Stephen Tan, together with his wife Kallie, will be leading a new plant within the City to City Australia network, Renegeration Church. Being sent out by Mentone Baptist Church, Stephen shares with us about how he became a planter, and their hopes for reaching the ethnically diverse suburb of Clayton and the City of Monash.
How did you become a church planter?
I grew up as a pastor’s kid in Malaysia. While I had seen a lot of my dad in action I didn’t grow up wanting to be a pastor. What I was keen on was evangelism. When I came to Melbourne to study at Monash University (Peninsula) I got involved in a church plant and in uni student ministry. Over time I became convinced that church planting is the best way to accomplish the great commission. I joined Mentone Baptist Church to be trained by Murray Campbell to be a church planter. I went to Ridley College to do my Master of Divinity and then I contacted City to City to do a church planter assessment and intensive.
How did the church plant come about?
I sought God for direction regarding what kind of church to plant and where. I was challenged at a conference to plant a church to reach the many migrants that were coming to Australia. My pastor and trainer Murray was passionate about reaching the students of Monash University (Clayton). So, we decided to combine both visions and plant Regeneration Church for the city of Monash. As a migrant and former international student at Monash myself I feel particularly equipped for this task.
Give us a description of the character of the community you’re reaching out to. What are some of the challenges involved in reaching out to this community?
According to SBS, Clayton is the most diverse suburb in all of Australia with 112 nationalities represented. We want to be a transcultural community that welcomes migrants from every nation some of whom have never heard the gospel or met a Christian. We also want to welcome the students at Monash University. There is already a lot of good work being done there by parachurch organisations and we want to come alongside them to both evangelise students as well as integrate them into a healthy, gospel-preaching local church. The biggest challenges that we face are finding a suitable venue that is close enough to the university that students living on or near campus and who have no cars can walk to. Secondly, students and migrants are a very transient demographic. We will face challenges in establishing a core community that are in it for the long haul as well as a sufficient financial base to make Regeneration Church financially self-sufficient.
Who's involved in the church plant?
Our core team is made up primarily of people from our sending church, Mentone Baptist Church, some students from Monash University as well as some friends who I and my team members know through our personal networks.
What are your hopes for the future?
I like to say that I have a goal for everyone I meet. For every non-Christian, I want them to come to know Christ as Lord and Saviour. For every Christian that I meet I want them to grow in Christlikeness and to be a disciple who makes disciples. From a practical standpoint, we would like to be self-sustainable in five years’ time and in future be a church that plants churches too.
How can we be praying for you?
- That God will provide us with a suitable venue that is walking distance from the university
- That God will provide for our financial needs
- For unity and wisdom for us as a core team
- That God will work by his Spirit so that many will hear the gospel, repent, believe and be saved
Regeneration Church will be holding a second preview service on Sunday 25th June in the lead up to their official launch in July, and they'd love for you to join!
To find out more, visit the Regeneration Church website: