I recently did an interview for an Oz magazine. Here are the questions and answers if you are interested!…
When was this ministry established and by whom?
[Andrew ] 2003 we arrived – team led by Andrew & Danelle Hamilton, but also 4 other families from Lesmurdie Baptist Church
How did your journey begin to explore new ways of doing ‘church’?
[Andrew ] Didn’t start with a Sunday service – we believe church flows out of mission – agreed there would be nothing that looked like a Sunday service for at least 18 months. We still don’t meet on a Sunday.
Do you consider yourself to be a church planter?
[Andrew ] A missionary is the best description. When people ask I tell them I am leading a missionary team that is planting churches in the northern suburbs.
Briefly, what does your community look like?
[Andrew ] Suburbia – new development – working class for the most part – developers have done a lot of work trying to make the suburb pretty and attract people there – byline in marketing is “Brighton – its what a community should be”( imagine big cheesy grin)
Beyond the week-to-week happenings, how would you explain this approach to “doing church”?
[Andrew ] Simple and seamless – church happens where life happens – we travel light with programs and structure – we hope to stay small and grow by multiplication rather than becoming a large congregation
What has been challenging about this transition/new ‘model’?
[Andrew ] we are familiar with church but not so familiar with living as missionaries ‘in the world’, so we have been learning that there is a whole heap of stuff that is not that important that we have spent time on in the past. Some folks have struggled with no familiar big gig ‘church service’ to attend and found that their own personal spirituality was not as strong as they had hoped.
What has been exciting?
[Andrew ] getting to live as a missionary after so long as a pastor – building real relationships with people I didn’t previously have time for – learning new ways of doing mission and expressing church life
And what has God taught you through this ministry so far?
[Andrew ] Heaps – I am very programmed to think of church in traditional ways and I quickly default to this even when I am trying to move in a different direction – he has taught me that as much as I can connect with people and share the gospel only he changes hearts and I can’t do the work of the spirit – has taught me what is core to the gospel and what is peripheral, what the essence of church is – what it means to love people “. I could go on!
What impact has this community had on those around it?
[Andrew ] that’s hard to tell – for some very significant – for others they probably don’t even know we exist. My wife (Danelle) won the Citizen of the Year award last year and it was her friends who nominated her. That was a huge buzz because she won it for being a loving caring person.
In what ways does a ministry such as this help to draw people to Jesus who would not be attracted through “traditional church”?
We are much freer and have more time to be with them than we in trad church. I still think it’s a long road to faith and people don’t get there overnight.
Have you//others experienced God in a way you hadn’t done beforehand?
Hmm” not really
Where do you hope this ministry is in 3 years time?
That there were would several church communities established by our mission team all simple self sustaining and indigenous to the local community.