Initiative includes roundtable discussions and strives to make newcomers feel welcome.
A “pop-up” church service held on November 3, 2018, at a community center in Adelaide, South Australia, was well-attended and generated plenty of discussions, according to organizers. The initiative was created by members of a church plant that grew out of Elizabeth Seventh-day Adventist Church and is aimed at reaching the growing northern suburbs around Munno Para West, the second-fastest-growing suburb in Adelaide over the past 10 years.
According to Elizabeth church pastor Matthew Hunter, the idea of the pop-up service is to give people a taste of the format, location, and meeting time for the new church plant, named New Life Adventist Church, which is planned to officially launch by mid-2019.
Held on Sabbath afternoon at the John McVeity Center in Smithfield Plains, the pop-up was attended by about 60 people, including six members of the local community.
“The format was intended to be focused and welcoming and to make it easy for new people to church to feel comfortable and be able to get the most out of the service,” Hunter said.
After a welcome, prayer, and a song, Hunter explained in a talk the meaning of the church plant’s mission statement: “Life is better with Jesus.” He also shared a key Bible text, 2 Corinthians 5:17, which can be paraphrased as, “Through Jesus, you are made into a new and better person, and He takes away our past.” The service lasted 40 minutes.
After the service, a break allowed people get a drink and socialize, and that was followed by roundtable discussions in which facilitators took participants through questions relating to Hunter’s talk. A children’s program was offered in a separate room. The discussion time lasted 50 minutes.
At the end of the program, participants were encouraged to fill out surveys to provide feedback about the day and how they felt about different elements, and what could be improved. Organizers said that they received valuable feedback, including some challenging comments. Overall, the response was very positive, they said.
Two more pop-up church services are being planned, one for February 23 and the other on April 6, 2019, at the same location.
“We are [also] trying with different starting times to see which one fits people’s schedules best and make it possible for the team to set up and be ready to go on time,” Hunter said. “Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers on the day who helped the whole day go so well.”
The original version of this story appears on the Adventist Record news page.