NCLS Research

Knox Baptist Community Church - a Lighthouse church

Lighthouse churches have been identified by NCLS Research based on 2001 survey results.  In the Light House Churches Project, churches were invited to tell their stories using a number of questions as a guide.

Based on the 2001 survey results, this church was doing well in the following core qualities:

§        Growth in belonging and involvement

§        Care for young people

§        A clear, owned vision for the future

§        Openness to new possibilities

§        Empowering and inspiring leadership


1. Do you agree the core qualities specified above are all areas of strength for your congregation or parish?

Response: As a leadership team, we have been conscious in making these areas a priority for KBCC.

2. Why do you believe you scored so well in these areas?

Response: My view is that if people know where they are heading (or at least where we are aiming) then they feel more able to commit to the journey. I use the word journey deliberately. Sure we have a vision but it is a fluid vision – there are subtle changes as we move ahead – variations on a theme. The local climate changes, opportunities arise. We cannot be so focussed on the strategy document that opportunities go by the wayside.

We also stress the value of young people and pour resources into that area. Keep children happy and parents are happy!

3. Can you describe what you do in each of these areas?

Response: Growth in belonging and involvement – I try to be an encourager. I would like to think that everyone at KBCC feels part of the family. We talk a lot about being a pilgrim people – on a journey! Our history plays a big part in a sense of belonging and involvement. We were planted as a mission to our local area and have never owned a building. To be a partner at KBCC means to be involved. We have the opinion that when you get involved you have a sense of belonging! I really believe that because we have to set up each week there is also a sense of belonging. Struggle and discomfort bind people together if there is a common purpose. We also tell a lot of stories in our service – I get people to share their experience and this will often lead to others chatting to that person later. Barriers are broken down and relationships are forged.

Care for young people – young people (i.e. children, youth and young adults) are really important to us! Our surrounding area (city of Knox) is a young area with heaps of young families. We try and cater for this need. Staffing reflects this – we have a children’s worker and 2 youth pastors!  But it is more than that. Youth and young adults design programs/services for themselves without interference from the “oldies”. Children’s programs are fun! We want our young people to have positive experiences at church no just dour programs. As mentioned earlier, relationships are vital at KBCC. Everyone is encouraged to be positive with our young people. We are all on first name basis and they feel loved. All church leaders are encouraged to spend time with young people. It is all about relationship and modelling!

A clear, owned vision for the future – A biggy! Over the past 18 months we have embarked on a new journey – exciting, dangerous and risky! Its focus is on the lost and has meant that we will not seek to buy a building! To be honest, some people left because of this. KBCC is not going to be a comfortable church. What has happened is that those who have chosen to stay are those committed to the vision of being a “missionary” church. Ask anyone at KBCC what sort of church we are and they will say “a missionary church”. It is clear to all and it is owned by all! I emphasis this point. I get people to tell stories about their involvement in the mission of KBCC. People love hearing and telling stories. It helps them know that anyone can be used and can make a difference.

Openness to new possibilities – We evaluate everything that we do and ask “Does this ministry assist us in achieving our vision?” If it doesn’t we change it so it does. Some may question what we do, but we are about building bridges. Our services always endeavour to have a surprise in them - it is never the same! By doing this, the KBCC family has become a people who never settle for the same approach. They are always prepared for the unexpected opportunity.

Empowering and inspiring leadership – We always acknowledge that Jesus is the head of our church! As leaders we just try and be faithful. I am an optimist and speak positively. This has engendered a positive feeling around the place. We laugh a lot and have plenty of fun!  The KBCC family know I love them and think they are great. The KBCC family know God loves them and thinks they are great. Empowering? God can and does use anyone who is willing to serve. I am always encouraging people to run with their ministry areas and ideas (as long as they assist in fulfilling our vision.) What would I know about running a playgroup, 4-wheel drive, model train craft PND support groups etc? Nothing! But I have people who are sensational at it! Why interfere? They own their ministries and are passionate about them. I do however commit to pray for them and resource them in any way possible. I also let them know that failure is just a hiccup and that we learn from failure and struggles.

4. What are some of the lessons or principles that you have learnt that would be helpful to other church leaders?

Response: Take time to talk to young people. It is vital that they know that the pastors in their church think they are important enough to talk to.

Care for people who work with youth – it is the most tiring and criticised role in the church.

Whilst strategies are helpful don’t be a slave to it! God is creative and thinks DO change!

Ask God for a vision for your church and get your elders and intercessors to pray about it and confirm it.  Share it passionately and regularly. Preach about the need for vision regularly. Each year we celebrate the vision that KBCC has been given by God. Each week we mention it!

What works at another church may not, and probably will not work at your church. Be creative! In regard to new possibilities, know your area and ask questions like  “what are the needs?”, “what would make a person want to come to a church activity?”  “Who is going to be our target or people group?”

Make links with local schools and ask, “How can we help you?” The local high school where we meet has working bees on Sundays. We encourage as many people as possible to miss our service and attend the working bee. We put on a sensational morning tea in our meeting room and invite everyone at the working bee to come on in. We get a great opportunity to talk to those who attend the working bee! One of our retired men drives the school bus which frees up a teacher. Another one of our guys does landscaping at the school. We try to add value to the school.

With people - be positive, be caring, love people (really love them), be vulnerable (admit your struggles), be honest (admit when you’ve made mistakes), have a spiritual board or deacons not just people who are proficient in the business world. You cannot tell people enough how much you love them!

5. What has worked well for you that you would recommend for other church leaders to try?

Response: To be a leader you must:

1.   Read lots. First the bible and then good Christian material. Stuff that pushes your boundaries - that makes you feel a little uncomfortable.

2.   Pray. Stress that this is a spiritual battle and that God needs to be included.

3.   Get a person who you can download onto and who can speak into your life – someone from outside of your church and preferably outside your denomination.

3.   Meet with your staff, elders and leaders regularly, as a group and personally. I spend the first 30 minutes of each day just chatting to staff. It is not wasted time. They know that I am interested in their everyday lives. I take them out for coffee etc We laugh and cry together.

4.   Care for your ministry area leaders. We have regular lunches with different ministry area leaders at our home.  Again, I want them to know that I think they are great and that I value their commitment.

5.   If you can avoid it, don’t answer the phone. Get someone else to do that as it breaks your concentration.

6.   Run with the runners! In other words, don’t allow the “nay sayers” to hold you back!

7.   Spend plenty of time with your own family. Listen to them, because they will tell you the truth!

8.   Stress the importance of small groups. They are the best way meet people and receive pastoral care.

9.   Get a life outside of church!

10. Be a witness for Christ yourself. If you want your people to share Jesus then you must also do that.

11. Be careful with your time. I invested in an electronic diary that my PA has access to. In it I have reading time, sermon time, retreats, regular meetings, important dates etc securely in. My PA doesn’t allow me to change those without a fight!

12. Be yourself!

6. What are some of the dangers or pitfalls that you can warn other church leaders about?

Response: If you have a vision, get it confirmed by the elders and other staff. If they don’t own it then you start off on the back foot.

Vision comes from the spiritual leaders and not by consensus from the congregation.

Whilst being open to possibilities is vital, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!

Always remember why Jesus created the church and that it is He who leads the church and not you!

Contact details:

Congregation/Parish Name:       Knox Baptist Community Church

Postal Address:               1/108 Lewis Road, Wantirna South 3139 VIC

Phone:                            03 9887 1344


Contact Name:                David Waters


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