My Various Churches – Yarra Plenty Church

Yarra Plenty Church was a church that met near where the Yarra River meets the Plenty River in North East Melbourne.

I first attended in 1998 after I had gotten to know the pastor, Steve Wyndham, through us both being students at Harvest Bible College.  It was our church home for many years.  Here are 3 things I liked loved about my time at Yarra Plenty:

It felt like family

There is nothing like a church that feels like family – a place where you know people, people know you, and the collective group of relationships makes you feel like part of a family.  That is a sensational thing.  If you have that in your church right now then please realise that you have something very, very precious.  I am not sure if there was anything special compared to any other church, but it sure was special to me.  I think it comes from a combination of relationships, time and personalities.  After a while something just gels.  That’s not a very scientific analysis.  All I know is that somewhere something went very right.  To be part of a community like that, and where God is at work and good things are happening is just awesome

I met Catherine!

If you met your spouse at a church then that church will always hold a special place in your heart.  For me the very first time I set foot on the premises of Yarra Plenty Church was the first time I met Catherine.  Steve had asked me to teach a small group that was meeting on a Monday night.  The first time I attended Steve taught and he wanted me to participate, so that I could then take over the following week.  Catherine was in the class.  She thought that I was a nerd and needed help socially (can you believe that?)  She adopted me as her “grace case” but ended getting so much more than she bargained for!  That was the last week of August 1998.  We were married on 15 August, 1999.  So that was a completely awesome 12 months.

I had my most fruitful ministry

In the bible when Esther has the opportunity to speak to the king and lobby him to save her people, the hand of providence was recognised by her cousin Mordecai.  He said to her, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  Every now and then in life you get to do something and you know that God has given you the opportunity for such a time as this.  In December 2010 and January 2011 I felt that God was telling me to get ready.  In late January I had the chance to join the board and eldership of Yarra Plenty, and it was a wild, crazy ride over the 10 months before the church voted to become a campus of Planetshakers Church.  We had staff retrenchments, State Executive intervention, went close to insolvency, farewelled our senior pastor of 17 years, almost had a church split, and on top of all that I got to do a lot of bible teaching.  It was extremely intense and extremely rewarding, and we came out the other side.  I will treasure serving at Yarra Plenty in 2011 for the rest of my life.

John

6 Comments to “My Various Churches – Yarra Plenty Church”

  1. I attended YPC when it was Calvary Assembly, Eltham AOG and YPC, I saw many great Pastors come and go, many trials and tribulations, growth in numbers and also a decline. A Pastor time in a church I believe is for a season, how ever, there are ways things should be done. I have know Steve since Youth Group Days. Steve Wyndham was and is a great person but it was his time to move on to bigger and better things, I dont believe I like how it all went down but in the long run I believe Steve and Maylin are where God wants them to be and I wish them nothing but health and happiness.

  2. There was no church vote! If there was a vote then it would still be YPC.

  3. Here’s a comment the fabulous Paul Booth put on facebook…
    Can definitely relate to John’s “for such a time as this” moment. With all of the junk I went through at previous churches, I never understood why God allowed it to transpire that way. Then, when I was called up the the Eldership at YPC, I understood. All that pain I had experienced in the past had prepared me, and I was able to keep my head and do the job I was destined to do. I loved YPC as my home, and still do in the form of Planetshakers now – I am glad I was properly prepared by God to perform the task laid out for me. The problem, of course, is that after you have “for such a time as this” moments, it’s hard to return to normality – everything else can seem boring.

  4. What happened at YPC was nothing short of the opposite of what church should be. Christians are called to live at peace with one other. The church may have had problems but the way it reacted was nothing short of sinful. It broke relationships and served nothing but the building.

    • Not sure precisely who you are Mr/Ms Anonymous, but I’ve got to say I both agree and disagree with you. Christians SHOULD live at peace with one another, but the reality is that although we’re saved, we’re only saved sinners. I considered Steve and Maylin my friends, and still do – I credit them with deep healing that my family and I badly needed, and will never forget that.

      On the other hand, when relationships broke down, as they often do even between Christians, I saw something quite special happen. With reduced numbers and injuries all around, I saw a closing of ranks by the faithful. It was a true Nehemiah moment, when we held swords in one one hand and rebuilt with the other. I really hope you were able to see that aspect, as I believe it was YPC’s finest hour, and a testament to the Wyndhams’ legacy.

      I encourage you to forgive if you haven’t already. If you don’t know how or who to approach, please contact me – I’d love to help.

  5. A nerd? Needing help socially? Really? We all love you and Catherine just the way you both are 😉

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