It’s been a great joy and privilege to serve as Ministry Apprentice at Oasis Church for the last 12 months. I’ve been shaped in many profound ways and I have learned many valuable lessons. As I draw closer to the end of my time at Oasis, I wanted to share some of those lessons with you.

Before I do, let me tell you how I ended up here at Oasis. Through my involvement in our denomination over the last few years, I got to know both Ben and Adam. Each time I engaged with them I was impressed with their love for the Lord, and their preparedness for ministry. I was also blown away by the spiritual growth that had been occuring in the life of a good friend who was a part of Oasis Church at that time. 

After some reflection I approached the leadership of Oasis Church and asked them to consider taking me on as a Ministry Apprentice. Oasis Church didn’t need an extra staff member at that stage, so it would be a pure “kingdom investment.” The idea was that I would spend a year at Oasis Church, learning as much as I could, and being shaped by the culture and priorities here, before, Lord willing, moving to a church that has no pastor and helping them to thrive in a similar manner. Oasis Church has a good track record of raising up leaders, and I was hoping to be shaped by some of the same things that shaped the leaders that this church had already raised up.

I was so thankful when the leadership decided to take me on. I had high expectations. Normally, the grass is “greener on the other side of the fence”. But, after a year here, I can say that the grass is even greener than it appeared from a distance. 

I’ve been so blessed in so many ways. I’ve been personally blessed by the fellowship and relationships that Daniella and I have gotten to enjoy with the members of this church. I’ve been spiritually refreshed by the preaching and music ministry here, as well as the modelling of godliness from the staff and elders. And, praise God, I think I’ve learned a lot that will be a blessing to future churches that God places me in. 

Here are 6 (of the innumerable) things that I’ve learned during my time here. 

  1. Make discipleship pathways to help people integrate into church life and mature in their faith. Oasis Church grew massively in 2023, the year that I was here. Part of the reason for that is that it is intentional around welcoming and integrating newcomers. It can be daunting to visit a church, especially if you are not a believer, and it has been such a blessing to see (and file away for the future reference) the intentional and loving way that Oasis Church has built intentional pathways for people to tread in their journey of faith. 
  2. Spend time on unity. It’s worthwhile. One of the priorities of Oasis is Life Together. This is reflected all throughout the life of the church. The ministries that do or don’t occur, and the way that things are run. It also influences the way that the staff work together. I’ve never been a part of a church with a greater sense of unity than Oasis Church, and I’m confident it’s not by accident. It’s been such a blessing to see and experience the fruit of this priority, and it’s definitely something that I’d love to emulate.
  3. The body is made up of many different parts. And they all matter. A healthy church requires all kinds of people and many different types of gifts. I’m already mourning the fact that wherever God puts me, Joanna won’t be there! Seriously though, because there is such a strong team at Oasis, Ben and Adam are able to be more focussed on spiritual matters rather than dealing with important but time-consuming practical issues. It also means that these practical matters are dealt with thoroughly and well, rather than falling by the wayside
  4. Spend time on sermons. Oasis Church takes preaching the Bible very seriously. It is a massive part of the week for whomever is preaching, and normally the preacher asks for feedback from some trusted friends before they preach. I think that the extra time spent on sermons is part of the “secret sauce” of Oasis Church. One of the things that newcomers often say draws them to Oasis is the excellent preaching.
  5. Servant-hearted elders and deacons are essential I have never been in a church with more servant-hearted deacons and elders. They serve (sacrificially!) with no expectation of earthly reward. They aren’t vying for power or serving pridefully. They are just serving God to the best of their abilities. 
  6. Prayer is underrated. No one could deny that God has been greatly blessing Oasis Church for the past several years. It would be easy to forget that without God, no human effort would make this church move forward. I believe that a large part of the reason why this church is thriving is the way that it is saturated in prayer. There are regular prayer meetings throughout the year that the whole congregation is invited to. Many members of the church have joined the prayer team where they receive a weekly prayer email that they pray though. Each member of the staff team is given a household in our church to pray for each week. And every month the elders of the church specifically get together (in the same room!) simply to pray for the church and the congregation members. God has shown throughout the Scriptures that he moves in response to our prayers, and I believe that Oasis Church is thriving because it is a praying church.

I don’t yet know where God wants me to serve him, but I expect it to become clear in the next month or two. Lord willing, I’ll take what I’ve learned here to another church in the CRCA in the next couple of months. I’m guaranteed to still be around Oasis for the next couple of weeks at least, so there’s no need to farewell me just yet. 🙂

I’m so thankful for the way that God has blessed me through this church. May he richly bless this church and the people that make it up in return for the blessing that I have received through you all. 

Grace and Peace,


PS: This weekend (21st January) I’m visiting a church in the Western suburbs of Sydney to see if that might be the place that God wants us to serve him. Please pray that God will make it clear, and that God will give both Daniella and myself supernatural confidence about whichever path is right. Please also pray that the church will be of the same mind, whether that is for us to serve there, or not. Thanks!