Would a Partnership model work for your Church?

Read Would a Partnership model work for your Church?

Paul Dale believes in the local Church

Paul started Church By the Bridge in 2005, as a Church plant from St Thomas North Sydney. Over the past 15 years, they have seen a small service of 30 grow to five services of over 700. 

“God has been very kind, we’ve seen a lot of new believers and a lot of people come to faith.” 

Paul credits his engagement with the local community as key to Churches success. He has worked hard - and drunk a lot of coffee - to get to know all the cafe owners by name. He has seen local mothers, business owners and families engage with Church by the Bridge in times of difficulty.


“We’ve worked really hard at being part of the local community, building relationships with part of the community, but also being a place where you can invite a friend every week and now they will be welcomed and hear a clear gospel message.” 

An Opportunity to Bring two Churches Together 

Paul was not expecting to be an alternative option to become the acting rector of Neutral Bay. “I was humbled to be asked to go to Neutral Bay in partnership with Kirribilli. It is a privilege to pastor the saints and to pastor the flock” 

“God has been very kind, we’ve seen a lot of new believers and a lot of people come to faith.” 

This involved a big change. Kirribilli and Neutral Bay have not amalgamated, but instead engaged in a mutually beneficial partnership. However, for Neutral Bay, there was fear of takeover. For Kirribilli, it was the real pain of having a pastor who used to be around every day, but now couldn’t be everywhere at once. 

Despite the pain associated with change, there have been some fantastic benefits to the partnership. Paul says they have seen the impact of mission events grow. Courses that would have once got just a few people attending are now seeing thirty people coming into Church for the first time. 

“When Churches work together, we can do more for the kingdom than we can do separately.” Dale points to the consolidation of admin, marketing and communications as well as a consolidation of training and mission: “You can do things better together”. 

“All the benefits of a small Church, with the resources of a larger Church” 


Wade Burnett is a church planter and consultant from the USA, who is in Australia to speak at a series of conferences for Geneva Push on Multisite and Partnership. Burnett says partnership provides opportunities to train up preachers, lead teams, and face challenges of coordinating a functioning Church. 

Burnett suggests that there has been a large growth in Churches using multi-site teams, but that they continue to involve a local element, with 75% of multi-site Churches relying on live teaching. 

Paul seems to have found a perfect balance, with individual pastors of his congregations providing the love and community inherent in a small congregation, but also taking advantage of the resources they have access to. 

“We shouldn't underestimate the witness to the community when we see Churches working together, rather than perceiving us as working against each other”. 

St Augustine's Neutral Bay is launching a new service 

Building on their partnership, Church by the Bridge & St Augustine's are launching a new evening service time. Church at 6pm will be led by the newest member of the team, Andrew West, working with the full staff team. 

It is another example of how the benefits of a large church -  co-ordinated resources for teaching, courses and events - can be combined with the warm, welcoming family feel of individual congregations. 

The congregation officially launches with a BBQ service on Sunday 3rd February. 

Church at 6pm is open to anyone: whether they have never gone to church, or haven’t gone for ages, are looking for a new church or just have questions.