Pentecost, Prayer and Planting

On Pentecost Sunday we remember that Christ sent his Spirit into the world to invigorate the mission and build His church. This Sunday we can be reminded that we serve a Lord who is busy redeeming the lost, conquering regions in the Kingdom that do not yet bow the knee and turning rebels into worshippers. This is therefore an appropriate Sunday to pause on the work of church planting. 

We celebrate the great work so many church planters and core teams are doing all over our country – building and expanding God’s Church by preaching the Gospel to the lost, perhaps in areas our current churches have not been able to reach.

We also celebrate church planters like Ben Murphy and his team at Wilson Christian Church who have become an officially instituted church earlier this year! Have a look at their video to hear their story.

This Sunday please pray for our church planters, their families and all the volunteers who gladly take up the mission into which the Holy Spirit is leading us.

KJ Tromp
CRCA Church Planting Taskforce

Another Church Planted: Hope Community Church (Baldivis)

Hope CC Panorama1

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

Ministry Formation: A short History

MFW Banner

We have all heard about Ministry Formation, but why was this work begun, and what is it seeking to do now?

In 2003, Synod established the Ministry Formation Workgroup. This committee got to work with developing ways that local churches can better engage in the work of developing leaders and engaging in mission in their local communities.

In 2006 this work was expanded as Synod appointed a Mission Training Coordinator (Rev Jack de Vries) to spearhead this work. Jack worked hard with the Ministry Formation Workgroup to promote the Four Fold Task, adopted in 2006. The Four Fold Task had the basic mission statement “The Christian Reformed Churches of Australia are churches reforming to reach the lost for Christ.” We call this a ‘mission statement’ because it outlines the core task that we are working toward. This mission was divided into four main tasks:

Pray: To call upon God for such an outpouring of his Spirit that his people will be assured of his love through his Word, seek to please the Saviour in all things, manifest the godly life and be filled with prayerful and sacrificial compassion for the lost in all the world

Multiply: To enable local churches to expand numerically, equip and nurture their members, and become the mother-churches of as many fellowships and congregations as possible; and also to take further initiatives to create fellowships by penetrating structures of society with the gospel.

Train: To multiply the number of well-trained persons (ordained, non-ordained, full time, part time, voluntary) lovingly dedicated to the creation and development of such fellowships and congregations by proclaiming the gospel

Align: To reform continually the life of the denomination (including our church ethos, customs, church order, use of resources, denominational committees, support staff and agencies) to encourage and enable the fulfilment of the fundamental aim

Synod 2009 affirmed these core tasks, and embarked on some restructuring work that would enable local churches to pursue these tasks more effectively.

Both before and after Synod 2009, however, some thought the Four Fold Task was too narrowly focused around mission work, and that it did not give enough emphasis to important tasks like pastoral care and preaching. For reasons like these, Synod 2012 modified the tasks to include aspects of church health – which obviously includes aspects like preaching and pastoral care. The hope is that these decisions will see local churches with growing emphases on matters of

Discipleship: growing disciples is an all of life process. Whether we are talking about children, youth, young adults, middle aged or young people, we are to encouraged them and develop them as disciples of Jesus. The overall goal is to move people toward maturity in Christ (see Col 1:28). We will be working hard to help local churches find effective ways to encourage people of all ages to grow in their faith, to be positively engaged in their local church, and to develop their determination to express the Kingdom in their daily lives.

Leader training: a specific work group has been developed to provide resources to help local churches train and develop elders, deacons, and other leaders. Obviously, a decision at Synod cannot make things happen at the local level. These resources need to be embraced and fully implemented in local churches.

Growing and developing healthy churches: in addition to the core tasks of faithful preaching, proper administration of the sacraments, and faithful application of church discipline, there are many resources local churches can use to help them assess how they are going and find ways to become more healthy.

In the same way that no person can ever say that they have ‘made it’ and that they don’t have to grow any more. Local churches, too, can never say ‘we’ve arrived’ or ‘we’re doing everything perfectly. Church health, then, will only ever be relative.

With a view to assist local churches in this work, Synod agreed to establish Church Health Networks in every Classis. Jack de Vries will work with Classes to help local churches do the sort of things that will lead them to greater health.

So Synod 2012 has made a good move: the denomination has a more simple structure which, Lord willing, will help members move more effectively toward maturity, which will help train elders and other leaders, and which will result in the sort of growth that honours Christ our Saviour.

CRCA Structure 2009

2009 Structure

CRCA Structure 2012

2012 Structure

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, NIV)

– Dave Groenenboom