The 2006 Australian census figures provide challenging reading for Christians. Although the population in Australia is growing by over 260,000 per year, the number connecting with Christian churches is in decline. Denominations with stable membership numbers are in fact in rapid decline in relation to population growth. But official church records don’t always provide the best comparison. For example, as many as 10,000 people on the official membership lists of the Adventist church in Australia do not now identify themselves as members – and church attendance is significantly less.
While some denominations have not yet embraced church planting as critical to reaching new people (and even denominational survival) – many evangelical leaders now see the urgency of cultivating planting movements. While cautious, most are also encouraging emerging and missional initiatives. For many this is in fact a return to their heritage. Glenn Townend, leader of the Adventist church in Western Australia, sees it this way for Adventism began as a planting movement. At a recent Church Planting Summit in Western Australia a possible vision was floated – 2,000 small missional groups and 200 churches by the year 2020. Such visions are needed and give identity. In Rekindling a Lost Passion Russell Burrill demonstrates that if Adventists were today planting at the 1870s rate, 1,822 new churches would be planted each year in North America alone!
Church planters, you are at the cutting edge – where the Holy Spirit is working in the community. In this NEWS you will find new ministry ideas, inspiration and encouragement. A growing number of Christians are seeking to reach their friends and communities and are prepared to do this in different ways.
Be courageous for God – and your communities,
(For more details on ’10,000 less Adventists in Australia’ and the urgency of church planting, check out https://www.newchurchlife.com/)
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 27 Aug 07News stories, resources, websites & equipping – including:
· Revive – first Baptisms!
· Miracle in Liberec
· Missional Groups & Church Plants in Western Australia – The LinC; Da Vinci Code attracts Interest; Café 7 touches former members; & All Nations Bible Fellowship – Growing!
· Kununurra Community Outreach Centre – First Worship Service
· Alivio Adventist Church Plant – gets organized!
· Discovering New Ways of Being Church – Home Church Seminar
· The Morling College Centre of Leadership hosts – Focused Living Retreat & Leadership Forum
Revive – first Baptisms! Revive Church in Melbourne was launched in March this year by a group of young people. The focus has been prayer, reading the Word, an environment of encouragement and support, relevant worship, sharing and socializing with their friends. Saturday 25 August started at 11.00 with 1.5 hours of prayer – and as preparation was made for the baptism and worship time (4.00 pm) groups were meeting and praying. Each of the five young men who were baptized – Matt, Josh, Paul, Troy and Matt – shared how Jesus had impacted their lives. Almost 300 friends gathered to witness their baptisms – many witnessing a baptism and its meaning for the first time. Ken & Heather Raymond who are planting a house church (Mornington New Life) say, “It was a fantastic event!”
Miracle in Liberec: Church planter Petr Cincala reports that their new church plant took an active part in the launch of the National Marriage Week 2007 in the Senate in Prague, Czech Republic – with media attention (television, radio and newspaper). Plans are already in place for the 2008 launch – and the main speaker will be the national Minister for Social Affairs. For more information about the idea of the National Marriage Week check out http://www.nmw.org.uk/. The Liberec church plant has also started a Gospel Choir – which is proving an attraction for Mums and kids in their atheistic community.
Missional Groups & Church Plants in Western Australia: Each Tuesday there is a visionary circle of prayer around the State – praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for revival and restoration. Policy guidelines have been adopted to keep 75% of the tithe in new plants – which is a visionary move within a denomination that gathers all tithe to central offices. Phil Brown, church planting coordinator for the Adventists in Western Australia, shares a newsletter with news of new groups and plants –
v The LinC: Café 7 is a commercial café established as a ministry by two visionary team members of The LinC (Landsdale) plant. The Landsdale Playgroup contacted Café 7 to enquire whether they would make a donation to their annual Shopping Bonanza – and Café 7 offered a free meal to the value of $100. This led to further contacts in the community – and one mother asked, “Do you run anything for children in your Café? I am looking for somewhere where I can give my children some spiritual guidance – something similar to what I got as a child when I went to Sunday school. My husband often works shift work and we are available on Saturday, as Sunday is our family day.” Sharyn was able to share that The LinC has a house church every first and second Saturday of the month and she indicated that she would love to come!
v Da Vinci Code attracts Interest: Enquiries about the Da Vinci Code led planter Steve Goods into contact with a family that have recently arrived from India. The LinC team was also able to assist with furniture and family needs – and, the family accepted an invitation to attend house church.
v Café 7 touches former members: A Café 7 employee’s family once had a long association with the Adventist church. At the time of the Western Australian Church Planting Summit Wayne Krause and Peter Roennfeldt met family members at Café 7 – and this family now wants to reconnect and be part of Café 7.
v All Nations Bible Fellowship – Growing! This new plant in Koondoola (Perth, Western Australia) is reaching Africans, Burmese, Karen and indigenous people. On average, 85 people come to weekly worship services – with 50% being children. Those involved are committed – providing $1,300-1,500 each week in tithes and offerings for their ministries.
Kununurra Community Outreach Centre – First Worship Service: (19 August): “We will have our first service in our new church ‘plant’ this Sunday,” wrote Gillian Lefmann. “I know that God is with us and I'm very conscious of the fact that my husband and I are stepping into another culture to bring Jesus there.” Gillian has reported new and small beginnings – something God can really work with (see Mark 4).
Alivio Adventist Church Plant – gets organized! On Saturday September 8 (15.00-17.00) the Alivio plant will share in a special worship event when they will be recognized as an official Adventist church in the Netherlands. The core team have led in a major government sponsored service to Antillians in the city of Delft – and inspired other church planters to make a difference in their communities.
RESOURCES, WEBSITES & EQUIPPING EVENTS –
Discovering New Ways of Being Church – Home Church Seminar at the Melton Christian College (Technology Buildings), 152 Brooklyn Road, Melton South: Bessie Pereira from Oikos Australia and Ed Bishop will host this seminar for those interested in emerging household based church. Topics for discussion will include – The Biblical Basis for Household Gatherings of Church & the Advantages of Home Church. There will be reports of home churches across Australia and the World! Meet others on the same journey. THERE IS NO COST – an offering will be collected. Bring your own lunch. TIME: Saturday, 1 Sept 07, registration 9.30 am & finish 5.00 pm. For more INFORMATION: contact Oikos Australia on 0412 316 252.
The Morling College Centre of Leadership is hosting two important conferences –
v Focused Living Retreat – a high impact, discovery event for leaders to gain perspective on their development, discern core values from past lessons, and develop or clarify personal visions. Fri 22 (7.30-9.30 pm) & Sat 23 (9.30 am-4.30 pm) Sept 2007 at the Pendle Hill Baptist Church, 52 Pendel Way, Pendel Hill. Cost: $50 for supper, lunch, morning & afternoon tea. For more information or registration contact [email protected] or call 02 9896 1719.
v Leadership Forum – exploring the Heart of Effective Christian Leadership with Mark Wilson (Director for Ministries for the Baptists in Western Australia – whose local church has planted 5 new churches) and Terry Walling (co-founder of Leader Breakthru, coach and consultant). Mon, 24 Sept 2007 – 9.00am-4.30pm at the Morling College Center for Evangelism and Global Mission. Cost: $35 for morning and afternoon teas and light lunch. For more details contact Graham Hill, [email protected].