When the Rev Tim Clemens planted a church in Waterloo in 2014, he expected it to be difficult. “It’s really hard to grow a church in the city,” he told Synod members earlier this month. “It’s a very transient area.”
Despite this, Grace City Church has seen wonderful growth over the past eight years. What started in 2015 with 35 adults and one child has become three services with 350 adults and a Sunday school of more than 80 children. With a vision to see thousands of disciples throughout Sydney and beyond, Grace City is looking to start a fourth service in early 2024.
“We give thanks to God for all of the growth,” Mr Clemens said, adding that since the church began “we’ve seen over 65 people make first-time professions of faith. Every time somebody becomes a Christian at Grace City I find it hard not to cry, but we tell people, ‘This is what we were praying for when we started the church!’”
When Charlene* first stepped into Grace City, she was not expecting to encounter God. She had been invited by a friend whose life had been changed radically by Jesus, and she wanted to know more. “I believed in God, but I didn’t know what my God looked like,” she recalled. “I said to [my friend], ‘If your God is that powerful that he could change you like that” – she clicked her fingers – “then I’ll just come and check him out.”
The week Charlene visited the sermon was on the topic of idols. “For me, it was like a slap in the face,” she said. “This was the stuff I had been dealing with pretty much my whole life. I was like, ‘Is God communicating with me?’ I decided to put my trust in Jesus and become a Christian.”
Gearing up for greenfields growth
Synod also praised God for new land purchased to plant a church in Box Hill in Sydney’s northwest growth corridor. More than 20,000 people are set to move into the suburb by 2041, and 9600 homes will eventually be built on its paddocks.
“If you’ve ever driven through Box Hill, you realise that Box Hill and its surrounds are a rapidly growing area,” said the Bishop of Western Region, Gary Koo. “We want a church there, don’t we?... We want a church there to tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Rev Chris Mann will head up the church plant, a fitting appointment given that he already lives in the area and has been praying for Box Hill for some years.
*real name withheld
Pray for Grace City
Praise God for the 65 people who have turned to Christ
Praise God for the growth in the church’s ministries – from services to children’s and youth
Give thanks for those who have helped Grace City and its leadership along the way with prayers, guidance and support
Pray as the church seeks God’s guidance for its next steps in ministry
Pray for Box Hill
Praise God for the acquisition of land in a growing suburb
Pray for Chris Mann and the team who will plant the church, that they will continue to form good partnerships with the churches at Rouse Hill and Pitt Town
Pray for many good relationships and gospel opportunities as team members begin to get to know their Box Hill neighbours
Pray for those moving into the area, that God will be preparing their ears to hear the gospel and turn their hearts to Jesus