The Northern Suburbs ministry is an outreach ministry of the Geelong congregation to the northern suburbs of Geelong, Australia. Commencing in 2014, this ministry recognises the opportunity of neighbourhood ministry and outreach presented by the number of church members living in the area who have a desire to reach their neighbours together with the gospel. The Session provides oversight of the ministry, and three elders act as a sub-committee of Session.
‘To be a group so committed to Jesus Christ that we will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be making disciples wherever we are and together in the northern suburbs.’ This is the stated aim of the group and acts as a guide for the different activities undertaken. The most established and regular outreach activity is the School Holiday Program – a one day event held every holiday period at the local Vine Road Community Centre (VRCC). The program attracts around 60 children, most from the community, and is well received by the neighbourhood. It provides opportunities to build relationships with children and parents, and to talk to the children about the God who created them and knows them.
The Vines Road Community Centre is a fantastic hub for local activity. Members of the group are part of community activities there such as a weekly Story Time for pre-school children, and one member is part of the VRCC board.
Worship services were held at the VRCC each Sunday evening between 2014 and 2016 – essentially leading to two locations for evening worship in the Geelong RPC. The main purpose of these services was to provide a local place of worship for neighbours being reached in the northern suburbs and to have a regular teaching program for those involved in the ministry that was focused on reaching the lost and working together as a team. At the end of 2016, these services ceased due to resource constraints in the congregation. It has been a good challenge to consider the continuation of the ministry without evening services for a time – the neighbours remain and still need to hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.