On April 14, Gateway Adventist Centre (Melbourne, Vic) planted its fourth church in 15 years1.
“We want our children to be involved in mission,” said Chai Tian, a mother of two children. In 2008, she was a young adult Bible worker and church planter for Gateway’s second church2. Together with 10 other young families from two Gateway congregations, they have launched a new church in Forest Hill called Gateway Adventist Centre—Lighthouse.
“Our new church continues to be based on care groups where our seekers come regularly and find a sense of belonging,” said church elder Peter Bertus. His family has been faithfully running care groups in their home for many years. “Our children are not only listening about mission in Sabbath School but are also involved in real mission in the care groups,” Lucia, Peter’s wife, added.
The church is focused on reaching young families in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne using both children’s character education and the right arm of the gospel—the health message. After eight months of prayer and incubation of the core group, health talks with interactive children’s cooking classes were booked out in February and March.
“That is a winning combination,” said Dr Aaron Koh, one of the three doctors who are core members of the church plant. The use of social media3 and referrals for these programs resulted in a fully booked-out health retreat outreach in April. After the health retreat some of the seekers started attending care groups or church worship.
Raymond Chuang was the author of a proposal to secure “Centre of Influence” funding for this church plant. “Planting a church is just a start; we want to grow the church because church planting should not merely be transferring the saints. We are thankful God brought five seekers and their children to our first worship,” he said.
Gateway’s vision is to be a soul-winning and training centre that multiplies churches. “This has been the vision and ethos of Gateway since its inception in 2003 and we are about church multiplication,” said Johnny Wong, who coached the core group.
Gateway’s care group based church planting strategy has been shared freely online (click resources), at training seminar worldwide and in a new book.4
Go to www.rightlytrained.org for additional information.
- Adventist Record, April 26, 2003.
- Adventist Record, May 10, 2008.
- Meetup.com, weExplore Family Healthy Lifestyle
- Business Unusual: Seven Competencies of Effective Ministry, 2017, Johnny Wong.