Current State of the Congregation
Before any plan of action can be instituted, there must be a legitimate and honest evaluation done of the congregation. Knowledge of certain aspects of the local church can and will assist greatly in implementing any plan for church growth. The information that follows comes from firsthand knowledge and from some of the members of Central North. There have been approximately fifteen baptisms in the last ten years. Roughly sixty percent of those had existing an relationship to one of the members. In addition, there has also been a few restorations. Membership currently sits around 85 souls. There is regular Bible class on Sunday morning which takes place just prior to worship, as well as a Thursday night Bible study. Sunday night service is not something they have; however, they do have a group which meets in someone’s home every other Sunday night for study. Because the church meets on the North side of the city, there has also been a Tuesday night Bible study group which meets in a member’s home. The women also have a weekly Ladies’ home Bible class which takes place during the day. Every other Friday the young adults get together for dinner and study at one of their houses.
This group is in fact very active and gathers together frequently for various functions and fellowship. A monthly prayer and singing gathering also takes place, which is held at a different location each month. There is also an annual family camp as well as a youth camp every other year, both of which are well attended. As was mentioned earlier, Central North has never had a full-time preacher; however, the men are in a rotation for the preaching, as well as the teaching. This allows those men to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God and His word as they prepare for their lessons. It also creates opportunity to improve as a teacher and in giving a lesson. In addition, the congregation gets to hear different styles of sermons with different perspectives. Overall there is much benefit to this aspect of the congregation. That being said, there is value in having someone trained and educated in preaching and teaching who has had full-time experience filling a pulpit. One thing it does is lets the members know for certain who will be preaching that particular Sunday, for instance if they want to invite someone to services. A full-time guy can also devote more time to study and preparation, as well as evangelism and community outreach. It also puts a “face” to the congregation as their preacher. Other positives can come from having a full-time preacher such as having someone who can visit members in the hospital and in their homes, conduct counseling if needed, etc.
The church is involved in several works. They help support a small church in Stockholm, Sweden. This is done financially by helping them pay for their meeting spot. But it is also done through occasional Skype teaching, and even an annual trip to Sweden by one of the men. Mission trips have been taken to the Philippines and Myanmar. Charlie DiPalma, who is an American missionary living in Melbourne, is also given financial support. Support for the Four Seas Bible College in Singapore is also part of their mission efforts. Either a gospel meeting or seminar of some sort typically takes place at least once a year. Once a month on a Saturday they meet for “tracting,” which is distribution of the House to House Heart to Heart fliers. In October of 2016, they conducted an outreach campaign connected with a gospel meeting held by Wayne Burger titled “The Church in the 21st Century.” This event was a success and it really encouraged many of the members to have further evangelistic campaigns.
There are several short-term and long-term goals that the congregation has. Currently they have no elders or deacons. In fact, they have never had any elders or deacons. This is certainly something that they should desire and be striving to accomplish. Naturally, there needs to be qualified men in order for them to serve in such a role. They would also like to have a permanent building. As of now they have been meeting in the Rob Baddock Community building. Issues such as availability, size, and community recognition accompany this meeting place. A challenge with acquiring a new building is that property costs are extremely high in Perth. However, they have been saving their money for several years to reach this goal. Another goal is to have a full-time evangelist work with the congregation. As mentioned earlier, someone who can preach regularly (not eliminating completely the other men), but most of all, lead the way in encouraging others in evangelizing the community. Perth is a major city with tremendous opportunity for growth. Because of its size and the fact that several of the members drive long distances to attend worship, another goal could be to plant a church South of the Swan River.