Last Sunday, we kicked off the beginnings of a new 6:30pm church service. I wrote a short post about it on the church blog, and thought I’d copy it here too. Enjoy.
Last night, a group of people gathered together in the St. Matt’s building at 6:30pm. In many ways it looked rather un-extraordinary – a gathering of just over 20 people singing songs together, reading from and talking about the Bible, and praying. There certainly isn’t anything new or revolutionary about that. But at the same time, despite appearances, the gathering last night at 6:30pm was a significant milestone.
Our hope is that what began last night will continue to grow into an active fellowship of Christians as the 6:30pm congregation of St. Matthew’s. Only God knows the future of this gathering, but we hope that one day we will look back on this first meeting as the start of something very good.
A Great Start
It was a great first meeting for the fledgling 6:30pm congregation. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and how many people were going to show up. But as some of the other leaders in our pre-service prayer meeting reminded me, it wasn’t my job to concern myself with that. This was in God’s hands, and that’s exactly where it should be.
Still, I must say there was a big wave of relief that washed over me as people started to wander in at 6:29pm. We had just over 20 people come together, and even though our gathering is still in a pre-launch phase (more on that later), it was an encouraging time hearing from God’s Word and singing and praying in response to Him.
Ben Underwood kicked us off in our new 1 Corinthians series, which was quite fitting. As we meet together for the first time, why not study a letter written to another fledgling church, the church in Corinth? After hearing from and responding to the Bible, Ben Underwood and I talked a bit about the vision and direction of 6:30pm, and then we all gathered together and prayed in groups for this new service.
It was a good start, and we prayerfully anticipate good things in the coming weeks.
An Exciting Future
One of our big goals in this new congregation is that it will be accessible and attractive to young workers. The 20-35 age bracket is seriously under-represented in churches in Australia, and as City Church joins Providence in the near future, we at St. Matt’s think that it is vital that we maintain a ministry that is targeted and accessible to this demographic.
Our hope is that 6:30pm will be that ministry. Of course, a healthy church needs diversity, and while we want to see the gospel go forth amongst young adults, we are by no means exclusively targeting this demographic. We hope to see people from all stages of life joining together in this new congregation.
While the majority of City Church will be joining Rory in moving to Providence, we anticipate that perhaps about 20-25 people from City Church will join the still-forming team which will soon become the 6:30pm congregation. We are already in conversation with some of those who are considering such a move, and are prayerfully seeking guidance on those big decisions.
In the meantime, we are excited about the prospect of joining together with people from City Church to form this new congregation.
A Still-Forming Team
Since we anticipate that a significant portion of our 6:30pm team will come from City church in the coming weeks, we remain a still-forming team. Although we have kicked off our Sunday evening gatherings as of last night, we remain in a pre-launch phase, and we won’t have a proper, full launch until early April.
Our team is still small and forming, so there are a lot of opportunities for people to get involved and be a part of things from the ground up, and to play a major part in this new congregation. We are prayerfully anticipating that even now, God will be raising up people who are passionate about seeing the gospel spread, and who are excited about this new evening congregation and are willing to be involved.
We are excited to see the team that God will bring together.
I was very encouraged by our first gathering last night, and eagerly anticipate what might develop over the coming weeks and months. Whenever I think and pray about this new endeavour, I find myself constantly reminded of Psalm 127:1, which says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.”
I know that if God is not behind building up this new congregation, then all our work is in vain. But if God is building up this congregation – and God does promise to build up His people into a dwelling place for Himself – then how can it fail?