AOG Church Planting in Australia

Had coffee yesterday with Neil and Sabrina Scott, from Assemblies of God Queensland. We got together to compare notes and develop a supportive relationship for the future.

As we sipped our flat whites and diet Pepsi at Cafe Manna we debriefed on the Hillsong Conference, the Forge Summit and the realities of starting new ventures in Queensland with Seeds of Hope (Uniting Church New Missional Communities).

Wayne Alcorn, pastor at Brisbane City Church, is the public face of QLD New Churches. Gary Swenson, based in Runaway Bay here on the Gold Coast, is the face for QLD Church Life. Neil and Sabrina are the field workers who keep up the accountability and support.

So what did I learn? 41 churches have been planted over the last two years. The predominant model is the satellite plant. At the moment there’s an AOG church for every 13,500 people in Queensland. There’s a vision to have one AOG church for every 10,000 people. Once that’s achieved, the goal will move to one church for every 7,500 people. AOG have moved away from focusing on large churches (despite the fame of Hillsong), recognising that different subcultures relate to different styles. In any suburb there could be several AOG churches, focusing on different ethnic groups or age groups.

There’s very little state-wide infrastructure set up in the AOG. Many churches are pastored by bi-vocational leaders. The same applies for the oversight of each region. Which means that some pastors are left to fend for themselves. I get the impression there’s a high level of burnout, especially when churches start with a model of public worship and leadership similar to larger churches.

There’s a high level of permission-giving here. The AOG is being reinvented as entrepreneurial types just get out there and do what needs to be done. There’s no ‘cookie-cutter’ approach that must be used. There’s a hope that the AOG movement will continue to keep its passion as it morphs culturally.

The Church Planting site for AOG is “National Church Planters“.

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