‘Christ my anchor’ at Grace City

Greetings all!

The Geneva Push network is a big believer in sharing the great things God is doing, especially when it involves bringing new life to those who were lost in sin. So we’re sharing Grace City’s latest prayer letter below, because it there’s much to give thanks and pray for, but most of all there’s a testimony we think will lend strength to your hand as you labour in your part of the field for God. Grace City turned four this year, and in the last year its witness in Sydney’s burgeoning Green Square district has played a role in ten new people coming to love Jesus:

THANK GOD FOR

Thank God for saving 10 people so far this year (and maybe there’s more to come). Here’s the way one of these 10 describes their experience: ‘I came to Grace City for the first time at the start of the year. Everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming and the sermons were engaging and helped me understand what the Bible was saying. I was encouraged to go along to Explore. It was a space where I felt safe to engage and ask questions in a way I had never experienced before. It was at Explore that I came to truly understand the meaning of God’s grace to me through Jesus which enabled me to put my faith completely in Jesus for the first time. Christ is an anchor in every season of my life and I am so grateful that I get to live with Jesus and my Grace City family. I love church. Grace City is a place to meet and encourage each other and to be authentically involved in each others lives.’

Thank God for the second time slot. Because the auditorium was getting full, in August 2018 we closed our 10am gathering and moved to two gatherings at 9am and 11am. Thank God that we have ended up with two evenly sized, healthy gatherings.

Thank God for the team of 3 interns who are expected to start in 2019. We have been praying specifically for this, and God came through! Maybe some of these interns will enter full-time ministry in the future.

ASK GOD TO

Ask God to save more people! The area around our church is surrounded by new apartment buildings and new people filling them. We are thankful for the 10 people this year but our hearts are heavy for almost 100,000 people who live within a 2km radius of our building, most of whom don’t fully trust Jesus.

Ask God to use the ‘Problem of God’ Sunday-series in January and February 2019. With topics like ‘hypocrisy, ‘hell’ and ‘sex’, there is a real opportunity for meaningful conversations. Ask God to save people through this series.

 

If you’d like to know more about Grace City Church, then click over to their web site. In the coming year we’re planning to tell more stories about lives guided from darkness into light by the Spirit and faithful work in our family of church plants, so if you’ve got stories to share, please let us know by sending a message to editor@genevapush.com.

In Him,

– Ed.

It’s all about networking

Greetings all,

This month Geneva Push has been focussing in on the power of pulling together. Christian networking introduces us to other people in God's family that may have been called to similar work, and so have lessons and skills to share that can make our own ministries easier. The resoources that follow have a practical side to them, but they also aim to inspire. These are men and women who have connected with the church planting community, and are able to share with us the great things, and great joy, God has brought about.

This month's 'networking' resources fall neatly into three categories…

Networks that have broken ground for God

Urban church planting: learnings from London – Join Geneva Push's Coaching Director Craig Tucker as he speaks with Richard Perkins (Director of the Antioch Plan) and Reuben Hunter (Pastor at Trinity West Church, London) as they discuss their experiences of Church Planting in London.

Planting Gospel Ministry and the story of Comission – Richard Coekin shares what he has learned from the church planting stage of mission, using the British network Comission as a working example.

Bigger the city, bigger the opportunity – Dan Godden, lead pastor for Salt Church, reveals how planting in the city of Wollongong has revealed to his team the power of significant spaces for creating effective opportunities to connect with the unchurched.

Networks that forge Gospel links

Networking cross-culturally – Dr. Tim Cocks, part-time church planter at Auburn Anglican Church, talks about networking in a multicultural community when you're not from the culture you're ministering to.

Connecting church planting with refugee work – Paul Webb, a church planter in Sydney's multicultural Chester Hill, talks about techniques he has used to build a ministry that integrates with the needs of a community with a high proportion of refugees.

Networks that love Jesus

The network that understands – Matt and Sarinah Paterson from Living Water in Redfern, NSW, talk about the practical ways that the Geneva Push network has demonstrated its understanding of what goes into church planting, and what it can take out of the couple involved.

The network that cares – Josh and Sarah Allen, at Laneway Church in Footscray Victoria, talk about what years of association with Geneva Push has done for their church planting plans. In particular, they share how networking with other planters and their church planting coaches have helped them transform their vision for serving God into reality. 

 

Hoping you find these resources not only instructional, but inspiring in your labours,

– Ed.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

Greetings all,

'Fail to plan, plan to fail' is one of the best known cliches when it comes to developing any strategy, from a simple essay to a successful business, and everything in between. And with good reason! Teams who don't plan, don't know where they're going. Or if they do have a goal in mind, they have little idea how they're going to achieve it, and so no real confidence that they will. Worse, they may not even recognise when the path they're on is taking them in the opposite direction. 

This month Geneva Push is concentrating on putting all of best planning resources front and centre, so you and your team can do the best with the resources God gives you. Of course our primary focus is on church planting, but we think you'll find there are helpful hints here for work in every part of the Kingdom of God. So, to begin…

  • The best ways to develop a plan – Church planting wife and ministry worker Cathie Heard shares her best advice for making a plan – what do you need to consider to ensure your concept for a new ministry will bear fruit?
  •  The top three things to plan – What are the top three key plans you’d put together for a church plant? Andrew Heard shares his thoughts after decades of guiding church planters from concept to conclusion.

Then there's the type of planning that takes place so you can implement your big plans…

  • Preparing the mother church to plant – So you're thinking about the idea of becoming a hub church, but what are the steps you need to take? Time to lean on the experience of Phil Campbell (Senior Minister at Mitchelton Presbyterian Church) who's been leading the team at MPC in Brisbane since 1999. 
  • Is your launch team sticky? – Geneva Push's Director of Training Derek Hanna considers some key questions about the team you're planning to put together. In particular, the relative 'stickiness' of your core group members.
  • How to plant in regional and rural Australia – Some areas need special planning. Geneva Push's Derek Hanna interviews Bruce Bennett from Orange Evangelical Church, and Ross Pethybridge from Dalby Presbyterian Church on the distinctives and roadblocks for planting in a country location, as well as the evangelistic techniques they've found to be most helpful.

After that, there are the immediate plans that shape the first three years of life in any new congregation…

  • Mobilising effective evangelism – Geneva Push founding director and church planter Mikey Lynch teams up with Craign Hamilton from Glenmore Park Anglcan church to talk about enlisting congregation members into the great task of evangelism.
  • Developing a training culture – MTS managing director Ben Pfahlert leads a seminar in the art of developing the sort of training culture in your church that results in the long term provision of mature, well-equipped leaders.
  • Three things to sort out before starting a youth group – Matt Paterson from Living Water church in Redfern discusses the three key things needed to lay a firm foundation for your youth group – a core group, a Gospel DNA, and realistic church support.
  • Accessibility for churches – Lara Oram, an expert in managing disability, offers her insights on how to make your church accessible to the most vulnerable and often neglected members of our community.

And finally, there are big picture plans that shape the culture of your church or lay the foundations for large scale projects…

  • 5 steps to a missional culture – Keen to increase the missional focus of your church? In this post Dave Jensen, the Missions Pastor from MBM Church, shares the first five of eleven points that have helped his team create a greater missional culture within their congregation.
  • 6 more steps to a missional culture – Following up from his first post, Dave Jensen, the Missions Pastor from MBM Church, shares six more points that have helped his team create a greater missional culture within their congregation.
  • Raising money for a building – Planning that helps them plan to give! Rod Irvine, the author of 'Giving Generously: Resourcing Local Church Ministry', delivers a seminar on the specific task of raising money for a building project.

Got a big project that you hope to get going in 2018? A new ministry? A cultural shift? Now is the time to start planning, so that you can be best prepared to lead others. We hope the above resources will give you everything you need so you can tend well to the needs of the Kingdom!

– Ed.

Preparing the mother church to plant

So you're thinking about the idea of becoming a hub church, but what are the steps you need to take? Time to lean on another's experience…

Phil Campbell (Senior Minister at Mitchelton Presbyterian Church) has been leading the team at MPC in Brisbane since 1999. MPC is a vibrant growing church on Brisbane’s northside that’s built on values of loving community and clear, Christ centered bible teaching.

MPC has been involved in church plants, revitalisation and growing the mother church. In this audio file (jump into the audio at the 8:15 mark) Phil speaks about the importance of preparing the mother church ang gives 5 helpful tips, as follows:

1. Fix your own church first
a) Overcome Fertility Problems: If you're planning on planting and growing a church from your mother church, you'll need a fertile 'working model' first. You should ask: Is your church growing? Have you worked out why, or why not? Is your church welcoming? Gospel centered? Relationally functional? Understandable? Well taught?

b) Overcome Comfort Problems: Your church might be growing and vibrant – but if people are geared for comfort and familiarity, theyʼll prefer to stay as they are. It will be hard to recruit plant pioneers, and it will be hard for mother-members to let go. It takes work to create a culture of planting. Promote the gospel imperative.  

2. Define, capture and model a growth-DNA
When your church IS working well and you want to duplicate it, you need to capture the DNA. Each mother church will be different. Clearly articulate what your core values are, what's working and why, what's negotiable and what's not. State these so people know where you stand and where they stand. 

3. Developing the vision 
Developing the vision is the next step, and a key part of the Senior Pastorʼs role in preparing the mother church.

4. Identifying opportunities 
While identifying opportunities and workers <> follows the vision it helps to have some concrete scenarios in mind as you begin. You should: 1. Look for the right planter to add to your team. Allow 2 years lead time. 2. Look for target areas that need a gospel centred Bible teaching church. 3. Look for facilities. Finding the right venue is increasingly hard. 4. Look for a willing core group of people (ideally 30-40 adults) 

5. Planning and Planting – the reality 
In reality, you will need allow 18-24 months before the new church plant will launch. Use this lead time to plan and prepare well.

Hoping these challenges your own thoughts about multi-site planting!

–  Scott

Successful People Plan

Greetings all,

Kicking off our month of planning resources, we start with a reminder from church planter Hans Christensen about just how important it is to plan. Be inspired!

Successful People Plan

One of the things that doesn’t come naturally to me is planning. I am a spur of the moment guy which is fun for me and not so fun for those people around me who aren’t like me. But leaders and successful people plan and so I try to plan well and I try to lead Resolved in planning for the future.

The other day I read through Proverbs to see what it said about planning. Here are a few verses that hit me as I was studying this great book – and some practical lessons I've gleaned from them…

Read more…

Video

Mike Ovey’s guide to same-sex marriage, freedom of speech and Christian persecution

Greetings all,

Prior to his death, Geneva Push's managing director Scott Sanders had the privilege of interviewing Mike Ovey, esteemed theologian and then the principal of Oak Hill College, one of the largest seminaries in the United Kingdom with a strong emphasis on Bible teaching as the core aspect of church leadership.

Dr. Ovey was visiting Australia at the invitation of Freedom For Faith, and in the following videos he speaks about several key aspects of ministry in the UK post parliament's decision to adopt same-sex marriage. Mike has since passed on to glory, but his insights for Christian work in an age of increasing Western persecution are invaluable for church planters in the Australian context.

Mike Ovey speaks with Scott Sanders about how the changes to same-sex marriage laws have impacted on Gospel ministry in the United Kingdom, and what lessons can be drawn for the Australian context.

Mike Ovey discusses with Scott Sanders the historic Barman Declaration – a document adopted by Christians in Nazi Germany who opposed the government's co-opting of the church. Dr. Ovey likens that struggle to Australian churches' battle to teach what the Bible in the face of opposition from the LGBTI community, and draws lessons for staying true to the Gospel.

Mikey Ovey runs through a range of pastoral issues that have arisen in the UK due to the increased attention given to same-sex attraction and his 'best-practice' for dealing with them.

Mikey Ovey speaks to Scott Sanders about the parlous state of theological education in the UK, and what Australian Christian can learn while facing the prospect of being squeezed out of schools.

A cracker of an idea for Easter invitation

I reckon church plants often struggle to get loads of unbelivers and newcomers at Easter in the first few years because people are often not aware you exist. Your church plant is not t'he church they're not going to' bacause they don't know you. Andy Kerr from MBM Rooty Hill posted a cracker idea of inviting the neighbourhood to your church through using facebook's algorithms and some simple technology. 

See below.

Cheers

Scott 

How To: Easter Facebook Ads

Many of you have probably seen the video that MBM put together for Easter this year (https://www.facebook.com/mbmrootyhill/videos/10155152197879687/). We have seen some incredible results so far and the ad has only been live for a few hours. It has reached over 3000 people, and so far only cost us $9. From the paid ad (not people sharing it) we have had 16 people click to our website for more info.

I would love to see everyone promoting there Easter service on Facebook… so here is how to do it. It will seriously only take you 20-30mins of your time.

1. Grab your smartphone and go to the front of your church. You don't need a fancy camera. We live in a culture that filled with selfies, instagram/ snapchat stories and facebook live. Quality video doesn't matter anymore. We only used an external microphone because we had one with us at the time and the school over the road was at recess so there was a lot of noise from them.

2. Invite the visitors in your area. Don't speak about your series, who is speaking etc. Don't use any christianise Do acknowledge that it can be difficult to visit somewhere new. Do acknowledge that you would love to see them. Remember: short (30 seconds) and warm/ friendly/ smiling

3. Fire up Manage Adverts on facebook. Click on the tiny triangle on the right of the top bar. Do not post like normal and then boost it (Happy to explain why if you want to know). If you haven't done ads before you might need to set up some stuff the advert manager first before you make your ad.

4. Create Ad: We want our ads to point to our church website, to a page that has our easter service times (http://mbm.org.au/easter is our one). We want to do this because it helps people to engage with us. Clicking on a website causes them to pause their scrolling on facebook. On our website they get to see what we are like through photos etc. So our marketing objective (facebook lingo) for this ad is “Traffic”

5. From there creating the ad is very straight forward. This was how I set up ours and I recommend you do the same. I set our placement to facebook only (turned off instagram and messenger). I set it up to just run Wednesday – Saturday this week (and will repeat it next week leading up to Easter). I set the budget at $15 per day ($60 total).

I then set it up to appear for everyone that either lives or has been in Rooty Hill and the surrounding 17km (I would have preferred 10km but 17 is the minimum). I also said not to target those that already like our facebook page. And left everything else default. From there I uploaded the video and wrote the text and hit submit.

It is super simple and facebook is giving priority to video at the moment so lets make the most of it and see our communities join us for church this easter and hear of the incredible news of Jesus.

Why assessment is a big deal

Greetings all,

Multiply17 isn't far away, and that's a prime time to have your church planting plans assessed by Geneva Push. You might have noticed that the Geneva Push network is very big on assessment. What you might not understand is what assessment is, and why it's important. So this month we decided to make every aspect of this vital process easy to access and understand so that you can become inspired and prepare yourself for the task – or maybe encourage someone else?

In short, assessment is what Geneva Push calls the task of evaluating the character, marriage and plans of a potential church planter so that, under God, they have the best chance of success as they set out to grow a new congregation. Research by international missiologist Ed Stetzer has demonstrated that the congregations of church planters who have been rigorously assessed have a far higher chance of still being there five years from their launch date. But you can read everything you need to know about Geneva Push assessment here – including the best news. It's free :o)

But that doesn't mean it won't require a lot of work. As Al Stewart is fond of saying, “We want to test your eyes, not just count them!” So to make it that much easier, we've assembled a bunch of resources to help you think through the entire assessement process…

Why get assessed? –  Lee and Cathra Murray (newbie church planters) tell us why they got assessed,  and Al Stewart on why he thinks assessment is a no-brainer.

When should I get assessed – Andrew Heard, the senior minister at EV Church on NSW's Central Coast talks through the sort of qualities he looks for when gauging if someone is ready to go, and sorting out your personal time frame for being assessed.

What's the assessment process like? – Mikey Lynch leads a panel on The A-Z of Assessment, Al Stewart talks to Scott Sanders about what he and his team specifically look for when conducting an assessment interview.

What about the better half of the team? – Geneva Push believes in supporting a team approach to church planting, but many wives find the process daunting. Cathie Heard provides two really helpful videos on calming the nerves on what to expect and what not to worry about, and how to put the assessors to work for you!

Do I have to worry about the word 'No'? – The short answer is no. You can't fail an assessment interview; it's there to help you sharpen your plans. There are a number of recommendations the assessment panel can make ranging from 'Go! Go! Go!' to 'Hold on Tiger!' (NB not our official designations!), but they're all designed to help you refine your approach to church planting. So our last resource, again from Andrew Heard, addresses what it means to 'fail' an assessment.

Praying the above resources help you on your way to become one of the hundreds of Godly Christians evangelising churches into existence across Australia!

– Ed.

Pastoring with purpose

Greetings all, and welcome to our first Editor's post for the new year!

It's common knowledge that a church planter doesn't do it on their own. First they submit their hopes and plans to God, and proceed in His strength. As a single leader or a couple, though, they then seek key people who will help them develop the new Christian community that will spread the Gospel in the patch they've chosen. And here is where a large number of questions arise…

  • What structure does the leadership of a church plant take?
  • What are the areas that most need addressing, right of the bat?
  • How do you divide resposibilities effectively, but still leave them integrated enough to support each other? 

To kick off the year we thought we'd send Scott Sanders to interview the team at Salt Church in Wollongong. Under Dan Godden, they've adopted a version of 'The M's Model' that helps them pastor with purpose…

  1. Ministry – Dan Godden, pastor of Salt Church in Wollongong, speaks to Scott Sanders about the importance of 'pastoring with purpose' when developing the Ministry area of a church plant.
  2. Magnification – Tim Canosa, head of Magnification at Salt Church in Wollongong, describes to Geneva Push's Scott Sanders how his responsibilities go well beyond just ensuring there are enough people to lead singing and praying each week
  3. Membership – Andy Hobbs talks to Geneva Push's Scott Sanders about the necessity of developing good membership structures for church plants in order to build mature believers.
  4. Maturity – Geoff Ackman from Salt Church in Wollongong has a easy to remember definition for his goal as the Maturity pastor: growing Salt members in the knowledge of God, leading them to trust Him with their lives and obey Him in everything – but he tells Geneva Push's Scott Sanders that achieving that is a much more complicated process.

Hope these resources prove a blessing to you!

– Ed.

Heating up your summer evangelism

Greetings all,

Australians love summer. It's our peak time for taking holidays, travelling and trying out new things. In fact, research from Mark McCrindle suggests it's become the peak time Australians try to add an extra member to the family. The Telegraph also reports it's prime time for people dipping their toes into the online dating game. In short, Summer is a time for relaxing boundaries and looking for change. Consequently it's a great time for church plants to consider evangelistic programs that have a focus on both the family and the Australian readiness to embrace change.

Over the coming month Geneva Push will be aiming to help you get ready for Summer. A wide range of of online resources are now availabe in our Resource Library to help you connect with the unchurched Australian in these crucial months. Here are seven of the best to get you thinking in the right direction…

  • Breaking into your community – How do you break into the local community with the gospel before you've opened the church doors? Whether its metropolitan Western Australia or holiday-oriented New South Wales, every locale has distinct markers that identify insiders and outsiders, key points for distributing information and acceptable ways of spreading it. 
  • Engaging your community – Church planter Stuart Starr boils down evangelism to its most fundamental concept, and shares very simple approaches to witnessing that will free your congregation up from much unnecessary anxiety over witnessing.
  • Training your core group to evangelise – Andrew Heard shares his top methods for developing a culture of evangelism in your core group.
  • Summer mission – Dan Godden from Salt Church, Wollongong NSW, leads a panel of church planters who discuss the tactics they've adopted in order to run the most effective evangelistic outreach during Australia's relaxed summer months.
  • Summer nights for city plants – Keris Hobbs from Salt Church, Wollongong, coordinated Summer Nights – a new take on holiday evangelism programs tailored to a beachside city. She shares what her church plant learnt from using their evening outreach activities to reach urban communities.
  • You need a membership course – Coast EV pastor Chris Ekins talks about why membership courses were a 'must' for growing commitment to his church plant, and how he went about them.
  • Everything you needed to know about reading the Bible one-to-one – Richard Borgonon is one of Britain's most acclaimed evangelists, with a particular focus on one-to-one evangelism. In this series of discussions with Geneva Push, he discusses why one-to-one Bible reading is an extremely effective way of spreading the good news, and how it can be adapted by church plants to serve as a team strategy.

Happy reading – listening – watching – planning!

– Ed.