It was the first Sunday in June 2001 when the basement auditorium of Panthers Club became the launching place for a new Church, which very soon after branched out into the Community Services arena.
Today, the newly refurbished modern facility at Settlement City is known as the People Builders Centre.
This month, on Sunday 5 June, founding Pastors Jeff and Karen Atherton and the growing family of people at People Builders celebrate 10 years of operations in Port Macquarie with a BIG BIRTHDAY BASH. The doors open at 10am for anyone to come along and join in the café style celebrations.
Jeff, what is People Builders?
‘People Builders’ is a vibrant ‘out of the box’ 21st century Christian Church and Community Services Centre. Our name ‘People Builders’ is both a noun and a verb. It’s a description of both ‘who we are’, and ‘what we do’.
There’s far too much negativity in our world pulling people down, so People Builders is committed to equipping and inspiring people to shift their thinking about themselves and others and then partner together and commit to – building people up.
You might have noticed the green dot in our logo. As we often say: “It’s about taking the dot off the ‘i’ and placing it on the ‘u’, because you are more important than I am.”
It’s about taking the focus off ourselves and placing it on the needs of others. It’s about living for a cause greater than just ourselves.
So Jeff, how did it all get started?
It all began with a vivid dream that just wouldn’t leave me. A dream from God to get out alongside ordinary everyday people with a practical message of hope. It’s a long story. But simply, we started with a friendly BBQ on my back deck. And from small beginnings with my family and a handful of people, we began a very basic simple gathering down in the basement at the RSL on June 1, 2001.
We called ourselves ‘Eternity’ in the early days. In 2003 we launched a Community Services Centre and then added a youth program, and things just kept developing. The truth is, we just didn’t give up. The need is too large and the cause in out hearts is too strong. People are just too important to God. I just choose to look for the ‘gold’ in every human being.
What happens during the week in the People Builders Centre?
In any one week you’d see things like: Coffee and Connect meetings, Life keys courses, ‘Girl Power’ morning tea sessions, personal counselling, equipping workshops, deaf signing classes, family food parcels, plus after school youth activities, not to mention music rehearsals and our administration and office activities, plus all our ’Life Groups’ meeting in cafés and in homes. These small groups are all about valuing friendship, building trust and creating accountability with others who are on a similar journey to you. If you’re near Fig Café on Friday mornings, you’ll see the growing ‘Girl Talk’ group of 18 – 20 women chatting away. My wife Karen looks after that one.
There seems to be a ‘youthy’ feel about the place. What activities involve youth?
Two groups meet on Tuesday evenings – one for highschoolers and the other for young adults. There’s also a new after school program for young people. Every Friday night the amazing ‘PB Youth’ night kicks off at 7pm. It’s an energised and creative night designed to build up young people in a safe and supervised environment – led by a champion couple absolutely sold out to loving and helping youth – Tim and Kailey Weatherstone.
For primary aged kids – we run a great program on Sundays called Kid Builders, and there’s a purpose built parents room for the babies and small children.
What’s it like on Sunday?
On Sundays, the PB Centre auditorium is filled with people of all ages looking to connect with God and with people. That’s what we call Church.
It’s nothing like a traditional service with hymns and liturgy etc. There are other churches that do that really well – but that’s not us. At PB, the multi-media screen counts down the start and our amazing and talented live band (I love those guys) kick off the morning with lots of music and media and inspired and relevant messages – plus coffee etc. People hang around afterward for ages.
Congratulations to you and the team on your 10th anniversary.