By Melinda Law
In the time that Brad and Joh Henley, and their girls Jemima and Gabriella, have been on Kangaroo Island, there has been encouraging growth in the church, but not among the population of young families and single people.
In 2013, Brad and Joh launched a Mainly Music programm from KI Anglican in Kingscote, the largest town on Kangaroo Island, but God showed them that there was a need to provide a church service more tailored to families. Brad explains, “The current services by any church in Kingscote weren’t providing a friendly or suitable environment for families and children. Most people are accustomed to a more reflective service and parents struggled in those services when they did occasionally visit.”
And so under God’s guidance, Brad and his team launched Family Church on 1 February 2015. Calling it a “family-friendly and seeker-sensitive” service, Brad says it’s a different church service that has brought people together across all generations. “We made it clear a number of times in the lead up that it’s not a service for families, but at the service we are family, so everybody is welcome,” Brad says. “But also, people are aware that it’s different to the traditional services so I think that’s broken down one of the barriers and enabled some more people to check it out.”
And check it out they did. The first service had 55 people in attendance, including approximately 20 people who did not have a current connection with a church on the Island. “Praise God for that!” Brad exclaims. “There were a good number who might have had a Sunday School connection way in the past or they might have had parents or grandparents praying for them for a long time, but they’ve finally started to explore Jesus.”
Family Church begins with everyone – including kids – in the service together to sing and pray together as a community. “We give the kids some instruments and some of the songs have actions. Everyone gets involved!” Brad says with a smile. Singing time is followed up by a time of prayer in smaller, often family-based, groups within the congregation. The children then head over to the church halls to hear their talk, while the adults hear a sermon. After the service ends, everyone is encouraged to stay for dinner. “Having a meal together has been really great for continuing to go a bit deeper with people after each service,” Brad reflects.
And the feedback so far has been very positive. “People have expressed a desire to continue on at Family Church and some have made it back to subsequent services,” Brad says.
Please join us in praying for Kangaroo Island’s Family Church as it continues to grow.