point of contact for many of the youth in Yeovil’s estates – and will contribute to the fulfilling the ‘GO’ of the great commission.
Second Church Planting Summit in Western Australia: Church planting teams (34 people) came from across Western Australia for a second church planting summit. (20-23 January) As well as looking at how to plant a new church plant and discipleship development, Phil Brown (coordinator) focused on the role of prayer, listening to God and Jesus’ model for missional ministry; while Glenn Townend (conference president) provided encouragement. One highlight was the reports from teams who attended the first Church Planting School (in 2006) –
# Brad Flynn from Jigsaw, a new children's congregation in Fremantle, said it was easy to fall back to old habits and that reaching new people and developing others needed to be a focus.
# John Horvath from All Nations in Mirrabooka, spoke of the need to get in, meet people and really do something tangible to help people.
# Sven Ostring who is working with University students, said that his greatest breakthrough came when he found 'a man of peace' or a person of influence (Luke 10) among students on a university campus.
# Steve Goods & Calvin Sheldrick from the new plant at Landsdale School, said that gaining prayer support, team building, following every contact and having a coach were very important to their development.
# Sharon Walmsley, also part of the Landsdale group, spoke of the development of Café 7 as a faith business venture – involving a café in Landsdale to meet people.
The Watering Hole Church Plant: A core team of 20 people had two training days in January and will meet twice each month to get to know each other and discover their gifts. They are looking for a venue for their café – and, moving ahead in forming a prototype small life group which will run for approximately 12 weeks.
Geraldton Adventist Fellowship: 60-70 people (including children) – and included many aboriginal people – are now meeting in a community centre. A worship band is developing. Phil Brown, church planting coordinator for Western Australia, reports that Val and Trevor Royce are doing a great job with the group.
Faithful Planter Killed – but Church Plant Grows! In November 2005, Rady, a faithful church planter in Zacharo, Greece (who had suffered for many years in Bulgarian prisons for his faith) died in a car accident on his return from a Bible study with an interested group of 20 people. Kostas Theofilaktidis stepped in to continue the Bible work. Recently Apostolos Maglis (leader of the Adventist Church in Greece) visited the group to share a Bible study – and reports that the leader and some of the members will soon be baptized and another church plant will be forming in their village 20 km from Amaliada (in the Peloponnese).
10 days of Prayer and Fasting – February 17-26: The early believers spent the 10 days between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost day in prayer. (Acts 1:14) Then God took the world by empowered disciples. Glenn Townend (leader of the Adventist church in Western Australian) is encouraging 10 days of prayer and fasting across the State – including a –v Prayer Retreat (20-21 Feb 07): There will be no agenda – just pray! Participants will learn to pray from each other – pray through scripture and listen to God.v Prayer ideas include – o Advertising in the community to invite people to participate in 10 days of prayer and a Special Day of prayer for Australia. o Going to the local council/shire, businesses and neighbours to ask them what they would like your church to pray about. o Opening a designated place (a church building, community room, work-place, home) at designated times on each of the ten days (6-8 am or 6-8 pm) for special times of prayer. o Organizing small groups with a special focus on prayer.o Prayer walking around your community. v Fasting ideas include (Matthew 7:16-18) – fasting from food, sweets or junk food; fasting from television, radio, newspapers, internet, videos/DVDs or movies – to have a clear mind & extra time for reflection and connection with God.
RESOURCES, WEBSITES & EQUIPPING EVENTS –
PINES TRAINING CENTRE (Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia) offers Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Church Planting. All the courses are written by Church Planters for Church Planters and delivered by people who have a real life ministry expertise in their area. The Cert IV in particular because it is 15 weeks in length is excellent for getting all the right things in place to begin the task of leading a planting team or participating in a planting team. There is a strong emphasis upon the life of the Spirit, in prayer and in passion for souls. There is clear training in key areas like planting and leadership too. The year begins in mid-Feb with the Cert IV, but some students come in on the mid-year intake also. It’s never too late to consider getting training and preparing for the cause of a lifetime. Contact Colin Stoodley on 07 5477 5070 or 0423484640 or try [email protected].
MINISTRY TO CHILDREN Seminar (Mt Evelyn, Victoria, Australia) – 23-24 Feb 2007: The keynote speaker for this annual Careforce Church conference is Mark Griffiths – and he will be talking about the link between church growth and ministry to children. Check out www.mtcs.net.au.
EMPOWER 2007 (Heritage Community Centre, Western Australia) – March 3, April 14, June 23, Aug 18, Oct 20 and Dec 1, 2007 (3:30 – 6:30 pm). Contact Phil Brown [email protected].
THE WAY (discipleship and Leadership development) to develop and equip missional people and leaders in Western Australia: Contact Phil Brown [email protected].
National New Church Conference (Orlando, Florida) – 23-26 April 2007: Go to www.exponentialconference.com
TED Church Planters X-Change will be held at Friedensau, Germany: 6-12 August 2007. For more details on cost, subsidies etc are available from Janos Kovacs-Biro [email protected].
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS
Peter Roennfeldt m +61 0423 333 614 h +61 (0)3 8361 8641