Church planter needed – Bonny Hills NSW

Greetings all, we're forwarding this opportunity on behalf of our friends at Salt Community Church (referred to as Salt) on the mid north coast of NSW in the communities of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills:

Salt Community Church

Salt Community Church (referred t

o as Salt) is located on the mid north coast of NSW in the communities of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills. The region is less than 20km from Port Macquarie and part of the Hastings Camden Haven local council region. 

Salt is located by the beach and within easy access to numerous State Forests and National Parks. Our region is littered with natural beauty and the pursuits of its residents generally revolve around being involved in sport and the outdoors, often in the water and out utilising the natural environment.

The Lake Cathie-Bonny Hills community had a little over 6000 residents in 2011 (source ABS data 2011). The area is a highlighted growth area with significant residential construction and proposed development in progress. The population is expected to grow steadily and is estimated to approach 10000 residents within approximately 10 years.

We began discussing the possibility of planting Salt over 4 years ago with the senior pastor of  our parent church, The Point Community Church (TPCC). With several families sharing a passion for spreading the gospel to our local area but needing to make the commute into Port Macquarie to be part of the TPCC, it was a logical fit to trust God with this next move to consider establishing a Campus of The Point.  Our vision is to do whatever it takes to have a gathering of God’s people in this region.  Salt may remain a campus of The Point long term, or Lord willing Salt will be financially self sufficient in the future.  Either way, this is an important mission for reaching our region with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We began meeting as a core group in February 2016 and utilising our current venue, Lake Cathie Public School, (LCPS) not long after. Our group began with 5 families from TPCC and officially launched in August 2016 holding weekly Saturday afternoon meetings from 5-630pm. Our service is faithful to God’s glory yet relaxed in nature with approximately 30 adults and 10-15 kids under 15 attending on a reasonably regular basis. We are super excited about the road ahead and are confident that God is preparing someone’s heart to join us as we continue to love and serve one another and this community. 

We are seeking God’s man to lead Salt Community Church.

We seek a man who, ideally:
→ Is married and is in the 30-45 age range
→ Has been assessed or is prepared to be assessed by Geneva Push as suitable to be a church planter
→ Has done or is undertaking theological training
→ Has pastoral ministry experience 

The right candidate will not be excluded necessarily on the above as we will seek God’s guidance on how to support and establish the ‘right’ person to fulfil this exciting role amongst us.

Although it would be preferable to have someone work with us full-time we may have to consider a part-time appointment initially, with the pastor’s income from the church supplemented by some other form. (unless we can source funds from elsewhere). We do not have any church property but are a part of TPCC with a significant amount of the administration burdens and wise support to be shared with them in the foreseeable future. 

The key roles we would expect our pastor to take on would be:
→ Spiritual leadership of the church
→ Systematic, expository preaching through the Bible – though this could be shared with several capable lay members of the community
→ Help grow and develop a culture of evangelism and discipleship within the church
→ Develop leaders of Growth Groups (for Bible study & prayer & pastoral care)
→ Support and development of kids ministry 
→ Support and develop effective mission with young families in our region
Continue to grow the existing links with Lake Cathie Public School

Our vision is for a Bible-based, Gospel-driven church, strong on evangelism and discipleship, with a particular focus on young families.

If you are interested in discussing this further, please contact us on:

Greg Hickey – greghickey77@yahoo.com.au; 0425 303 042
Marty Dures – marvendures@bigpond.com: 0458 854 041
Steve Covetz – steve@tpcc.org.au: 0414 830 350

Church planter needed – Molonglo ACT

Greetings all, we're forwarding this message on behalf of the team at Southside Bible Church, Tuggeranong:

Molonglo Bible Church Canberra
Planter / Pastor

Molonglo Bible Church is a church plant for a new region of Canberra. Supported and planted by Woden Valley Bible Church (WVBC) we are seeking a man to take the lead in planting and pastoring this infant church.
Theological qualifications, a commitment to expository preaching, a passion for outreach and a love for Jesus and His people are essential. Initially he would also be part of the pastoral team of WVBC.

Contact : Dom Fiocco 0406 376 016
dom@wvbc.com.au www.molonglochurch.com.au

Don’t re-pot, revitalise!

David Jones is the senior minister at Ann St Presbyterian, Brisbane.  As well as being a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, he's also been a pastor and planter in London, Wales, Hobart and is now working at revitalising the ministry of Ann St Presbyterian which sits in the heart of Brisbane. He caught up with Derek Hanna to reflect on what he’s learnt and how he’s going about it.

Can you give us a bit of an overview of Ann St?

Ann St Presbyterian sits right in the centre of Brisbane. The building has existed since 1871 in different forms, and the congregation was established in 1857. So it’s got a lot of history, and has a number of Trusts associated with, and is in a really strategic and visible place in Brisbane. So all these things provide both challenge and opportunity.

How have you gone about helping people capture that vision?

Well, it’s in lots of little ways, but the two main ones have been through Kingdom Centred Prayer and Gospel Centred Preaching.

So, for Kingdom Centred Prayer in the vein of Acts 4, I want us to be gathering together to pray, expecting God to act. In other places where I have been I have always tried to prioritise the prayer gathering by making it the hub of church life. This is still a work in process at Ann Street, but I am convinced that this is where vision is caught- at the prayer meeting, when the whole church comes together to seek God`s face. 

And alongside that is Gospel Centred Preaching. Every week, we want to hear clearly together what God is calling us to, and what he wants for this city. That requires hard work in the preparation, of sermons that are faithful to the text and relevant to the culture of our city. We must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.

So, unlike a church plant, there’s a lot of history and tradition. How did you go about managing the change you thought needed to happen?

Well, the first thing I did was listen, getting to know and understand the church, it’s history and people. There’s often more Gospel vitality than first appears so I wanted to hear about what God had done, what He was doing, to honour and celebrate those things and then to build on those strengths. As an example, for many churches the congregational singing isn’t always that inspiring. But at Ann St it was fantastic, and something to be really thankful for. We have a heritage-listed building in the centre of the city, a space that we can open up to others, invite them in and connect with them. You don’t want to critique too harshly what’s gone before, and you don’t want to commit chronological snobbery.

So the focus wasn’t so much to change (although that would happen) but to understand, celebrate and look for opportunities to build on. So we run ESL classes out of our facilities, the building is open during the week for people to come in and enjoy, we’ve got a ministry to street kids in the city. In fact, part of the Ann St legacy was a trust that ran an Avocado farm up near Bundaberg, and using the profits to employ counsellors to indigenous youth. So we’re going to try and leverage that experience and see if we can translate it into the city. It’s exciting.

You can’t change everything at once, so you prioritise and put your energies in the right places. And what you find as you gather people to pray, and as you preach and put God’s vision before people is that unhelpful things will fall away and become less important, and the Gospel will start to shape how people see what they do.

But I suspect that not everyone has agreed with everything you’ve done though. Any tips for people grappling with this?

I’d say communicate, communicate, communicate. You’ve got to talk to people, and you’ve got to listen to them. You have to manage conflict not by avoiding it, but by talking to those who doubt and engaging the antagonists. You’re not going to win everyone over, and even some of your leadership team may not be convinced, but that should never stop you from communicating to people at every stage how the Gospel should shape what’s happening.

So whereas in church plants you start with a core-team where people build a culture around shared values, and it’s easier to get leaders on the same page: how do you shape a leadership team in a church revitalisation?

You’ve got to show a lot of wisdom in leading, setting the vision of the Gospel before them, and helping them think through what it looks like to be elders, while at the same time having realistic expectations and giving them achievable jobs.

But you’ve often got to think more broadly as well. And that starts with knowing yourself and your own strengths and limitations. I’ve been in ministry for 40 years, and worked in  church plants and  long established churches with much history. So I think I have learned over the years where my strengths are and I know where my limitations are.

So I always try to gather a team around me to make up for my weaknesses and to compliment my strengths. And I invest in them and train them. And I’m accountable to them as they are to me. And there is transparency in that process so that we are working together.

The last thing I’d say is that you want to think about what comes next. For me, I’m not merely thinking about my time at Ann St, but who follows me, and how to keep the church on the trajectory that has been set.

So just to understand: what do you see as your strengths and limitations, and how did you build a team around that?

I think I can get people in the front door through preaching, but I know that if we don’t do something about the side-doors then people will disappear through them.  So we are working hard at developing a network of Gospel communities across the city, serving all three of our congregations. Our aim is to deliver pastoral oversight through these Gospel Communities. But we also want them to be missional communities.

We  are committed to being a multi-site church rather than a mega-church and we’re working hard at building that culture and raising up leaders to that end.

David Jones

Pastor, Ann St Presbyterian

10 things that trip up plans to re-pot

Greetings all,

Phil Campbell has been the Senior Pastor at Mitchelton Presbyterian Church in Brisbane for over 15 years, and is currently the moderator for the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. Over the past decade Mitchelton Presbyterian Church has helped launch two fresh new churc

h plants, and revitalise three nearby churches on Brisbane’s north-side. What has he learned about church planting in that time?

As potential church planters consider what models to adopt for the work ahead, we asked Phil to tell us…

“What are the hardest things Repotting teams struggle to overcome, or the issue most of them fail to deal with?”

 

1. New Plants grow faster than re-pots.

It’s just a fact of life. I guess there are plenty of reasons – and some of them are detailed below. But the fact is, our plants grew almost twice as fast than the revitalisations. While universally there’s been dramatic rejuvenation (with a huge drop in the average age of attenders), re-pot pastors have found it hard to get beyond the 50 adult-attender mark. That’s partly because it’s important to be gracious with existing members – but the problem is, they have the upper hand in setting the culture that newcomers experience, no matter what you say or do from the front.

2. Sometimes we hesitate to do the hard stuff

If you’re a re-potter, it’s great to be loved by the remaining members of the old congregation. But looking back, I think I’d encourage our re-plant pastors to push harder, be bolder, and break through pain barriers sooner rather than later in confronting the need for cultural change.

3. There’s got to be a death before there can be a resurrection

Re-pots will only ever work when remaining members acknowledge there’s a terminal problem.‘Younger’ people in the remnant group (say in their 30s and 40s), will likely be the most difficult to persuade of the need to change. They’ve accommodated to the church culture, they’ve been trying to make a difference for the last five or ten years, and they still think they can 'fix it.' They’ll be hard to persuade that they probably can’t.

4. Existing members will be suspicious about change, motives and newcomers

One sad reality for us as a contemporary church trying to help nearby traditional ‘failed’ churches was that older members questioned the motives and allegiances of their new pastor. Putting it simply, they were afraid of a take-over. Their fears were probably well-grounded – we needed to learn that the ‘franchise model’ isn’t always the best answer. On the other hand, they needed to learn that every visitor or newcomer was not a covert operative from Mitchelton.

5. It feels (more) like you have to do everything yourself

Church planters often feel like they’re doing the heavy lifting on their own – often literally, with the chairs. I think it’s probably worse in a re-pot. Remnant members are probably tired and rusted on. Newer members may feel disempowered by the existing members. And so it all falls to you. If you start a Sunday School and it attracts new families, it’s going to be quite a while until they stop being ‘new’ and start being ‘helpers’… so again, you’ll feel like you’re doing it all yourself.

6. Sadly, it’s still not as cool as planting

I know you’re not doing this stuff to be ‘cool’ – but there’s still not the same level recognition of those who go into the front lines and battle it out to refresh and regrow old congregations. Which is a pity, because it’s tough and honourable work, with great rewards.

7. Old facilities can cause difficult dynamics

I’m not talking so much about the ‘sacred space’ issue that once used to be considered off-putting. It’s now well established that Gen-Y are quite attracted to the sense of history that comes with traditional church architecture. I’m thinking of more pragmatic issues, like having way too many seats.  Re-potting an old church with pews for 200 with a core group of 25 creates a really difficult vibe. I advised one pastor friend to take out the pews from the back half of the building and replace them with a few lounges. But if you’re re-potting with remnants of an old congregation, decisions like that are fraught with difficulty. (Don’t, by the way, try to sneak in and do it on a Saturday without consultation!)

8. Old facilities can be your friend

Having said that, there are huge advantages in having a home base for your church. If you can work your way around the change management issues and start creating an inviting environment, you’ll be free from the eternal set-up and tear-down cycle of most church plants, and you’ll be free to teach the Bible without fear of being thrown out of your local school for saying something you probably shouldn’t have.

9. People love clear, Christ-centred Bible teaching and warm, authentic community

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? And the beautiful thing is, in almost every re-potting scenario I’ve been part of, there are people who have been in church for years and haven’t ever really heard the gospel. There’ll be people who are just delighted to hear the bible explained week by week; there’ll be people who have never experienced an expository series that takes them through a book of the Bible in a way that makes sense of it. They will be – genuinely – eternally thankful for your efforts. And they’ll be delighted to see fresh younger faces added to their church family.

10. Gee I wish there were ten of these 

Sorry.

 

Phil Campbell

Senior Pastor, Mitchellton Presbyterian Church

Inspired generosity

Greetings all,

It's not just the congregation that can get uncomfortable when someone starts talking about money in church. Many church leaders habitually begin any such topic with apologetic words, delivered in a reserved tone. It's as though money is too earthly a topic for the spiritually minded, and any partnership with ministry is an uncomfortable one. Yet this approach is a hundred miles away from the Bible's perspective, that sees wealth as not only something that can be handled with wisdom, but used in a way to glorify God.

The way to break the unhealthy connotations, both in your mind and that of your congregation is, of course, better teaching. So that's why this month, as tax time rolls around, Geneva is devoting its site to providing you with helpful resources for developing an inspired approach to your finances.

Seven resources to get you thinking right

  • Inspiring generosity in, and for your church plant – How do you create a culture within your church that does more than just hand over money? Church planter Paul Harrington has decades of church planting experience in the Australian context under his belt. He has had to find the money to both start and sustain church plants in areas that have given established denominations pause for thought. In this month's webinar he offers clear advice for inspiring generosity towards and within your church plant.

  • Giving Generously review – One of the best books available on fundraising for churches and creating a spirit of generosity within congregations is Rod Irvine's Giving Generously: Resourcing Local Church Ministry. Ray Galea takes a look at this practical, Australian manual, and shares how he has put it to work in his own church planting context.

  • Stories, the key to generosity – North coast church planter Chris Ekins talks about how he has focussed on stories as a driver for generosity at Coast EV, in particular the Gospel story that undergirds every act of giving.

  • To own or not to own a church building? – One of the biggest fundraising tasks a congregation will ever have to confront is a building project. Church planter Andrew Heard, church planter and senior pastor at EV Church, asks the crucial question, 'Is property a spiritual goal?'

  • Raising money for a building – So you've decided to put down roots in a particular area – is there an appropriate and effective way of putting this need before your congregation and supporters? At Multiply16 this year Rod Irvine, the author of 'Giving Generously: Resourcing Local Church Ministry', delivered a seminar on the specific task of raising money for a building project.

  • Should you put aside money for church planting? – Andrew Heard gives a surprising answer to whether or not church teams should budget to give money to new church plants. He warns that financial planning includes thinking about how NOT to sever the nerve between a congregation and evangelism.

  • Living well – Not all financial struggles a church planter will confront have to do with funding the work itself. Successful businessman and Geneva Push supporter Scott Parry-Jones provides advice to church planters on being good stewards of the money God has given them with off-set accounts, credit cards and good governance so that you can spend money where it really needs to go.

Hoping this helps you see your church finances as an encouraging part of your ministry!

– Ed.

Ray Galea’s Giving Generously review

Greetings all,

One of the best books available on fundraising for churches and creating a spirit of generosity within congregations is Rod Irvine's Giving Generously: Resourcing Local Church Ministry. But don't just take our word for it. Ray Galea has written an excellent review that not highlights Rod's theological insights, but their practical applications as well:

Its strength is that it treats the important issues of financial giving as a matter of the heart. Rod is first and foremost concerned not with a church’s ability to make budget as with the issue of changing hearts. Its other strength is that it’s not theoretical. It was birthed in the experience of pastoring a growing suburban church which Rod clearly loved.

As the book’s title indicates, Rod’s focus is how to help the community of God’s people to grow in faith and generosity, in view of God’s grace, with the resources he has entrusted. The opening chapters articulate areas of responsibility for the senior minister. Rod urges the pastor to be clear on articulating, promoting and celebrating the church’s God-honouring vision. He then lays at the feet of the pastor the responsibility of resourcing the vision.

It is a paradigm shift for many pastors to move from ‘tolerating’ the money topic to embracing it as part of making disciples. The book then fills the gap by equipping pastors to do just that. There is a thoughtful reflection on how to teach on generosity, followed by a helpful critique on the prosperity gospel, and then a chapter on the whole thorny issue of tithing. Rod comes down on what I call the ‘how much more’ argument. While acknowledging the wide range of giving expectations in the old covenant, Rod concludes that if the Israelites at least tithed prior to the cross, how much more reason have we, who live after the death and resurrection of our Lord, to be more generous?

The rest of Ray's review is available over at The Gospel Coalition website, where he talks particularly about the application of Rod's insights in his own church.

Well worth the read!

– Ed.

Confessions of a church planter

Take some time out to benefit from church planter Toby Neal's insights into the messages Jesus sends to the fledgling churches in the Book of Revelation, and how they relates to church planting in Australia today.

  1. Deep Love – In his first 'Confessions of a church planter' talk, Sydney church planter Toby Neal takes his audience at Multiply16 to the books of Revelation and Ephesians to examine Jesus' congratulations, criticisms and commands for the church at Ephesus.
  2. Fearless Endurance – Toby Neal continues his Confessions of a Church Planter series, focussing on Revelation's churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia. Here we discover that persecution is the birthright of the church and is only likely to increase over time.
  3. Uncompromising Truth – In his final Confessions of a Church Planter session, Toby Neal takes us to the church of Pergamum. No doubt they didn’t want to be irrelevant, yet they didn't see the danger of embracing practises that compromised the Gospel even as they preached it.

Culture as shared meaning

Greetings all,

This month Geneva Push is turning its attention to culture. Not the tea-cup and crumpet kind, but the social glue that keeps people together. Writing for business organisations, this is how Edgar Schein put it,

“Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of [a group], that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion [a group's] view of its self and its environment.”

God's word will always harden some even as it softens others, but understanding the cultures we are preaching the Gospel to is essential if we're to avoid human barriers getting in the way of the good news. Cultures are possibly easiest to identify when we're dealing with ethnic groups, but even then we can make the mistake of thinking that one group of migrants is very much like another. And once we've identified our audience's 'basic assumptions and beliefs', we still have the challenging task of working out the most central places to connect, and the best ways to communicate with them.

Which is where this month's special collection comes in…

We've assembled a range of culture-conscious resources which we hope will help you start your own indepth consideration of the cultures that make up your part of the field:

  1. Reflecting on the homogenous unit principal – David Williams from CMS looks into the origins of the Homogenous Unit Principle and asks if it is an appropriate guide for planting multicultural churches in Australia.
  2. Asian culture is not mono-culture – A great place to begin, especially for those with a significant Asian population in their patch. Scott Sanders picks the eyes from Peter Ko's brilliant analysis of the varied levels of Chinese culture.
  3. What to do with more than one culture – Double the expertise, one talk. Geneva Push's Scott Sanders leads a discussion with ethnic church planter Peter Ko and the Church Missionary Society's David Williams about designing successful congregations and services that embrace more than one culture.
  4. Accessing women's culture – (Posting soon!) Understanding gender culture within cultures. Church planter Cathie Heard discusses the difficulties associated with breaking into feminine culture when you begin work in a new area. She shares the key places she discovered for connecting with women, techniques for imbibing local culture, and methods for progressing beyond just having conversations about the kids. 
  5. Developing a culture that connects with culture – How do you train your church to be culturally aware? Andrew Heard discusses the importance of understanding the culture surrounding your church, as well as developing a culture that continues to offer the distinctives of the Gospel.
  6. Creating a culture of mission – Church planter Connan O'Shea follows up with the steps he's taken to foster a culture of mission to unite and enthuse the members of his congregation.
  7. Saturday EV Church – Tim Baldwin finishes off with a practical consideration of the steps he took to develop EV Saturday Night Church, a plant out of EV Church aimed at a sub-culture of NSW's Central Coast.

Thoughtful contributions for whatever cultural challenge you face!

– Ed.

Video

Asian culture is not mono-culture

There is a lot of talk, particularly amongst caucasian pastors, about the need to develop more indepth and intentional ministries to the large number of Asian migrants who now call Australia home – something we as a network want to encourage and equip churches to be doing well. But it is imp

ortant to understand that demographic movement is not a single culture. 

One of the more helpful areas of discussion during the last few years has been around understanding the different generations that make up Asian migrant culture. In his Traps for Ethnic Plants Planter Session, church planter Peter Ko helpfully breaks up the cross-cultural church into the following generational groups: Generations 1, 1.5, 2 and 3+ (its something that Bruce Hall has talked through with me regularly in our discussions about cross-cultural planting).

1st Generation

Members of this generation migrated to Australia as adults or in late high school. Their heart language – that which they will wish to hear the Gospel in – is actually their home language, and not the language of their new adopted nation. They retain strong 'migrant' work / study ethic which cut across Australia's more laid-back culture. For these and other reasons, they don't tend to integrate well with Anglo Australians and other cultures. They will feel most at home in congregations that consist largely of their migrant background.

1.5 Generation

Members of this generation are not Australia-born but they are Australian-raised. They were young children to early high school in age when they arrived and are truly children of two different cultures. They are bilungual (or more), with many being able to read and write in their home country's language. However their heart language is English. Consequently they can mix and interact well with Anglo Australians, though they won’t feel completely at home with them. But because they straddle the generational divide, they don't tend to feel completely comfortable with members of the 1st Generation either. Their preference will be to mix with other 1.5 Generation of 2nd Generation members.

2nd and 3rd+ Generations

Members of this generation are Australian born and raised, and so their heart language is definitely English, even though they might speak a basic or conversational version of the language spoken in their parent's home country. They preserve many cultural habits of their parent's home country, and have been shaped by their attitudes. However they may just as likely be reacting against those attitudes. 3rd+ Generation members still feel somewhat torn between two cultures and experience varying levels of integration – it depends very much where they have been brought up. Some may consider themselves 'fully Aussie' despite their appearance. Others mayb be more comfortable around other 1.5 or 2nd Generation members.

In his Planter Sessions Peter Ko, now the senior pastor at South West Chinese Christian Church, argues that, “For churches and church plants to reach ethnic communities in multiethnic centres, there must be effective partnerships both within and without.”

So what has to happen if church plants are going to successfully reach ethnic and multiethnic communities?

Peter suggests we have to begin by developing effective partnerships within these churches between 1st and 1.5-2nd Generation ministries. His experience is that churches tend to choose one generation over the other. One always looks and feels like the after-thought, so one thrives and the other suffers. One is driven as the primary vision of the church and has leadership stacked in its favour, but the other doesn’t. The result is that congregations operate as separate churches within the same building. This might be appropriate in mono-ethnic churches, but it certainly isn't ok for ethnic communities.

Church plants being sent from established ethnic congregations offer some hope for developing gospel-centred church communities sensitive to the context of migrants. Peter's solution at SWCCC was to plant two congregations simultaneously – a Mandarin-speaking congregation reaching 1st generation and an English-speaking congregation seeking to reach 1.5 and 2nd generation. These 2 congregations, together as one church provide the opportunity to effective reach multi-generational ethnic communities.

Unfortunately, In Australia multi-ethnic and ethnic church plants aren't happening fast enough. The nations will be coming increasingly to Australia. And for many ethnci church plants they don't tend to be doing anything different to the kinds of churches they've come from and so don't grasp the great opportunity of doing something new that comes from a new church. 

So where are the opportunities?

– Other ethnic communities can be served by this model. Although it will be different for different migrant communities since the migration history will be different (to Chinese migration). For example, recent Persian migration experience some very different challenges to Cantonese migration a few generations ago.

However, there are enough similarities in the lack of growth and lack of partnerships in these ethnic groups between 1st gen and 1.5+ gen ministries. Which leads us to the key challenges or things to think thru…

Finding the right lead planters: Ideally the lead planter will be someone from the 1.5 generation.

The need to gathering two core groups: Ideally families that bridge both 1st generation and 2nd generation.

– Sufficient resources (importantly leadership) to have two ministries up and running simultaneously: In Australia it has been (and is) difficult to find suitable equipped pastors who can minister in an ethnic communities mother-tongue and communicate well in English.

– Finding internal and external partnerships: The model requires internal and (especially) external partnerships.

– A desire for Kingdom growth: More concerned about Kingdom growth than ownership (denomination or otherwise).

– The need to be intentional and proactive:

My prayer is that we will see many new churches seeking to reach 1st generation migrants and the next generation migrating with their parents and being born. There are great opportunities for Gospel-centred churches in Australia.

Australia’s sobering church planting choice

Greetings all,

This month we're devoting our front page to the initial release of data from a comprehensive Lifeway Resarch study into the success factors behind church planting in Australia. The full study will be released in June through Geneva's web site – stay tuned! – but we're happy to be able to present you with some of the key findings, early and unvarnished.

The first thing you will notice is that we have some hard questions to ask. The data conclusively indicates that it's not enough to get keen minded Christians together and open more churches.

Church planting as a whole – embracing all its many variations and approaches – is not demonstrating significantly increased conversion rates as hoped for…

Now I rush to add that it is demonstrating greater rates than we see with established churches – just not as high as we expected. There was a time when, both here and overseas, missiologists regularly proclaimed that church planting was the most effective way of getting new people into church. That's just not the case – when church planting is done ineffecitvely. 

That said, when you drill down and begin to consider the statistics in their context we discover that there are various approaches to church planting that drag the results down as a whole. Equally, there are some techniques applied by other plants that are showing gains well above the average.  It seems that, under God, not all church planting styles are equal. 

Consider the information below. It's sobering, but ultimately encouraging. There are some very good techniques we can be applying, which God is using to call many people in our unchurched nation to Christ, and this preview of the study begins to unearth them. We commend them to your consideration!

The Study

What makes Australian church planting work? The details… – What impacts the growth of weekly church attendance? It's one of the key questions being asked by church planting teams as they engage in local mission, prepare to launch new congregations and see the lost mature in Christ. The recent survey into Australian Church Planting identified the importance of intentionality, experience and support.

The results are in: What makes Australian church plants work – Internationally respected missiologist Dr Ed Stetzer and Lifeway Research’s Associate Director Scott McConnell in an hour-long special webinar discuss the results of the latest study into Australian church planting. 

Highlights from the Australian church planting survey – Scott Sanders gives readers the cliff notes on some of the most significant preliminary findings in the survey results.

Telling people you're telling people a plus – One of the key habits that correlates with success for new works is a habit of monthly communicating their committment to multiplication – but despite that, only 33% of our churches see this as a priority!

Supporting resources

Here are a selection of great, practical resources that will help you put into practice the positive findings discussed above!

Buidling the evangelism machine – Mikey Lynch interviews EV Church's Craig Dobbie on how to establish and develop your church as one that has evangelism as part of its DNA. He deals with both the broad principles and practical steps from the experience of having developed EV's evangelism strategies from its early days as a church plant.

Mission-minded ministry – Craig Dobbie, the Mission Pastor at EV Church on the Central Coast discusses what it means to be a mission-minded church, and how the priorities of his role have been shaped by that decision.

A church-planting trend I'd like to see – Andrew Heard considers the trends that are currently shaping Australian ministry and recommends a trend he'd like to see in a society increasingly opposed to the Gospel.