Church Planting: God’s Faithfulness in Action

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A reflection…

After volunteering to write this blog I got writer’s block and a bit of anxiety: “why did I offer to do this??”

Truth is: I don’t really have much expertise. I have never been part of a church plant, nor has our church been overly successful at planting churches. And yet I continue to find myself captured by the work of God as I see new churches planted, take root and grow.

As a member of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia’s Church Planting Taskforce (CPT) for the last number of years I have had the pleasure of hearing the stories of God growing his bride and forming communities of Christ followers and gospel proclaimers all around the country. From the shores of WA, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland come the testimonies of how God continues to grow the Church as new local churches are birthed.

Whenever a CPT meeting approaches, reports start to filter in from all around the country and there rises within me joy and praise at hearing of God’s work in and through His people. As Church planters share the highs and lows of beginning their new work in a new community God is truly glorified. I love reading the testimonies of God’s grace as he slowly forms teams – calls planters –empowers his people – saves the lost – grows his people spiritually and numerically.

In our church we have realised how hard it is to plant churches and keep it as a part of the ongoing planning and development of the community.  I have seen attempts fail and have been part of many discussions that in the end seemed to go nowhere.  In recent years our church at One Hope Community has been involved with seeing PC3 established in Pakenham. It was great to see God work through 3 mother churches to bring this about and then see them grow. I have seen from the sidelines the tough work, persistence and dedication it has taken for the church to continue and have been overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness and work in people’s lives.

the one thing that keeps echoing in my head is that, ‘God will grow his church and the gates of Hades won’t stand against it.’

Through all of these struggles, the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the meetings and long conversations the one thing that keeps echoing in my head is that, ‘God will grow his church and the gates of Hades won’t stand against it.’  In a culture that seems so hardened to the gospel and so antagonistic toward the church, God continues to grow his church – often slowly but surely, and always through the power of his Word and Spirit.

I will continue to urge the denomination to pursue church planting as a way of reaching the lost for Christ as we engage this Australian culture with the words and love of Christ. I will continue to spur on local churches and Classes to work together to see new CRCA churches multiply through the land. May our churches see a growing dependence on God in prayer, a renewed love for people, so that His bride may radiate His Glory.

Pastor Glenn Dekker
One Hope Community Church
Scoresby, Vic

 

 

Catalyst June/July – Download now!

The latest edition of Catalyst is ready for download!

Click here to download the latest issue.

In this issue:

  • we hear the voices of three South African migrants sharing their stories and offering their advice on how to make the move to Australia
  • Zac Hicks, music pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church shares an excellent review of Hillsong’s latest album No Other Name. A must read!

This issue will be great reading for any church with South African attenders. It would also be good material to share in South African churches, and with anyone thinking of migrating. Share away, friends!

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Got feedback? Leave a comment on this post!

Grace and peace,

Dave Groenenboom
Editor
Pastor: Gateway Community Church

 

Catalyst March – Download Now

Catalyst March is ready for download!

Click here to get the latest issue.

This issue has some great input looking at aspects of pastoral care, church planting from the planting church’s point of view, with the other perspective coming from Pakenham Christian Community Church’s Sean de Kretser.

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We also introduce the work on International Justice Mission, an inspirational evangelical mission doing a truly transformational work, soon launching their partner office in Australia.

My prayer is that the Lord will use this for your encouragement and to stimulate you to engage with his mission.

Finally, my apologies for the lateness of this issue. We encountered some technology woes at the end of last year when Apple radically changed their Pages software, dropping some 200 features, many of which were integral to Catalyst. Our work around involved accessing (with some difficulty) and installing the previous version of Pages. This put us so far behind at the end of the year we scrapped the November issue. Thankfully, we’re all back to together again. Once again, thanks for your patience.

Dave

Another Church Planted: Hope Community Church (Baldivis)

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On 8 September Hope Community Church Baldivis, held its first weekly service in the newly built Baldivis Secondary College (BSC). We praise God for his provision through this school community.

With very little public infrastructure in the Baldivis area, meeting space is difficult to come by. So we are delighted to use this new facility. We are currently meeting in the Media Centre Music Room (access via  school carpark on Pleasantview Parade, Baldivis) and are blessed to have access to some musical equipment, and an additional large room for running crèche and Sunday School.

Pastor Peter (above) has begun meeting with the chaplain at BSC to plan a Dad’s & Kids Campout at the school in November. The intention is to extend an invitation to dads of year 6 and 7 students at the local primary schools to join the year 8 children at Baldivis Secondary college. Hope CCB will provide assistance to run this event including set up, games and cooking a large breakfast for all in attendance.  Please pray for the Lord’s rich blessing and provision on this event and for the families that partake.

In addition to this outreach strategy, the ladies at Hope have been running a weekly Toddler Jam, involving dance and play for mums with young children. We are delighted that a number of community mums have joined us and good friendships are being built, not to mention the great fun the kids are having!

Plans are now also underway to run an Introducing God course for our friends who would like to know more about our God and his Son Jesus Christ. This relaxed and conversational approach to sharing the gospel has been a real blessing for many.

Join us in praying that the Lord will draw a good number of friends to come. This will run during term four.

We recognise that it is the Lord who builds His church, so please join us in thanking God for His wonderful provision. Please ask Him to draw to us those whom He is calling into relationship with Christ and to serve in His Kingdom.

Peter Smit

October CATALYST out now!

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CATALYST October is out!

The next edition of CRCA Catalyst has been released and is ready for download here.

This new edition includes

  • news about a CRCA Church Planting ministry in Madhya Pradesh, India
  • how Crossroad Bible Institute is partnering with SWIM to bring transformation in the Solomon Islands
  • how social media can be used for ministry and mission
  • US Church Planting researcher, Ed Stetzer, shares his observations about Australia
  • an interview that outlines some of the ways the TRAIN workgroup manage accountability with Jack de Vries, the CRCA’s Ministry Development Coach

We encourage you to view and download the latest Catalyst, and share the link as widely as possible.

If you want to leave feedback, feel free to make a comment on the blog. Various articles will be released as separate posts over the next weeks.

Happy Reading!

Dave

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CRCA Ministry Share – and why it’s a very good thing…

Ever wondered what your church’s ‘ministry share’ actually achieves? Is it really just a ‘church tax’? It may be time to think again. Tony Deenick tells us why…

[This material is being circulated so local churches and pastors can encourage their members to give generously to the CRCA Deficit Reduction Appeal, which is being held this coming Sunday, August 19, in many CRCA congregations – DG]

As individual churches there are often things we would like to do which we can’t afford or can’t easily do on our own. Alternatively, we may simply want to do some things less expensively or do them better by being part of a group. So every three years at a meeting of representatives of all our churches, called the Synod, we decide what things we can best do together as a denomination. To pay for these ministries churches agree to pay a “ministry share” based on membership. In practice the ministry share represents around 6% (±3%) of a church’s budget, depending on size and levels of giving.

So what does your church’s Ministry Share payment accomplish?

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Well, it is used to cover administration and denominational legal obligations, such things as setting minister’s salary levels, providing for long service leave, collecting and disbursing superannuation payments, paying copyright fees and providing financial advice. Some of the money goes towards maintaining the denominational website and web addresses and publishing the annual church yearbook. Other funds are used to provide for the cost of Synods and the work of synodical committees which provide oversight over the joint activities and denominational workers. Some committees undertake research on behalf of the churches in areas of common interest. For example, the last Synod set up a committee to look into the salaries of ministers and ministry workers and another to investigate the best alternative to replace the 1984 version of the NIV for church use. All these activities are provided or supported by the denominational Treasurer and Administrator.

The largest proportion of ministry share funds goes towards providing leadership, mentoring, training and support to local churches through our denominational workers

A significant proportion of the money goes towards supporting the work of the Reformed Theological College in Geelong and the Candidacy Committee as they prepare people for ministry in our churches, monitor their progress and provide them with a vicariate (a year of “on the job” training in a local church under the guidance of a senior pastor). In addition some funds are used to help cover the costs of leadership training in churches and in-service training and support at ReCharge (Ministers & Wives) conferences. A small part of ministry share also goes towards supporting the denomination’s mission in the Solomons.

The largest proportion of ministry share funds goes towards providing leadership, mentoring, training and support to local churches through our denominational workers: the Ministry Development Coach and the Youth and Children’s Coordinators. They also help promote the vision of the CRCA and coordinate joint activities by the churches.

In particular, the Ministry Development Coach is responsible for resourcing churches for growth, health and development, promoting collaborative approaches in this and other training initiatives, promoting the CRCA vision including producing newsletters and overseeing the denominational website, and generally assisting and coaching ministers, church planters and other church workers.

The Youth Coordinator is responsible for assisting with training in youth leadership, development of youth evangelism and nurture in the local church, oversight of regional and national youth programs such as the ministry internship program and convention planning, management of the Resource Centre, and general coaching, support and encouragement of youth workers in our churches.

The Children’s Coordinator is responsible for promoting effective children’s ministries in the local churches, providing resources for these ministries, overseeing and providing training in the ChildSafe program, maintaining a healthy network of children’s workers and providing them with advice and support.

By working together through a relatively small ‘ministry share’, contribution, each local church helps to provide substantial services and support to all the churches corporately.

Your generous support through ministry share helps the CRCA continue to deliver good leadership and helpful resources to local churches.

– Tony Deenick Building & Finance Committee (previously known as The Synodical Board of Management)

Summerleas Christian Church (Tasmania) How God is using a church to show he is real

[The ministries of the CRCA come to expression in many different contexts. In many instances, ministries supported by the CRCA come to expression at the level of the local church, so while many things receive denominational funding, it’s the local church which benefits most. In the following article, Clinton Berends, Chairman of the Church Planting Taskforce, writes about one of the CRCA’s latest church plants, Summerleas Christian Church. As you read about lives impacted by the Gospel, be encouraged to see CRCA denominational funds supporting wonderful Gospel ministry. – DG]

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Summerleas’ Pastor Dave Lynch baptises a new believer at Kingston Beach, Tasmania

Just over six years ago, in line with the four-fold task, the CRCA established the Church Planting Taskforce (CPT) with the mandate of encouraging and resourcing the work of Church Planting throughout the denomination. At the most recent CRCA Synod it was reported that, under God’s grace, four new churches have been instituted in the last three years and many more church plants are underway or in the planning stages.

“…God used people here to show me that he’s real…”

One of the churches is Summerleas Christian Church, in southern Tasmania. Summerleas was planted in 2008, and since that time has been blessed greatly, growing from just over 50, to nearly 100. It has been exciting to see the Lord at work in the lives of people.

Pastor David Lynch says “It has also been exciting to see our vision begin to take shape and to actually work as we seek to disciple one another and reach out to others. It has taken a good 3 years or so (and we’re still working at it) to get our heads around what it means for us to live as a Gospel centred organic community (our vision) and so to see this finally start to happen is such a joy.”

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Summerleas people relaxing and building community – the smiles say it all

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While some of that growth has been transfers from other churches, there have been conversions and reconnections to church and Christ that had been dormant for some time. While we don’t want to get hung up on numbers, it’s worth remembering that every number is a person who has come to life in Christ. Here are some comments by those who have come to faith in Summerleas:

I realise that God knew exactly what I needed – to be overwhelmed and surrounded with Christians, not just on a Sunday but every day, all the time, so that I didn’t have a chance to not think about it, or let it slip into the background.

When [my son] was in grade 1 [a friend from S’leas] talked to me about her church (now ours) … and how kid – friendly it was.  [my son] had been to church a few times with my mother but not with me.  I took the chance and came along to church. I guess that’s when I started being more aware of my sinful nature and I am different from the person I was.

I also believe that God used people here to show me that he’s real. I have met so many genuine, generous, kind people since I’ve been here, and every one of them has been a Christian, and it got me thinking that if these people are Christians, and this is how good they are, there must be something to it!

Joining in … on rhythms and family meals was a great way to get to know the members of the church better. I have met lots of Christians who have an active relationship with God – it is not a once a week event…it is their life.

The impact has not just been felt by those who have come the church in that time. There has been great benefit for those who were involved in the original core team. David Lynch says

“(this impact has been) huge, everyone has grown immensely and I would say that almost all of them are more active in making disciples than before. Many have grown into wonderful church leaders, and others have stepped up in ways that they would not have done had they not been part of a church plant.”

As a denomination we have much to give thanks for, including the ministry of church planting, as seen in places like Summerleas. We ought to continue to pray that God would continue to raise up leaders, church planters and church planting teams as he continue to draw the lost to himself through his people.

Clinton Berends

CRCA Church Planting Taskforce

Note: you can also read more about Summerleas Christian Church on the CRCA Ministry Formation Website – DG