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Revival in Central West NSW – one life at a time


How it all started ... Steve Medved holds his Articles of War Soldier’s Covenant alongside Blue Mountains Team Leader Major Mark Brooks in April 2022.

After a period of closures and COVID-19 pauses in ministry in the Central West NSW regional centres of Bathurst, Mudgee and Lithgow, God is raising up his Army again.


By LAUREN MARTIN

Steve Medved is no stranger to church planting. He spent years planting churches in Sydney before burning out and taking time out to re-evaluate God’s calling for his life. The evangelist has now found his ‘sweet spot’ in The Salvation Army.


Enrolled as a soldier and appointed as Mission Team Leader of Bathurst Salvation Army in 2022, Steve has been planting small, organic faith groups in the central west NSW towns of Bathurst, Mudgee and Lithgow and delighting in how God is bringing people to faith and service.


“In the past, I’ve done a church plant, and you start a Sunday service, and then go out to the community and tell them that we are here and ask them to come and grow the Sunday service,” says Steve. “This is back-to-front – we started Bible study groups, which I’m calling ‘Church on Tuesday’ or ‘Church on Thursday’, and it’s grown from there, and now because it’s growing, people want to see a Sunday service!”


Steve and the Lithgow small group that meets in the corps hall one a week.

In Lithgow, just west of the Blue Mountains, The Salvation Army has not had an operational corps for many years but continued to run its Family Store, a place of love and acceptance for anybody in the community. Its store manager was part of the corps and had a real heart to see the ministry grow again.


“She is such a good invitationalist,” Steve says of Teresa Pilla, Lithgow Family Store Manager. “It’s a great partnership. She meets people and is constantly asking them to connect with us at Bible study.”

He says the once-a-week Bible study in the corps building is an inviting space for all – particularly new and non-believers. “We have a lot of people involved in the groups who aren’t Christians yet and who sit under the Word for weeks and then become saved. It’s really unique compared to what I’ve been involved in, in the past.


“The older Christians that have been with the Lord for years, when they are seeing this, they are thinking, ‘This is different.’ And they’re getting excited.”


Lithgow Family Store Manager Teresa Pilla invites many people to Mission Leader Steve Medved’s small group.

Jasmine Bristol was one of those people invited by the Family Store manager to attend Steve’s weekly Bible study. A former Buddhist, she says her introduction to Jesus and the relationship she now has with the Lord has been “life-saving”.


“Steve just discipled me from the word go, without me even realising,” she says. “He didn’t judge me, he just filled me with so much love and really helped me grow spiritually in the direction of God.”


She says her life has completely changed now that she has real hope and knows God has a good plan for her life. “Our family life is now completely different. We appreciate what we have instead of looking at what we want. [Having faith in Jesus] takes away lots of negativity.”


Not only does she attend the weekly Bible study, Jasmine and a few new Salvos are working through a discipleship program with Steve, and she also attends a different denomination’s ‘Growth Group’ another night of the week. “That’s with a different church, but I don’t worry about different denominations because we are one. Being a new Christian, I bring a bit of enthusiasm and joy in! Iron sharpens iron, and we are growing together.”


Steve says it’s a joy to see Jasmine and others like her grow in maturity in Christ so quickly. “Growth happens in small groups. These disciples are now starting to make disciples.”


The official opening of Bathurst Salvos Stores.

Bathurst Mission House

In the nearby larger rural centre of Bathurst, a new Mission House was opened in April 2022, and earlier this year, a Salvos Store opened that was a transition from the previous Family Store. Some of the connected men in the town wanted to start a men’s group, so Steve saw what God was doing in that space and encouraged and equipped the men to make it happen.


“We had the first one last month,” he says. “It’s more just a connection with men outside of the church in an informal setting around coffee and something to eat at a local café. Men can feel like they can walk in and just connect – just a bunch of guys talking.” (And with Steve there, you can be sure Jesus will always get a mention!)


A woman connected with the Salvos now wants to start a young mum and bubs group.


Steve (at front) with the Bathurst small group.

“I’ve been praying for workers for the harvest [Mathew 9:38], and now I’m getting them! Essentially, we have new growth at Lithgow, Mudgee, and Bathurst – God is raising up new Christians to be his Salvation Army here. We are growing in these towns, and the vision is to start small groups outside the city centres.


“Everything we do is an outreach. The whole focus is all about souls … It’s so good to see these people are starting to lead other people to faith!”


Please keep Steve and the new disciples in Bathurst, Lithgow and Mudgee in your prayers.

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