Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church
I felt called to pastor a church about 6 or 7 years ago, a short time after coming back to church after some 'looser' years. God and I didn't necessarily see eye to eye on that one, so I asked my then Pastor, "what the heck do I do with this call"? He responded "run.... run as far and as hard as you can from it. One day you just wind up in the belly of a whale and you wont be able to escape it. You will just know". Sure enough, over time it became the inescapable reality and desire to plant not just one but many churches in a country that is very much post church, post christian.
How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?
This is quite funny... we did the Fight Club recruiting technique from the movie 'Fight Club'. We would literally turn people away, try to convince them to stay in their current church, that no, they didn't really want to join us. People just kept coming. In your core phase, find people who really buy in and invest, invest, invest in them. People follow first followers as much as they follow you.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?
Finding a venue in a high density saturated area with pretty much nil Christianity... its a tough gig finding spaces to meet there.
How did you become involved with Acts 29? What have been the biggest benefits of being in the network?
As I wasn't being sent by a church, I wanted to find a group that was going to slap me around and be honest with me. There are other networks around, but I found them to be less stringent in their assessment and their follow up.
What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant?
Find people who will be honest with you. Find people who will push you. One of the big moments for me was when an older christian dude that I loved and respected simply sat me down and said, "give me a date, and a location, and I will be there cheering you on". Dave Fandey used a line that I am sure is ubiquitous around A29, but its a true-ism... "Friends don't let friends plant churches (alone)", so find those gold dudes, those 'band of brothers' that are going to stick through it with you, and fight the fight with you, good or bad.
Friends don't let friends plant churches (alone)
What’s the most important thing you’d want to share with a new church planter?
Love your wife. Cherish your wife. You need her to be honest, loving and on board (etc)... she is probably going to be your biggest personal asset apart from Jesus. Love your wife. Cherish your wife.
How do you pastor your family?
My wife and I study and pray together every morning for an hour over breakfast. I buy her whatever resources she wants to study and I support her in some of her missional/creative outlets like art classes etc.
Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?
Confessions of a Ref. Rev. was helpful as a kick-starter, but since then, there have been too many to list. Total church, Evangelism and the Sov. of God by Packer… etcetera, etcetera
Mission, Vision, Values of Church
To plant the gospel in key Australian, population dense, urban centres and from that seed to grow churches that engage the city, with, for, because, about, Jesus.
What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?
We just keep getting given stuff. Locations, people, money, all kinds of things... the biggest thing for me though is the amazing community we have as a family. People really want to be a part of that and its only Gods grace that we have it.
How can we pray for you?
Pray that we continue to grow. We are in the least churched part of our country in a city full of churches. In terms of gospel, Australia is pretty much as hard as the soil gets, so pray that we can sow it and so it good… Then you can come join us and help us do it.
Questions and answers adapted from the Acts 29 pastors page.