John Delezio, church planter with ENC in Warilla North, talks about his experience below.
Tell us about the process of planting in Warilla North.
Neil Scott put out a call six years ago via social media for someone to come down and plant a church into Warilla North. Neil is the Senior Minister at Park Rail Anglican Church reaching marginalised people in the nearby suburb of Albion Park Rail.
I wasn’t even halfway through watching the video and I rang him straight away. Ever since that conversation Neil and myself have been discussing, praying and planning how to church plant into Warilla North.
After five years of praying and planning, this year I started planting a church by meeting and serving alongside key Christian leaders in the community. People like Barbara who runs the op shop, Leanne who runs the local food bank and Brian who’s the current Baptistcare Community Chaplain.
All these people have lived in the community for 30+ years and are people who love the community. They are the first point of call when it comes to reaching the community. It is a great pleasure in my ministry work to get to know them and help them explore their own faith by reading the Bible with them.
I hope to start a midweek Bible study soon as well as a midweek fellowship (a shortened version of a church service) in the near future. I also read the Bible one-to-one with men in the community who I meet through the op shop and the food bank each week.
Why plant a church in Warilla North?
Currently Warilla North doesn’t have direct access to the gospel through its own local church. I know of many people in the area who are keen to see their own church which is focussed on sharing the gospel with the people of Warilla North.
What will be the DNA of the church you plant?
Planting a church into a marginalised area like Warilla North needs to be a little different. My model of church and how a service looks has largely been shaped by my past training with ‘Church in Hard Places’ and my current learnings from my time at Albion Park Rail Anglican Church, serving under Neil Scott.
Middle class church vibes don’t necessarily work in poorer areas and there are a number of complex reasons for that. People here are very aware that sin is present in their lives and that the world is broken. People need to experience God’s Grace and his forgiveness through his son Jesus when they come to church. They need to have it explained from the Bible and modelled to them by the Christians who live it out. They need other Christians and that includes their pastor to be real about life, real about struggle and what it means to resist sin and forgive people and situations that seem unforgivable.
Church needs to be accessible, it needs to be real and honest and not very polished because what’s important here is not a great band or the most amazing service leaders or preachers, it’s simply that the word of God is explained so that people can understand it for themselves. And from understanding comes changed hearts.
How can people partner with you?
To do this ministry work of planting a church in Warilla North I need to be self funded, and this year I need to raise further $10k for my own work, plus I’m trying to raise some extra money to pay for a ‘women’s ministry worker’ to start in 2024. I’m praying to find a mature lady who wants to connect and read the Bible 1:1 with women in the Warilla North community.
I also need prayer and people can connect with me via Facebook by searching my name if they would like to receive my weekly prayer requests and to see how things are going.
Lastly, Neil, myself and a whole bunch of ministers who are trying to reach poor and marginalised communities are always looking for people to come and live and serve with us. Why not start praying to God and ask him if this is an area of ministry that he wants you to be involved in.
This article originally appeared on the Reach Australia site on 27 June 2023 and can be accessed here. We are thankful to them for allowing us to share it.