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Gladstone experiencing 'rebirth' through new Night Church

Gladstone experiencing 'rebirth' through new Night Church

Gladstone experiencing 'rebirth' through new Night Church

29 August 2019

Corps Officer Lieutenant Kay Ford gives a message at the new Night Church meeting at Gladstone Corps.

By Simone Worthing

Just a few months ago, Gladstone Corps kicked off ‘Night Church’ … but nobody turned up. The leadership team faithfully persevered and now there are around 35 regulars at each meeting and numbers are increasing.

Most of those attending the bi-monthly service on Sunday nights are new to faith or had never stepped into a church before.

Lieutenants Chris and Kay Ford, the Gladstone Corps Officers, said the growth “is really exciting.”

“We feel that what is happening here is like a rebirth of The Salvation Army in Gladstone,” Chris said. “God is blessing it, the numbers keep growing, and we will keep following God’s direction here.

“What is interesting is that our morning meetings are growing too, with the numbers unaffected by Night Church. They average around 40, bringing our total churched community to over 80. Considering we started with 12 just five years ago, the growth is huge.”

The Fords said Night Church was part of their vision for the corps when they arrived but admitted they weren’t in a position to take it on.
Young musicians lead worship and help people connect with God.

“When one of our men’s group members and a senior soldier, Shannon, said he knew other people going to church at night and why couldn’t we do that at the Salvos, we thought it was time to look at it again,” said Chris.

“The Corps Council and Area Officers discussed our hope for Night Church – a seeker-friendly service, Salvationist contemporary, true to our lineage and history, but relevant for today.”

The Sunday night meeting began with a young worship team, with the plan to present the Rick Warren ‘Transformation’ series that the corps had studied a few years earlier.

Those now coming along are from a range of ages and backgrounds. Some have links to The Salvation Army through Salvos Connect, the Family Stores, the new “Kingdom Chat” Room at the corps [a community connection space each Wednesday], or through other social connections.

“We promote the meeting through Facebook and at the corps, and every meeting someone new is coming or asking to be picked up in the courtesy bus,” said Chris.

“One of our neighbours, who’d never been to church in her life, now comes along,” said Chris. “People are coming and seeking something more in life. They’re on a journey to know God and Jesus.”

Sharing life stories

Chris shared that he and Kay have had to change their preaching styles, which is one of “the hardest things for a pastor to do!”

“We focus on the basics and ground everything in solid teaching,” he said. “It’s rowdy, people chat back and forth, and there’s response and a real buzz around the place.

“We even have red, blue and yellow lighting [representing the colours of The Salvation Army] but done in a really contemporary way!”

Shannon, who also helps run the Kingdom Chat Room, shared that many of those attending had expressed their lack of knowledge of Jesus and God and Christianity.

“They feel it’s home though, and a comfortable place,” he said. “They sit down in fellowship, are experimenting with their faith and they know that here, nobody is alone. It’s so good to hear the laughter and encouraging words and how people are being inspired.”

Chris shared that, slowly, people are coming to the Mercy Seat and sharing their stories.

“After we recently sang the song ‘Every Giant Will Fall’, one lady was just in tears, the words just hit her like a ton of bricks. This is huge for her to know that through God, the giants in our lives can fall.”

 

 

 

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