Building a supportive relationship and embracing joint ministry has had a positive impact on Port Lincoln’s Navigator College and Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.
The school and church have been working closely together since the college opened 10 years ago, with Our Saviour’s illustrating how a congregation can support its local learning community.
Pastor Phil Joppich has been working at both Navigator College and Our Saviour’s for two years and he is currently driving the immediate connection.
He said it has been great to see so many people from the congregation wanting to get involved.
“There are people from the congregation who want to know what they can do to support the school and the school is more than happy for the congregation to be involved,” Pastor Phil said.
“For example, we had a Reformation Day service last year and the school said it would be wonderful if the church could put on a lunch for no cost. So quite a number of members from the congregation came down and cooked a barbecue and baked cakes.”
Our Saviour’s also provided a morning tea for staff members on a student free day last year and have even assisted with maintenance work at the school.
“Someone from the congregation had noticed at the beginning of last year that the school maintenance team is so busy and thought the church could find volunteers to help out,” Pastor Phil said.
“About eight of us were there for a morning and helped tidy up the entrance area of the school. The school was certainly appreciative of that and the congregation members came in to the staff room for morning tea and connected with a few of the staff that were there.”
Fellow Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church Pastor Rob Schubert also helps out at the school, participating in junior school chapels by playing in the band. Pastor Rob will often stay after chapel services, making himself available to anyone who might want to chat.
More than 500 students attend Navigator College, and while some students are already on their faith journeys, Pastor Phil said there are some families that are open to exploring Christianity with their children.
However, developing these relationships in the school is not about getting more people to church on a Sunday, it’s about showing them God’s love.
“There’s an immediacy in Port Lincoln where there’s one Lutheran church and one Lutheran college and it seems to me to be a no brainer that if we’re looking for where God might be calling us, this is the place,” Pastor Phil said.