Queensland, Australia: The Bundaberg Church of the Nazarene (BCON) is a growing mission-minded church that describes itself as “a community living the love of Christ.” In a city of 70,000 people in Queensland Australia, this local church is responding effectively to the needs of its community.
Pastor Kevin Rowland, lead pastor of BCON, together with his wife Petrina, explains the mission to the congregation as follows, “Our local missions are all overarched by being led to the idea, connection to the community in Jesus’ name for the benefit of sharing the gospel and not adding another service that already exists in our area. Being effective is reaching out to your community and making a difference. Everything we do in this building is ministry – every room, every office, the auditorium, and the dining area are all about our ministry to this community, and this has been recognized by our church members and others who frequent the building but do not worship with us.”
The local church is doing 3 local missions which show love and support to the broader community, starting with those closest to their mission center.
- School Essentials has been a long-term partnership between the church and Bundaberg West State School since April 2018. The program provides the school with the essentials so that children from families with financial difficulty can have the same learning and achievement opportunities in their classes and school. It also aims to alleviate some financial pressure from the teachers, who often buy school supplies to help less fortunate students. School essentials include items such as school supplies, shoes, socks, swimsuits, and school uniforms as needed. The church has made so much impact in the community, that recently the church has been asked to lead the “Breakfast Club” every Tuesday of each week.
- Street Outreach Service (SOS) is a program in partnership with DrugARM Australia. The program which has been running since June 2021, assists the homeless and people at risk of homelessness. The SOS provides toiletries, blankets, soup, and instant noodles to adults, while snacks, drinks, and biscuits are given to children. It also serves as a referral service to the Department of Housing, Centrelink, and counseling service. They have also initiated a monthly potluck-style evening meal and service where homeless people can come along and find a meal on a Sunday night.
- The Clothes Basket: Giving In, Giving Out is a new ministry that aims to serve the community of Bundaberg while they are going through a housing and homelessness crisis. Many of these homeless are now living in the city. The ministry aims to provide free clothing to those who need it most. Pastor Kelvin explained, “We began this ministry by gathering clothing donations for all ages from a wider community.” People are able to get a free bag of clothes of their choosing. There is also free tea, coffee, or water available to those who come on the day. In the first month, 20 bags of clothing, 10 blankets, and a few personal hygiene packs were donated. As the ministry continues, people will be asked to bring in a bag of their own clothes to exchange and encourage the recycling of used clothing. During an interview on the local radio station, 4BU, Pastor Kelvin shared that many families in the city who are battling the housing crisis are being offered more support through the Clothing Basket. People often go without new clothes because their money goes toward food instead. Things like clothes actually go by the wayside. Clothing Basket hopes to provide this basic need for those in need.”
The generosity of the church here, with time, energy and finances has led us to be well connected to many areas in our community. We enjoy a good reputation and fantastic interaction among the general population, many businesses, and services in Bundaberg, as well as with local, state, and federal levels of government.” Pastor Rowland indicates.