Tonight I took a couple of people to visit Resolved, a Church Plant in Newtown, which runs its Sunday services out of Newtown neighbourhood centre. Hans Kristensen is the leader of this Church Plant, and deserves, in my opinion, a measure of respect. Unlike many who are talking a lot about church planting, Hans is actually doing it. He's gathered a core, has theological training, is doing it without external support.
As we arrived Hans was texting outside the centre. I know Hans, so we had a brief chat, before heading inside and upstairs. The room was a fairly basic hall, set up with chairs, a screen, projector, and a decent sound system. There was some great themed artwork, which matched the church's branding, that had been set up, suitable portable for a rented space, but very effective. Each chair had a bible, suitably stylish but not overly 'hip', which Hans mentioned during the service that we could take home if we didn't have one.
Attendance was 16, including 3 of us. Hans mentioned this was quite down from usual, around 25-30, with a good 5-8 newcomer-turnover rate per week. As the service started we were encouraged to sit up near the front. We started with a bracket of 3 songs, including 'How Deep the Father's Love' and 'Mighty to Save'. The sound quality was excellent, and we were lead by a single female vocalist and a male vocal-guitarist. For a very small music set-up, they led excellently and it was a great time of praise.
This lead into Hans introducing things, mentioning the free bibles, and leading us in prayer. Like many aspects, he was clear to explain what prayer was for the newcomer/outsider. I was encouraged that he specifically prayed for the city, for Newtown, and for other churches in Newtown by name.
Next up was a bible reading. Hans started off by briefly interviewing the reader, a usual occurence by the sound of it, and then the reading from Luke 1:57-80. Hans has committed to preaching right through Luke, into next year.
The sermon was solid. I clocked the time at 35 minutes, and it felt slightly longer though not overly long. The lighting was a little dim. Hans spoke with a lapel mic, but the set-up was perfect so there was no noise. The sermon was good, continually bringing us back to personal application - do we realise our need for a saviour? do we trust God's word or reject it? Do we know God's faithfulness? What is our view of God today? It worked well with the text without being slavish. Hans was careful to explain specific 'religious' terminology, and hang everything on the Gospel. Jesus and his work on the cross was high on the agenda, and clearly proclaimed
The sermon lead into communion, with a reflective version of 'How great is our God' while communion was served individually at the back. This lead into a second singing bracket, including 'How great is our God' now sung by the congregation, and 'Indescribable', finishing with 'Mighty to Save'.
After the service was a tasty informal supper. Foods had been cooked by some of the church members, and they were tasty. I spoke to a number of members, and the impression I got was a strong committed core. Numbers were down from usual, so I can only say that that perception of ours was a little skewed.
Resolved is a small church-plant with some great things going for it. It reflects its setting, with a young, hip congregation. Like I said, kudos to Hans for giving things a go and doing what many others are saying. Pray for Resolved, and if you're in Newtown, 6pm at the Neighbourhood Centre (1 Bedford Rd, just across from Newtown train Station) is the place to check it out. [Edit]. The website is up: www.resolved.org.au