8th June 2024

An Unexpected Joy

The pitter patter of little feet has been directed towards Port Campbell Baptist Church (PCBC) as several families recently started attending, which triggered the need for a new Sunday School and youth group.

The church suddenly went from having one child to about a dozen after one family returned from a long trip, and two more families joined PCBC when their own church closed down in Timboon, about 15 minutes’ drive away.

Pastor James O’Brien said the young families had been an enormous blessing to the church as they have gotten to know the congregation. “It has certainly encouraged people at our church and given them a spring in their step! We’re a small congregation of around 30-40 people and the little kids are really warm and friendly – they often don’t sit with their parents, they’ll go and sit with the older people and hold their hand or chat with them, or give them a hug during church. They have definitely livened up our services a lot, which has been really good.”



James said young families sometimes mistakenly believe that they can’t contribute much to the church community due to time constraints and caring for the family’s needs, “but the reality is they make a really valuable contribution and are a huge blessing just by turning up and being an encouragement to others”.

“The children certainly put a smile on people’s faces each week. Their coming also invigorates other ministries and can stir people’s thoughts about what else we can be doing to reach out to the community, and to realise there’s a hunger in the community that we wouldn’t otherwise be aware of.”

A PCBC member who previously organised Sunday School has resumed this role. The church has subscribed to an online resource platform and bought a smart TV to show Bible stories, which has been “an amazing resource that entertains and captivates the kids”. “Sunday School is run most weeks, but we regularly run a different type of service such as a café church, and on those weeks we keep the kids in church so they can be involved.”

The new youth group began in February, led by parents of young people plus either James or Jo Moncrieff, the church deacon. It runs on Friday nights during the school term and an average of 8-10 young people attend, including several friends invited from outside the church.

“That led to another discovery about this church, that in the 1980s they had a really vibrant youth group here. It stoked some memories among some people that I work with who said they remember the youth group and used to attend. They really used to enjoy it and thought it was a great church and a great youth group, but over time they’ve drifted away for whatever reason. It has been a great encouragement to me as a pastor because I’ve realised the church has more connection to the community than I realised.”

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