Your Church in Action

Punching above its weight: Lay pastor David Skewes outside Bendemeer Faith Community Church.
Punching above its weight: Lay pastor David Skewes outside Bendemeer Faith Community Church.

Most people associate Bendemeer with great hamburgers, a great pub and a great cricketer.

But the bypassed metropolis has another claim to fame.

Nine years ago, when the Uniting Church found that the Bendemeer congregation was no longer viable, they generously allowed the locals to keep it going themselves.

Rather than spiralling into oblivion, the little church picked up and started to grow.

In fact, if you size a church by the proportion of the population that attends, it would have to be the biggest church in the north west.

It has no ordained minister, no denominational oversight, yet the Bendemeer Faith Community Church is a vital part of the town.

Even the people who don’t go refer to it as “our church”.

This is a church that punches well above its weight.

It sponsors a missionary couple in Kenya and a Scripture teacher at Bendemeer Public School.

Lay pastor David Skewes explains the ethos.

“We live in a society where people feel they don’t need God,” he says.

“You can have a meal without God.

“You can get a roof without God.

“So how do we show God’s love to a society that feels it doesn’t need Him?

“We do it by being practical.

“We give all our money away. When there is a need, or a grief in the town, the church people are there with a heart and a hamper.”

If you want to see practical, you take a look at Bendemeer on the first Saturday night of December.

They call it Christmas lights.

They put an invitation in every letterbox and invite all 250 residents to join them for a Christmas feed and fun night.

Last year 700 people came.

“It’s like feeding the 5000,” laughs David.

“We don’t know who we’ll get, but we undertake to feed them all.

“We have help from the pub and the general store.

“The budget is huge, but God always provides.

“Our God has deep pockets. We never have to worry.”

Each year is different. There have been fireworks, a ducking tank, a big screen larger than a shipping container, a lolly cannon with thousands of lollies and a message about a God Who rolled up His sleeves and got involved with people.

“We’re a little community of people who want to worship God and obey Him,” David says.

“And it works.

“If there were more churches like this, Australia would be a different place, because Australia is built of little towns like Bendemeer.”