May 15, 2018

New Church Plant in Australia to Focus on Children and Health

Johnny Wong, Adventist Record & Adventist Review

A new church plant in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia will focus intentionally on families with children and health. On April 14, 2018, Gateway Adventist Centre planted its fourth church in 15 years.

“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 church. Together with ten other young families from two Gateway congregations, they have launched a new church in Forest Hill called Gateway Adventist Centre—Lighthouse.

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“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 Aaron Koh, one of the three doctors who are core members of the church plant. The use of social media 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 “Center 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 center 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, at a training seminar worldwide and in Johnny Wong’s new book Business Unusual: Seven Competencies of Effective Ministry. You can also visit Rightly Trained for additional information.