Annual Report 2018
God is good. Every year we experience a quota of joys and with it, some challenges.
We rejoice that God continues to demonstrate the power of His Gospel to save. In 2018 we saw over 60 children, teenagers and adults say ‘Yes’ to Jesus, 35 of whom were baptised. A highlight was seeing an ex-cop baptise an ex-criminal in December.
Key areas of growth last year were our South West Sydney church plant led by Grant Borg, our Youth Ministry led by Brandon Bonnici, our welcome ministry Belonging led by Mark Boyley and the 6pm service at Rooty Hill. July Holiday Club continues to go from strength to strength with over 300 kids attending. Heather Dyson joined our staff and has been a blessing to our children’s ministry by serving our under fives.
The kingdom of God is bigger than MBM. We’ve sent two more Overseas Ministry Partners – the Borgs to Malta and the Jayasekeras to SE Asia. Both have already seen people come to Christ!
Steve Wakeford who joined our staff in June, hit the ground running and has already been a blessing to the team. Kim Anderson, Susan Boyley and Jean Cousins continue to do outstanding work sharing Christ at Explaining Christianity with women from a wide range of cultures and faith at Connect.
It was such a joy to see signing for our deaf community established at the 9am service. This ministry reflects our commitment to be inclusive on God’s terms.
Over the years, MBM has been strong on child protection procedure under Sandy’s leadership, however the last few years has exposed weaknesses in managing both Domestic Family Violence (DFV) and Work, Health and Safety (WHS). As a result, Lynette Cain was appointed on staff one day a week to oversee the implementation of our DFV policy. Aron Calfas was appointed to the Deacon Board to oversee our WHS policy. Both have been very effective in their roles.
Most of the best work God does at MBM can’t be measured. There are people with anxiety, depression, difficult marriages, addictions etc, who glorify God as they persevere with joy and faith. I look forward to heaven to see the honour role of the unseen heroes.
As I write this report we have celebrated another wonderful Christmas with over 1000 people attending across five services. I thank God for Scott Lavender and his worship ministry team (upfront and behind the scenes) who make our services so inspiring. A few people who attended our Christmas services have already signed up for EC in February.
There is an army of volunteers in various practical ministries who willingly give their time and talents to the cause of Christ at MBM.
I thank God for the Admin teams of MBM and the Deacon board. I honour you all. I thank God for those who serve in our outreach ministries including Playtime, English as a Second Language (ESL), Jesus Club, Scripture, Kids Club and Craft, Christ and Care. A new initiative, Christians in Schools (CIS), led by Marcus McDonald has already produced fruit, with MBM youth leading Bible studies in a number of schools and seeing students come to Jesus.
At MBM one of our values is ‘that we don’t do pretend’. Denial destroys churches.
Any report of 2018 needs to acknowledge that for the first time in a few years we have not grown numerically at MBM Rooty Hill. A large number of people left us to serve overseas. We were also under-staffed with no Mission Pastor for the first six months. Dan Lee rightly took personal leave to focus on the care of Evie before she died. We all witnessed the Lee family glorify God with an honest and robust faith. I will personally never forget Evie’s funeral and Dan and Teresa’s eulogies. Somehow in all this grief, Dan kept the 4pm service launch on track.
After 28 years of ministry and life on-site at Rooty Hill, Sandy and I felt it was time to down-size and create a greater separation between ministry and life, so last year we moved to Parramatta (and the Lee family moved into the manse). We hope the final 6 to 8 years of our leadership will prove to be our most fruitful. We have never been more committed to reaching our goals under God and seeing lives transformed through Jesus to the glory of God. I love MBM and I thank God for the privilege of being your pastor.
Looking ahead, one huge challenge before us is financial. At MBM Rooty Hill there remains a significant gap between pledges for 2019 and the proposed budget needed to cover wages and costs. At present, we are behind by $310,000. I remember the day I received a text of the deficit amount. It was the same day my Mum died. I was very much aware in that moment that all of life, both physical and spiritual, is in the hands of our great God. By the time you read this report we would have made further cuts to our budget and begun a final appeal to close the gap. The outcome of that appeal will determine the size of our staff for 2019.
Coincidently and unrelated, Maggie Ha is taking leave without pay for six months to refresh her soul (Mar-Sep) and Heather Dyson will be on maternity leave for twelve months from May. Although this helped reduce the budget gap, it will put enormous pressure on Sandy. I thank those who are already stepping up to carry the load.
Brothers and sisters, MBM is Jesus’ church so let us all prayerfully depend on the Holy Spirit as we journey together throughout 2019 as His co-workers, in His church, serving in this part of His field.