Planting New in Kariong!

After seven months of dreaming and planning, two families started a new ‘venture’ on 3 February 07 in their local community, Kariong – north of Sydney. We are not exactly sure what to call it,” says Laurel Ansell – the team leader. “While we are currently a ministry of Central Coast Community Church, we are aiming towards a church plant.” At the present time a number of regular programs are touching the lives of people in their community:

  • A 9 year old girl told her mum that she now wants to pray.
  • A mother of one of our boys says The Marquee is changing her life and she is feeling better able to cope with her 7 kids after being with us.
  • A mother said that even after the first week at our program her two kids had better manners.
  • One of our “itinerant kids” is helping us mow the lawn and clean the scout hall because he “wants to be with us”.
  • Although given a discount for the use of the Scout Hall the team prayed that God would help them for the money was still “coming out of our pockets.” “We approached the Scout Hall management and an arrangement was made that if we cleaned the inside of the hall and maintained the grounds we could use the Scout Hall for our programs free of rent,” says Laurel. “What an answer to prayer!”

The XChange is a weekly program for children who have no idea of God or a relationship with Him. Two children have made a commitment to Jesus – and when that happens a party is held after the program to signify the ‘party’ happening up in heaven. The child also chooses a ‘faith friend’ and is encouraged to join the weekly 30 minute Bible studies with Viv. The kids have no Bible background. “We have been learning one bible text these last 10 weeks,” Laurel says. “The one we have been focusing on is Romans 12:2, ‘Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.’" 

The Marquee runs at the same time on Saturday afternoons as The XChange – only, it is just once each month. Unchurched adults enjoy the time of community and friendship – “and of course the yummy dessert and coffee”! The team is working hard during the month to form friendships and invite contacts to The Marquee. 

Barneys House is the monthly praise morning – a time for the team to share scripture and encourage each other. “It is called Barney’s (short for Barnabas: the son of encouragement) – "and God is working through Barneys as well,” the team report. “We have had two unchurched people attend with us.” 

Building community in Kariong: “Running programs is relatively easy – but forming community is what we really want to do and, of course, is more time consuming,” says Laurel. “We know though, that for a successful ministry the formation of community – both within the team and within the community – is vital.” As well as brainstorming sessions, time to celebrate and debrief for the team – here are some things being done to form community in Kariong –

  • Door knocking: Visiting people in their homes and telling them a little about our programs and services – and offering them a free gift bag filled with information about our ministries.
  • Lawn Mowing: The team is mowing lawns for 3 families in Kariong who are presently experiencing hardship.
  • Meals: The team is currently cooking meals for 2 families who are also experiencing hardship.
  • Prayer & Gifts: Contact and encouragement is being provided – with prayer, cards and fruit baskets – for a young family with a terminally ill father.
  • Bread Delivery: 10 to 20 loaves of bread are given each week to families needing a helping hand – and a Signs magazine is included.
  • Because some of these kids don't have a supportive home environment, the team is now providing sandwiches as part of their weekly XChange program.
  • The First Community Social was held at the end of March – with a BBQ and games night (with Andrew Grant as the MC).

The Future! Laurel and the team have an experienced planter mentoring them, and Laurel has fostered small group networks. However, they feel unsure of themselves. “In spite of all this, God is using all we offer him,” Laurel says. And, there are plans for Kariong Kids Holiday Crafts (9.00 am to 12.00 noon during the school holidays); training by Gus Villablanca (from Focus on the Family) to talk about relating to kids from broken families with broken lives; and, instruction from the Department of Community Services about the most common problems in the Kariong area and how to help.

2 Comments Planting New in Kariong!

  1. Pam Shell

    Dear Laurel and Team, I want to wish you every blessing and success in your decision to set up a new church in Kariong. It has been needed for a long time and I pray that now will be the time. Will it be a Community Church and if so, what will this mean to you? I admire all you are doing and want to encourage you in your new baby steps. I pray that it will have wonderful success in the eyes of Jesus. There is probably an opportunity right now to invite some of the people from Erina, (or even Gosford) who live nearer to Kariong to join you. I think you may find some there are ready to make a step.

  2. Lauren Mason

    It sounds really awesome what you guys are doing and i would like to encourge you guys to keep going in thie ministry.
    I’m from Kariong Community Baptist Church and we are realy exited to see more hands working in the community of Kariong for the greater glory of Christ our Lord.
    Maybe in the future we can see both our church’s working together in some ministry programme’s.
    Blessing and Love.

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