So exactly how do you get your head around a vision that calls for a tripling of the size of our movement in a generation? As the old saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
In March, Newstart (our church planting taskforce) took 2 days away alongside a number of senior pastors and church planters to dream, pray and plan for the next 3 years of the Gen1K church planting vision. It was a powerful time where the target of 30 churches over these next 3 years was affirmed, and concrete plans put in place for how this can be progressed alongside local churches across NSW/ACT. Important strategies over the years ahead will include working closely with lead/solo pastors, further strengthening our support structures for planters and establishing the Gen1K foundation to provide a more satisfactory financial base for church planting work. There will also be focus on regional strategies built on the input, expertise and ownership of groups of churches both in the Sydney metro area and across the state.
Exciting new steps in pioneering work continue to be taken across the state – here are a few of them:
February was a big month for Campbelltown Baptist Church. The church is located in the midst of the South-West Growth Sector in Sydney and the planting of new churches has been in the heart of the church for some time. In February this year the church made an historic decision – to plant a new work in the fast-growing suburb of Oran Park, near Campbelltown. Planning for the plant will happen in relationship with Camden Baptist Church and the Newstart Church Planting Taskforce.
Oran Park is only one of a number of significant new growth areas in the south-west of Sydney, and over the last 2 years the pastors of our churches in the region have been regularly meeting to discuss and seek God’s guidance for the planting of new churches across the South-West Growth Sector. There is anticipation that in the years ahead several new churches will be planted in this region.
Ty and Sarah Soupidis are in the early stages of planting Church on the Hill in the Barrington-Gloucester region of NSW. They have significant connections in the community from those who have no other relationship with a faith community and have already seen interest from a number of these people in connecting with the new plant. Church on the Hill will be assisted in its direction and planning by a Newstart Advisory Group, which is chaired by a Newstart team member and includes Luke Hester, the Senior Pastor at Gloucester Baptist Church.
And then there is Newhope Baptist at Kellyville in Sydney, which was welcomed as an affiliated church at our March annual Assembly. Newhope was planted out of Carlingford Baptist Church, in partnership with Newstart. Des Ong and the team at Newhope continue to be thankful to God for the progress of this new church, as it reaches out into a growing area of Sydney.
In these and other stories of planting is evidence of God’s grace and the excitement of seeing people on the journey to faith in Christ. And we trust that over this generation we will see hundreds more stories like these emerge as God calls people to be part of new churches across NSW & ACT!