"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." - Jesus

Hey Guys,

Below is a different kind of email. I've tried my best to keep it brief, but it's a summary of what I shared on Sunday regarding the four key areas we've been praying for as a church.

I'd encourage you to take a moment to at least flick through it and catch the drift. If you have any questions please hit REPLY and let me know or just call me directly.

While all of it has been discussed as a Leadership Team, inevitably details get missed, or some elements may require adjustments. Thankfully, we are young and flexible, so any adjustments can be made as we move forward together.

Thanks for your continued prayer and presence in our church family.

Cheers and God Bless,

Dan, 0402 301 568


I began by reiterating that I believe our primary focus is to continue to be making disciples of Jesus, not simply building our own church.

I offered a unique take on the phrase, "church growth". We are to ask God to grow us, our own spiritual life and faith, rather than simply add people to our gatherings. If we are willing to †ake this step of going deeper internally, I know that in time, God will widen the number of people we are able to reach in a healthy, impactful way. In my experience, when churches get obssessed with "growth", it's often because they've given up on the hard, deeper work of making disciples.

As we learn and mature together, my sense is that rather than simply growing one increasingly large gathering, we may see two other forms of growth.

Firstly, I already know some of us who are keen to branch out and start another gathering in a home. I think this is a very healthy, stable way to "grow". Maybe a home in another suburb, or another beach along the coast (Golden Beach? Point Cartwright?) or a park in the mountains? To accomplish any of this well, we need a non-anxious, stable, rich faith that God is with us and calling us to share his love beyond our current location.

Secondly, there are other churches nearby and beyond that are struggling. While there are many reasons churches struggle or shrink, sometimes new expressions of church or simply new enthusiasm for God's church is all it takes to spark new spiritual momentum. Given many of the gifts within our church, it may be that a small team or two may want to visit and invest in other churches to pass on what God is showing us in our current season.

What I see forming is reminiscent of what Jesus shares in John 15:5.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
Uvas enveradas a unos 30 días de su vendimia.
Photo by jose alfonso sierra / Unsplash

While the piont of the passage is union with Jesus, the image can be broadly used to find out how each of us as individuals, and Open Road as a church, fits into Jesus' family.

  1. Jesus is the vine
  2. Open Road is just one of many branches
  3. Our gatherings, of which there will be more in the future, are the clusters.
  4. You and I are the grapes. Firmly placed in a cluster, but also part of a bigger branch, and ultimately, the whole vine that makes up the family and "body" of Christ.

So, as we continue to focus on making disciples, I believe we will keep things simple (outdoors and beachside whenever possible) and local (still waiting for WindanSea to get certified) as we see what kind of fruit God is growing in our local expression of his greater plan.


This continued focus on making disciples over all other endeavours is embodied in our three simple rhythms: know, invite and gather. I believe that our three rhythms are good and right for now because they are hard. They sound so desireable and "obvious", but are incredibly challenging to live. In fact, most of the life of a Jesus-follower is challenging, obvious and wonderful! On Sunday I clarified  more of what our intentions are behind each rhythm.

Know: Get to know Jesus so that we might be united with him.

Invite: Invite others into our life so that we might learn what it means to truly love our neighbour as ourselves.

Gather: Gather and get involved so that we might build one another up in Christ through unlocking and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The last rhythm is the one I feel we will focus on in the coming months at our Sunday gatherings. I will aim to encourage us more intentionally into hearing from God through what his Holy Spirit reveals to us, especially as we engage with the Bible, his holy gift!


While our primary goal is simply, generous Jesus followers, our shared goal is that we work together to meet the needs of those around us. This arises from our desire to not only meet the needs of the chruch, but to mature to the point that our church can meet the needs of those around us.

While early on we  simply encouraged people to be generous as God led them, our Leadership Team and I have reflected that like most things in life and faith, we learn best when we are working together, alongside each other.

So, while everyone is free to use their finances however they see fit, with regards to the people we feeled called to bless together as a church, we are going to encourage each other to give to our church account. Below, I've outlined our simple principles we are going to trial as we look to see how God guides us to be generous as a church.

Shared Mission: Working together

In the book of Acts it says the first followers of Jesus "devoted themselves" to a few key practices, including sharing their resources with those in need. This word devoted has the sense of all putting your strength towards the same thing - like a scrum in football :)

As I said above, we want to not just meet needs, but ideally, meet needs together as a chruch family. This allows us to not only identify broader needs, but to sacrifice together for the needs those we believe Jesus would have us meet.

Common Purse: Prepared to give

In an effort to live out the ancient idea of a 'common purse', we want to allocate up to $5,000 to be available for the needs of people within, and around, our church community. Anyone within our church can suggest people they think God is calling us to be generous towards. A team of trusted people will review the needs, and if considered wise, allocate an appropriate amount. We will then regularly contribute to that that account until it reaches $5,000. As per our weekly email updates on our income and expenses, we will remain transparent about these expenditures.

People over Projects: Prioritising our actual neighbours

While we will always be open to meeting the needs of projects far beyond us (overseas, as we already have done), we want to prioritise giving to individual people we know over projects that we trust. Given that our primary goal is to be generous people, we want to ensure our giving is part of our pursuit of Jesus, not a religious "box to tick". Part of this value is in the hope that we will be funding good works for real people around us, not only sending cash to large organisations.

As discussed above, this focuses us on our goal of working together to meet the needs of those around us.


We are biblically called to, and naturally in need of, a small group of elders to provide spiritual leadership for our church.

I explained on Sunday that it's important for now that it is small, and not large! If it's too big we will spend far too long formalising the group it risks us becoming "top-heavy" and internally focused. Rather, we want to be "bottom-heavy", focused on releasing and empowering our broader church family to live out the life Jesus has called us to in our neighbourhoods, families, and workplaces.

The spiritual leadership required will include, at the least, a responsibility for our church's mission, theology and how we put that into practice - rhythms, stewarding resource etc. It will also be important for this team to be capable of overseeing other teams (deacons etc) that are doing and overseeing critical ministry in our church's future.

Finally, elders are important because I'm at my healthy limit. I need a small group of people to come alongside me as the pastor. And I also need this team to provide healthy leadership to the growing number of people and groups that God is slowly shaping at Open Road. We're not designed to be lone rangers in life or leadership...so I'm excited about the people and teams God will form in the years to come!

Thanks for reading this far :)

Coming Up

Sun 10 Sep    3pm Moffat Gathering
Sun 17 Sep  3pm Moffat Gathering + Baptism (Join Tahlia if you're keen!)
Sun 24 Sep    3pm Moffat Gathering

Get ahead-of-the-game

Sun 01 Oct     3pm Worship + Prayer Gathering. Location City Life Baptist
Sat 7-8  Oct   Camping overnight! Day visitors welcome
Sun 08 Oct    3pm Moffat Gathering
Sun 15 Oct  3pm Moffat Gathering + Baptism
Sun 22 Oct  3pm Moffat Gathering
Sun 29 Oct  3pm Moffat Gathering

Our Mission

To help people find and follow Jesus

Our Rhythms

Know Jesus: how are you getting to know Jesus this week?
Invite people into your life: who can you bless this week?
Gather and get involved: How can you connect, listen, share or pray with others this week?

Our Giving

If there is someone in need around you we'd encourage you to team up with another Christian friend and ask God to show you how to meet their need directly. You can also get started with giving to Open Road or get in touch with any questions you may have.

Last months giving $6,493
Last months expenses $5,502
Balance $19,607

"Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." - Proverbs 19:17

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