Box Hill NSW (part of the Hills District region) is a community in the making. The currently empty land will one day boast sportsgrounds, reserves, playgrounds, a school and a large shopping centre. The existing Mason Road will be converted into a ‘main street’ in the middle of the town centre. The suburb will transform into a vibrant area with great housing, employment and recreational opportunities. By completion, Box Hill will be home to approximately 42,480 residents…And one of our affiliated churches, NewHope, is prepared.
NewHope’s original Kellyville community was established in 2010 (by a team who set out from Carlingford Baptist). This year, NewHope has become one church with two communities – with the launch of NewHope Box Hill. David O’Connor (Doc) is the Lead Pastor of NewHope (collectively) and says that the new location, in a development corridor where the population will double within the next 20 years, was intentional. “We recognised that there’s going to be a heck of a lot of people in this area,” Doc says. “And wherever people are, the gospel needs to be lived out and declared and expressed in word and deed.”
With this new community, NewHope have taken the first step towards their desire to plant churches. “We’re massive believers in the Association’s Gen1K vision. It’s really exciting to fold the vision that the Lord has given us as a church into something that’s even bigger than ourselves…it’s not just us dreaming this stuff, it’s not just us running our own race. We’re really part of a bigger team – and to be part of a family of churches is better than going it alone,” Doc says. “It really helps our people to understand that we’re not just doing this for NewHope, we’re not just doing this to build a ‘brand’, or a corporate vision. We’re doing this to play our role in what the Lord is doing in our movement of churches in NSW and ACT.”
The majority of NewHope Box Hill’s launch team were part of NewHope Kellyville, and Doc says that the new plant has re-energsised their faith. “When you plant a church with a group from another church, it gives them something fresh to sink their teeth into and activate their faith around. Seeing people have to go deeper in prayer, or forge fresh unity and new relationships – seeing their hands go up for pretty much anything and their willingness to give and serve and go that extra mile…it has revitalised people’s faith,” Doc says. “I think with planting there can sometimes be fear around the existing congregation. But if the Lord has ordained that step, don’t let that hold you back. As soon as we sent those 50 people out from Kellyville, 50 new people came in!”
And the church’s story really is a great example of what the power of partnership can provide; Hawkesbury Valley Baptist partner with NewHope financially and have been really generous for Box Hill’s first twelve months of existence, NewHope have been partnering with Orange Baptist in prayer as they pursue their vision to plant churches in regional NSW – raising $15,000.00 to support their endeavours, and Rouse Hill Baptist have a facility on the edge of Box Hill that NewHope have been able to use once a month. Furthermore, NewHope’s youth and young adult ministries are a collective effort between their two church communities and Rouse Hill Baptist Church. “It’s been great to see the youth and young adult teams get stronger because you’re drawing from three church communities as opposed to just one or two. Because we’re doing it together, we can do more than we could on our own. We both chip in to employ a staff member in that space. It’s born really great fruit,” Doc says. “And I think, beyond the fruit, God is just pleased when churches are working together!”
Gen1K Mission Team Leader Jamie Freeman would agree. “I’m so encouraged and excited to see the number of churches getting skin in the game for the Gen1K vision that God has placed before us as a movement,” Jamie says. “The story of what God is doing in the Box Hill area highlights the partners needed to achieve this big dream. Relationship, sharing Resources, Raising up leaders and Reproducing new congregations are key elements to the Gen1K strategy that we see embraced in our North West Sydney network. I commend all the leaders working together and the great witness this brings.”
/ / P R A Y :
- Praise God that NewHope Box Hill has been able to get started after being on their hearts for so long! Thank Him for the team that has rallied, for unity amongst the pastors in the area, for newcomers despite having to meet on Zoom, and for the first handful of people who have responded to Christ.
● Pray that NewHope would establish a strong presence in Box Hill.
● Pray for wisdom and creativity in how they can reach the community in light of pandemic restrictions. Covid-19 doesn’t take God by surprise, but it does mean the church hasn’t been able to meet as regularly as they’d like (and are missing the togetherness, the opportunity to get to know others, and the relational side of things).
● In Box Hill currently, there’s nothing in terms of an option for a venue (other than people’s houses). Pray that the church would soon acquire land for a multi-purpose community facility that can reach and serve the community and growing congregation. The population of this development corridor will one day be over 100,000 – so they need a facility to reach a large community and house multiple congregations and expressions of church!