NewHope Baptist Church was birthed out of Carlingford Baptist Church (CBC) with a core team sent of 18 adults and 7 children on April 4th 2010. It began as a NewStart Church Plant with the prayerful, equipping and financial support of our Association. NewStart is responsible for the Gen1k vision – to be an association of 1000 healthy churches by 2050. Four years have passed and on the 29th March 2014 the Assembly of Baptist Churches of NSW and the ACT voted unanimously to accept NewHope Kellyville and The Ponds as an affiliated Baptist church.
The seed for this church plant begun with a call from God for Des Ong who was the Associate Pastor at Carlingford Baptist Church. It was a year earlier when he came away from a conference asking himself if God might have been speaking to him about planting a Church. He didn’t initially think so; he was totally committed to his growing responsibilities at Carlingford. However, in prayer he threw a fleece out, with very low expectation, that if God wanted him to Church plant he needed someone to specifically speak to him about it including the location. A few days later in a pastoral team meeting his Senior Pastor Rev Phil Waugh mentioned in passing conversation perhaps Des and Vanessa (his wife) should consider church planting in Kellyville.
Going home that evening Des was about to bring it up with Vanessa when she mentioned to him that she thought they should consider planting out where they had just moved in Kellyville. Meanwhile one of the members of CBC mentioned to the church leadership independently that there may be a community space being built in Kellyville and whether the church was interested in using that for another plant.
To top it off, people in Des’s small group brought up their interest in church planting. Des and Vanessa were now confident that God was definitely challenging them to leave their comfort zone in Carlingford and begin a ministry in Sydney’s growing northwestern fringe.
God was also working in the hearts of the other CBC members who were to join the plant team. In sharing his dream Des had begun planting seed in the minds and hearts of potential plant partners. Phil and Des spread that seed also among the church leadership and then finally to the church. At a church meeting CBC voted to send Des and Vanessa out with three years of financial support.
On a Saturday morning in August 2009 a group of eighteen people from across the Carlingford church met for a day long workshop. It was the beginning of 9 months of meeting as a core team “where we asked ourselves what would it look like to orient our whole Church around the ministry of Jesus. To not call people to come to church but to call people to follow Jesus. Des introduced a mnemonic he called REPLY for explaining and reinforcing our values and showcased our picture of what someone following Jesus would genuinely look like and be doing:
- Reading God’s Word;
- Eating and sharing together;
- Practicing blessing others;
- Listening to God’s Spirit;
- Yielding to the Mission of Jesus.
We also decided to demonstrate our missional focus and Jesus focus by emulating the way Jesus taught his disciples. Jesus equipped his disciples to Engage their everyday for the Kingdom of God. So we adopted a rhythm of only holding Sunday services on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays each month. These Sunday public service meetings were to be called Equip services, where emphasis would be on equipping Gods people with tools for Christian living, making disciples and sharing the gospel message in everyday life.
On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month we would not hold a public service; rather we would use that time to send individuals, couples, families and NewHope teams to incarnationally meet with family, friends, neighbours, the wider community and participate in our corporate community engagement activities.
We also decided on a specific ministry to the community we could commence from the start – a weekly playgroup for mums we call Hopscotch. Hopscotch continues to provide a weekly ministry and just this autumn has incorporated a deliberately evangelistic monthly MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) program.
In February 2012 we were joined by a second pastor – Julie-Ann Warton, who serves three days a week as Pastor for Community. Early 2014 we also added Mel Waugh as our two-day-a-week Intern for Youth and Administration. We have now grown from our original team of 25 to over 110 who call NewHope their spiritual home.
During these four plus years we have seen God work in many ways including through annual weekend family camps, men’s and women’s retreats, and the commencement of a youth group. A team reaches out to assist community families with other needs and our members are very active in community activities. Another team is working to expand the role of prophecy within the church. We also help support two chaplains in local schools.
We have prayerfully decided to focus on Thailand for our global mission efforts in partnership with Global Interaction and are preparing a team for our second short term mission trip in September.
According to church growth statistics, NewHope has now reached a critical period in our development. We can plateau and become inwardly focused. Or we can continue to sow the seed of the kingdom and seek to follow God’s will for us to reach.
For more information on Gen1K visit the association website or contact Rev Steve Bartlett Director of Church Planting via firstname.lastname@example.org