About Wyndham City Salvation Army
Two senior co-leaders with ministry team
Wyndham City Salvation Army church is located in the suburb of Werribee and surrounds, which is in a population growth corridor along the western edge of Melbourne. Suburbs there are growing with new housing developments as well as established communities. The Salvation Army itself has a long history of over 80 years in the Point Cook and surrounding areas. As such, the current leadership team acknowledge their work builds on the foundations and good reputation of past leaders, as they build their own unique style of ministry according to the call and giftings of current members.
The church facilities are located in an old function centre, previously used for special celebrations such as local debutante balls, so it is a familiar venue for many locals. It is designed to welcome and help people feel at home, with a playground at entry, and a central garden courtyard with kitchen servery and BBQ facilities.
As well, within the nearby Weribbee shopping district, there is a Salvos crisis relief and thrift shop within a one block radius. A meals service is provided regularly at the local railway station, with the food van serving around 150 meals each time. The mobile shower service is a demountable, movable unit, which offers showering facilities to members of the community most in need, including those experiencing homelessness.
The team are intentional about being present and active in their community, including the development of strategic partnerships with local tradesman, business and residents, as they join the efforts to serve their neighbour.
With such a busy schedule of welfare and pastoral activities, this ministry team undertook an activity audit- to evaluate each ministry activity and decide which to continue and which to cease, in order to create a more sustainable workload for the leaders and volunteers involved. “Why are we doing this?” was asked about each activity, in order to identify the ones that effectively served as stepping stones to faith. It also enabled the team to articulate a process for connecting every person they meet, into a program or an opportunity to grow in faith. One example of this was that Mainly Music was ceased and in its place, Messy Church became a pathway from Kids Club, as a more fruitful way to embrace families and invite them into a spiritual nurture activity.
Prayer was keenly identified as foundational and essential in supporting, guiding and enlivening the ministry of the church. Discernment, intercession and oversight was a key contribution of the spiritual elders of the church, spoken of fondly as Godly leaders whose first instinct is to say, “let’s get on your knees and pray”… “What is God saying about this? Let’s tap into the things of God first and then the other things will follow.”
The culture of the team and its leaders is expressed as an eagerness of people to be disciples of Jesus, all week, in the whole of life. Constant conversations are intentionally held asking, as well as meeting physical needs, how are volunteers able to have gospel conversations wherever there is hardship? As they serve their community in such extensive ways, they also seem keenly aware of their vision, to focus their energies and priorities to the activities that meet needs, and also foster relational connections that offer invitations to spiritual nurture and growth.
As such, Sunday becomes the product of everything else throughout the week. Worship gatherings are warm and described as very family oriented, which suits the multicultural nature of the community. Relationships throughout the week flow into invitations for people to join in a worship service as one other way they seek to “do life together” as an inclusive family of God.
When arriving as new leaders, Catharine and Phill didn’t make changes to the structure of leadership straight away, but sat with it for 12 months after arriving. In this time they developed 2nd and 3rd tier leaders, to build the capacity of leadership within all of the church.
Intentional leadership development and growth is clear. They track their progress and effectiveness of ministry activities, and build in accountability to what they seek to achieve. They set aspirational goals. They also describe the wisdom of healthy communication and making sure conflict is dealt with well to sustain leaders, and build up the church.
The leaders also acknowledge there’s an “It” factor at this church, as a group of prayerful, godly people who lift up their leaders, grow new ones and send them out into wider ministry roles. A humility accompanies their growth and health, as they know they are on a journey, always in process of joining God in mission and following God’s leading.
Stories from Wyndham City Salvation Army
Browse through some of the stories and wisdom that leaders of Wyndham City Salvos shared with us, on how they enliven their ministry and church life.