There’s a lot to consider when you’re planning for a new arrival. What will it look like? What will it need? And how will you look after it? The process can be daunting because ultimately, no matter how carefully you plan and prepare, you can never guarantee the outcome you’re hoping for.
That’s when prayer comes in. You lose track of the time you spend on your knees, knowing that something precious and fragile will soon be entering the world. And when you meet your miracle, all you can do is praise God.
It is my vision that New Hope will continue to develop into a place . . . where weary sinners . . . will find rest, will find Jesus and will worship with a people who know Him too.
“New Hope was born today—she is alive and the most beautiful of babies,” Pastor Lloyd Grolimund announced via social media on February 28, sounding very much like a proud father.
With the assistance of a small ministry team from Wahroonga church (NSW), Pastor Grolimund had a vision of starting a new church in the expanding area of Parklea-Schofields in northwestern Sydney. Through extensive Facebook promotion and team recruitment, they were able to establish New Hope (church plant) at the University of Western Sydney (Nirimba campus).
Around 350 people attended the inaugural service. Currently around 200 attend each Sabbath.
Two hundred? That sounds like a lot! Is this high level of attendance just a coincidence? No. New Hope is deliberately reaching out to and engaging its community. By launching children’s Sabbath School classes straight away, it catered for families from the outset. The team is participating in SALT, a program that trains members to reach out to people in their circles of influence. And they freely offer community service to their neighbours.
Since its birth, New Hope has seen many answers to prayer, including the opportunity to use a new lecture theatre as its venue.
“It is my vision that New Hope will continue to develop into a place . . . where weary sinners . . . will find rest, will find Jesus and will worship with a people who know Him too,” Pastor Grolimund says.
But New Hope doesn’t have the monopoly on that vision. Greater Western Sydney is an area experiencing tremendous growth in discipleship.
About three years ago, inspired by a retired Fijian Indian pastor, a group of lay people began meeting for prayer every Friday night. Their mission was to pray for Fijian Indian friends and family. A church planting networking meeting at Hoxton Park church helped them to recognise they were actually establishing a church plant for Fijian Indians in Sydney. With support from Hoxton Park church, they began meeting monthly in the hall on Friday nights. Approximately 40-60 people now attend these prayer gatherings. Sydney Fijian Indian Group is looking to expand its leadership team and actively engage with the Fijian Indian community. And it isn’t the only church plant supported by Hoxton Park church.
The vision for Harvest Fellowship Group began when Jim Tyrokomos attended a church planting workshop presented by Pastor Glenn Townend at Inspire, a leadership training weekend run by the Greater Sydney Conference (GSC). The presentation, about how the Western Australian Conference was cultivating a church planting movement, moved Mr Tyrokomos, who was Personal Ministries leader at Hoxton Park church. With encouragement from his leadership, Harvest Fellowship Group started meeting in a home every Friday evening. They have been letterboxing evangelistic invitations in their neighbourhood and are launching Sabbath services.
“We have a strong conviction that Jesus is calling us to make Adventist disciples within every people, group and suburb in Sydney,” says Dr Sven Ostring, GSC director of Discipleship Movements.
GSC president Pastor Michael Worker is in full agreement. “Greater Sydney (Conference) has a strategy to establish new churches in growth corridors and areas of the Conference that do not have a strong Adventist presence as well as continuing to establish congregations in new language groups,” he says.
According to Dr Ostring, plans are underway to establish a church plant in the Parramatta CBD. Momentum is building to plant churches in Sans Souci, Newtown and Camden as well.
“It’s great seeing God using people creatively to reach others for Jesus and start new communities of faith,” says Pastor Glenn Townend, president of the South Pacific Division. “These people are fulfilling Jesus’ mission of making more and better disciples for and with Him.”