Western Australians may see themselves as geographically and culturally separate but the same Christian question is bothering every corner of the country, says Shenton Park minister Ben Underwood.
“Like all cities, Perth varies enormously from area to area,” the Rev. Underwood says, “But there is great spiritual need and disconnection here as there is everywhere.”
This is why he believes that conferences addressing the hard questions related to church planting are gaining so much local support.
“I’m a relative newcomer to Perth, but I’m aware that here, as elsewhere, there’s a growing enthusiasm for church planting across several denominations,” he says.
Mr Underwood says Perth had large turn-outs to conferences run by both the 121 Degrees Church Planting Network and Trinity Theological College Ministry Intensive, both of which had significant input for people planning new congregations.
He believes the next step is to get Western Australians interested in the In The Chute conference, run by the national church-planting network, The Geneva Push.
“The Geneva Push is seeking to do nationally what is happening locally in many places – to get people interested and engaged in church planting together to help and encourage one another in this work,” he says.
As well as providing coaches and free resources, The Geneva Push runs ‘In The Chute’ conferences where plans and personalities can be assessed free of charge.
Geneva Push director Mikey Lynch says sharing the burden is why the network exists.
“It can be small and slow for ministry where many people are planting and that can kill a lot of people if they’re on their own,” Mr Lynch says.
“We want to prevent that by supplying the prayer support, the coaching, the guidance and the camaraderie that a network like Geneva can provide.”
The Rev. Underwood is keen to hear from anyone interested in attending the National In The Chute conference.
“I’m planning to be at the National In The Chute and to bring a potential church planter from Perth with me,” he says.
“The Geneva Push can link like-minded people together across Australia, and has specialist resources to help us evangelise new churches into existence.”
The National In The Chute conference will be held in Canberra this year, from December 6-9 at the Australian National University and include speakers like Don Carson, and input from experienced Australian church planters.