In this series "Meet a Pastor," we get to know FECA pastors, their Churches, and what God has been doing in their neck of the woods.
In this edition, we are hearing from Rodney Hole of Village Church.
Hey Rodney, tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Rodney Hole, I am currently pastoring at Village Church, which is located in “Dingley Village” a well-established neighbourhood in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. I was married to Helen at the young age of 21, we have been for 19 years and have three fantastic children, Maddy 17, Michelle 15 and March 9.
How did you come to know Jesus?
I grew up in a non-Christian home, giving little to no thought about God, and found myself going through my teenage years, filling my life with sport and entertainment. It was at the age of 15 when I was first introduced to Christianity. It was through the encouragement of a few friends and my older sister, that I found myself going to a youth group. It was there that I was first, taken aback by how good the other kids were. For a number of months, I tried to reform myself, to be a good kid, but it was to no avail. I was a bad kid, who knew that he could not be like those other Christian kids, so in light of that I slipped off into the world.
It was here that at the age of 17 that my life was flourishing, I was an apprentice electrician, I was playing football at a great club and was continually out partying with friends. Approximately a year later the Lord began to tighten the screws on my, His hand was very heavy upon me, as life around me seemed to be falling apart. At this point I knew that I was a sinner, I believed that the Bible was the Word of God and I knew that I was going to hell, yet I did not want to surrender my life God. I can remember on a number of occasions, yelling out to God, shaking my fist at Him, telling Him to leave me alone, as I simply wanted to enjoy my life of sin, even though I was miserable.
I began going to church on different occasions, and was stunned to hear that an entire Bible Study group were praying for me. I simply couldn’t work out why they would do that. My refusal to follow Christ was based upon my silly reasoning which was, that once I was old and life was over, then I’d give my life to the Lord, yet the Lord used the preaching of my first pastor to remind me that there may not be a tomorrow.
I cannot specifically remember a time when I surrendered my life to Christ and trusted in Him for salvation, yet I do distantly remember being in my second year as an apprentice and telling one of my friends that I had just become a Christian. Very soon and by the grace of God I changed dramatically, I was alive, I was born again and I simply could not get enough of the Lord. Everywhere I went, I took my Bible and would even be reading it in my car, at red lights. My father thought that I was in a cult, as I’d come straight home and read!
How did God lead you into ministry?
I was blessed to have been saved in a solid bible teaching church, and even more so to be discipled by my men of exemplary character and wisdom. In 2001 our church split and then closed soon after, I was blessed to be involved in a church plant with a few families, and had been given a great burden to help people with the problems of life through the Word of God. I did not know how or in what way this would flesh itself out, but in 2005 I started a master’s degree in biblical counselling, from the Master’s College in California. Our church had great connections with Riverbend Bible Church in NZ and Grace Community Church, pastored by John McArthur in Ca. Our church was alive and flourishing, sending out men to be trained in ministry and to various missionary endeavours throughout the world, it was here that I received the overwhelming desire to go to seminary.
My family and I left for the Master’s Seminary on the 6th of June 2009 and returned in December, 2012. I went back to my original church and served as an associate pastor there for just over a year, after which the Lord brought me to Village Church where I currently am by the grace of God.
Tell us about your Church and the journey God has been taking you on?
Village Church has been going since the early 1930’s, and some of its members have been there for nearly that long. Our people are a wonderful and caring group who love the Lord and one another dearly. We are approximately 70-80 in number and are in the process of constructing a church building, in nearby Keysborough. A great strength of our church is that we are very missions minded. By God’s grace we support 10 missionary groups/individuals throughout the world.
What is it about ministry that makes you the most excited?
Our focus and vision are based upon Colossians 1:28-29, the whole concept of presenting each man mature in Christ. We are convinced that when a child of God is in love with the Lord, he or she will be the greatest evangelist, the most caring of friends, the most sacrificial of servants, and the sincerest of worshippers. I would have to say that the greatest joy in ministry is seeing those who are spiritually weak and malnourished, come to life by the grace of God. To see blind and dull eyes open to the truth of the Word and to have just one soul ignited with passion for the Lord, is my greatest joy. It is so encouraging to see such people begin to serve and use their gifts for the work of the Kingdom of God.
What is the hardest part of ministry?
I would have to say that it is the human factor. Each person has their own will and desires, and to present every man mature in Christ (self-included) requires much patience, grace, prayer and humility. That change, that desire and passion for Christ, is first and foremost a work of God, yet at the same time, leaders are responsible to do all they can to foster that. This is an important lesson to know and remember.
What are some 'wins' and some 'losses' in the past few years?
Being a part of a smaller church certainly has its up and downs. It is wonderful to know each person well and to have great relationships, yet at the same time, being a smaller church means that there are certain limitations on what we can and can’t do. The Lord has answered many of our prayers, one in particular was that we would have a good and well-balanced number of gifted believers to carry out the great commission. The Lord answered our prayers by sending a number of families who have been greatly welcomed and who are serving the body in a profound way.
What does the next few years look like for you and the Church?
Over the past two years we have been shoring up our philosophy of ministry, working out where we are heading, how we are going to get there and what we will not be doing . Over the next five years, I am endeavouring to see discipleship mark and characterize our church, where the Lord’s people don’t just know the Word of God, but they live it out with passion and conviction, selflessly serving all men.
Please join us in praying that these endeavours will honour and please our Lord.
For more information on Village Church visit: www.villagechurch.org.au