Young adults Jeremy Choo and Jack Stott sensed a need among young Christians and non-Christians in their community for genuine connection and relevant conversation. Feeling compelled to do something, they started a Monday night gathering that has evolved into a full-fledged church plant launching soon.
“We sensed a need amongst youth our age to talk about things that don’t normally get talked about at church: relationships, mood, addiction, anxiety and other contentious topics. We felt a need to have a space where people could delve into those topics and not be judged, where they could feel at home,” Choo says.
Choo,19, who is currently in his first year of theology and ministry at Avondale University College and is a pastoral worker at Gilson College Mernda Campus, teamed up with his friend Stott and a group of young leaders to create “Avenue Community,” a different kind of “church” never before seen in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria.
“It’s mostly independent,” says Choo. “It’s not associated with a specific [local] church and we [started] it as a small group in my friend’s backyard on Monday nights. Sometimes [we’d] do music, sometimes discussion or a message, and sometimes it [was] just social,” he says.
Beginning as a weeknight small group, Avenue Community rapidly grew and the leadership soon adopted the vision to turn the small group into a church that meets at 4 pm on Sabbath afternoons.
“We chose this time because it’s attractive to youth,” said Choo. “They can attend their regular church in the morning, sleep in, or invite their non-believing friends over for lunch and then come in the afternoon. Also there are usually community events or sports games in the morning, so this allows non-believers to attend both.”