How did you become a church planter?
I’ve been in full time ministry for 14 years, first pastoring a beautiful group of churches in Victoria and then leading the youth and young adults of Newlife Uniting Church on the Gold Coast. As my role was increasing and changing I felt a strong call from God to dream about church planting.
As I did a vision of what could be began to grow in my spirit as I pondered how we, the church, might more effective to win people to Jesus. The question of discipleship is huge for me. How do we help those who have no idea who Jesus is, journey to a place where they are making disciples who are making disciples? This is the approach which has shaped a lot of our thinking about Village Church. Trying to create a church that is true to the Gospel and culturally relevant as it evaluates the benefit and detriment of all that has been church before us.
So, after working closely with the leadership at Newlife, and feeling an enormous amount of support, Ori and Bec came on board to co-pastor and it’s been amazing. A year ago, we had no idea we would be doing what we are, but we’re so thankful God has called us to this. So, we gathered a team together, developed a culture, prayed through our vision and on May 7 went public to the people of Burleigh.
How did the church plant come about?
At the start of 2016 I sat with the statistics, that by 2050 the population of the Gold Coast will double and most of that will be up (multi-story) not out (land footprint). When you think about it, that means that to just sustain the number of people currently going to church in the Australian population (7-8%), our city would need 250 churches of 200 people or more in the next 35 years. This is frightening. It also doesn’t take into account anyone new following Jesus.
At the time I was also wrestling with the tension that people feel part of an intimate movement until the numbers exceed 150. When that happens people begin to feel disconnected from each other and the vision. What if a church could grow to that number and then multiply, each time inhabiting a new postcode, including multiple expressions within the same postcode. Pretty soon we would see a movement of church plants, enabling people to meet Jesus, connect with each other and go out into the world.
With that dream bubbling away in my spirit I approached Newlife’s leadership, spoke with the elders, worked with our Presbytery, and now we are seeing the birth of what we hope will make more and more disciples of Jesus.