It was February 2, 2002 that I arrived in Sydney; Kylie, Alex and Lewis flew in a week later. At the end of the year with a handful or people we constituted as a church. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.
The main highlight obviously has been the conversions and baptisms. We have grown in number, not as quickly perhaps as we would have liked, nevertheless the general trajectory has been upwards. Others have joined from elsewhere and made valuable contributions. It has been a great blessing to watch people develop and mature spiritually. The Lord has clearly been at work stretching and equipping. Many of our children are now adults. A good number have been converted, and those who haven’t we are hopeful will be. It is also our hope that from among our young people the next generation of leaders will emerge.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The early years presented numerous challenges. In late 2005 I thought we were on the verge of the closing the doors yet the Lord helped us through that time and started to bless the church. With sadness we have farewelled a number of folk; some moving away from Sydney, a few leaving for unfortunate reasons. It is to be expected in this fallen world that brethren find it necessary to part ways. Every church experiences it. Thankfully we have not had serious divisions at Southern Districts; by and large everyone has dwelt in peace and unity. We count it a great blessing that a good spirit and oneness in doctrine has been prevalent over the years.
What can we learn from the last 15 years?
· Church life is full of ups and downs. We should expect to get some cuts and bruises along the way. We are fallen creatures after all. Thankfully Christ picks us up and continues to work in and through us.
· God is to be greatly praised for His grace. The only reason why we exist and why there has been any fruit is because of His kindness.
· We need to learn from our errors. Every one of us has failed at different points. If I could have my time over again I would do some things differently. We must all ask ourselves how we can become better servants.
· We need to continue to trust the Lord for the future. We are Christ’s church, and we are in His hands. He has blessed us in the past and this gives us hope in the days ahead as we seek to honour Him.