Noel and Lynette moved to Shellharbour at the start of 2020 and became the Lead Pastors of Shellharbour City Baptist Church just 6 weeks before COVID-19 locked down their church.
Not only was this a challenging time to settle their four boys into a new town and new schools, but it was a challenging time to lead a church, particularly a church that operated two enterprises, Warilla Baptist Preschool and Assist Shellharbour, a community welfare organisation.
With predominately an elderly team and the growing risk of COVID-19 infection, it looked like Assist was going to shut down. But Lynette and Naomi stepped up and adapted Assist to the changing needs. They had a strong feeling that they should pivot towards the training sector, which would be aided by the fact Naomi certified as a trainer and assessor.
But they didn’t know what this would look like. Trusting that God was in it, they set dates for training, believing that it was going to happen, but not knowing how. They hadn’t been able to source any funding for the program. They asked each other how this would all come together and prayer for God to make a way.
A few days later, Lynette was walking on beach and a lady introduced herself as the mother of one of her sons’ good friends. The lady asked a few questions about the church and Lynette told her about her dreams for Assist. The lady said that she worked for Kiama Community College and that they would be able to fund the training program.
“We can’t orchestrate moments like that,” Lynette remarks, “I was just literally praying about it days before, telling God that we don’t know how this is going to happen, but we felt led that it was going to happen”.
And with that, Assist began running accredited barista and customer service training.
Naomi now works part-time as a community worker with Assist, running the accredited training. And when she is not working at Assist, Naomi works for the Community College running similar training for other not-for-profit organisations.
“The church has dreamed again and stepped out in faith again,” Lynette reflects, “and God has been faithful”.
One step at a time, the vision for the church was coming together. Noel and Lynette are excited for where God is leading the church. They look at Assist Shellharbour and see God at work in this space, guiding it onwards and impacting the lives of people in their community.