The times they are a-changin'

Last week the session of DPC announced a trial of a change of start time to our Sunday morning meetings. Here are some of my own (Wayne's) personal reflections on the changes we've had over the years in response to the growth that God has been bringing at DPC.

When I first came to DPC to do MTS  30 years ago there was just one Presbyterian Church, "Dubbo Presbyterian Church" and they met at 10am. They had been doing so since 1990. But I was soon to discover there had been lots of change leading up to that point. As I met people they spoke of Dubbo Presbyterian Church meeting in a hall at Dubbo High School (now Western Plains Cultural Centre), meeting in Westhaven (Wheelers Lane), and even meeting at an old building in West Dubbo.

But it wasn't too long before DPC outgrew the new building. Iin 1995 Session decided to plant 'Evening Church'. Then 4 years later in 1999, due to more growth, 'AM Church' was split into 'Early Church' and 'Morning Church.'

In 2007 'Tuesday Church began, then in 2013 'Nightchurch' was started down at the Western Plains Cultural Centre.

We had planted a new church every 5 years!

 It was then that Session decided we could not sustain planting so many churches so often, people were getting tired, and the ministry staff were stretched, so we decided to expand our building to allow our existing churches to grow larger before we needed to plant again. So in 2015 we extended the building and consolidated down to 3 Churches "Church@9", "Church@11" and "Church@7"

It was then that all 3 churches stopped growing for a period. We reached a certain size and then stopped. The Session decided to put our planned 'West Dubbo ' Plant on hold while we worked out what had stopped us from growing. It turns out there was quite a transition needed to go from a smaller church, where everyone knows everyone, and everyone is involved with everything, to a larger church. We needed to deliberately change our structures, we started ministry teams, we moved our staff to be in charge of ministry 'areas' working across all the churches, we needed to think more cleary about what we were aiming for. Reach Australia were of great help and support to us in this process.

This coincided with the COVID pandemic. In my 24 years in Dubbo this was the most challenging time in terms of changes and relationships.
Since COVID, we have seen incredible growth, which we put down to the grace and generosity of God in bringing more people to hear about Jesus and wanting to join us. So in 2022 Church@10 was planted in MAGS in West Dubbo. Alongside this we started a masterplan process to see what is the maximum capacity for a building on our current location.

I was thinking we might be stable for another 5 years, but here we are, 2 years later, and Church@9 is big enough to plant again!

With growth there is always a cost. Sometimes it's a big cost, like having to leave the church family we love to start a new plant, at other times it's a smaller cost, like changing the time we meet. There will be more changes ahead. The session is looking at a growing church that will, God willing, be too big for our building at both 9 and 6 in the next few years.

Please be praying for us as we continue to seek God's wisdom on the best way forward.

And please remember the Session is not some group of disconnected leaders, we are members of Church@9, Church@10, Church@11 and Church@6. Some of the elders have been here since the original Dubbo Presbyterian Church of 1995 and, with their families, weathered many such changes. Some have joined us more recently.  But we are all, together with the other members of DPC, seeking to live now for Eternity, loving each other, loving and serving Jesus, and growing followers of Jesus as we wait for his glorious return!

These are just a few of my personal reflections as we embark on yet another change together!

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