Steve Addison reports on my recent return to Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) where in the 1970’s we were involved in planting a bunch of churches. But, it started earlier!
Towards the end of my first year in ministry (1971), my State leader (Pastor Clive Barrett) suggested I start a new church in Condoblin (central NSW, Australia). The term ‘church planting’ had not been thought of at that time! Members from churches I was leading in Parkes and Forbes drove to Condoblin and conducted a Children’s Holiday Club; friends flew out from Newcastle in light aircraft to visit door-to-door; I visited hundreds of homes, offered Bibles, a reading plan and conducted hundreds of home Bible studies. Every Saturday night for three months I preached public evangelistic meetings – with the theme music: Hear the Voice of Youth Cry: What is Truth? (Well it was the ‘70’s!) Out of this started a small rural church in the local CWA Hall – that continued for some years! My first plant!
My commitment to planting churches possibly really started when I was a boy. Dad and Mum, with other farming friends who were believers, seemed to regularly start and conduct holiday clubs and simple worship services in isolated school classrooms or rustic country halls in the forests of south-west Western Australia. Sometimes, it would be a memorial service or an anniversary service for a farming identity – killed in a tragic accident, or struck down by disease. They were simple ways of bringing the scattered, struggling farmers on ‘war-service blocks’ together – for food, fellowship and worship! That’s possibly where the church planting DNA was planted in my life!