Mel Fung was selected as a participant in the Hub Winter Class 2016, based on her idea to help churches reach people with intellectual disabilities. Today Jesus Club has over 80 members in seven locations across Sydney, with another three clubs set to commence later this year. As The Hub 2016 classes finish in June, Mel shares how The Hub has enabled Jesus Club to develop and grow.
How did the idea for Jesus Club originate?
In 2004 God introduced me to a group of people with disabilities through my work as a disability support worker. I started a low-key Bible study program called ‘Jesus Club’ for some of my intellectually-disabled clients in 2006. Over the past 11 years God has grown this ministry so that the original Bible study program, run in Gladesville, has been replicated at six other churches in Sydney – with three more to start this year. This was never the vision when Jesus Club first started, but God does more than we can hope or ask for!
How has being part of the Hub program helped to realise your goals for Jesus Club?
The Hub program has been instrumental in transforming Jesus Club from a one-person-led ministry to one upheld by many Christians, each contributing their various gifts. Jesus Club now has the structures, resources and support to endure for many years and reach many people.
What is your vision for Jesus Club in the next five years?
Our vision is to see churches all over Australia reaching out to people with disabilities and genuinely welcoming them into their community. We have spent the past four years building a network of clubs in Sydney, and are planning to do the same in other states. Already there are churches in Victoria and Queensland that want to set up their own Jesus Club ministry.
We also want to produce a comprehensive library of Bible-teaching materials for people with intellectual disabilities. Jesus Club has employed several writers, including Christians with special education training, to write material that can be used at the Jesus Club program or by anyone in the world. Our deep desire is to see our friends with disabilities enjoying all the blessings that other Christians can often take for granted, including Bible reading and teaching.
As your time with The Hub draws to a close, what would you say to other Christian women who are considering applying for The Hub program?
God has done more than I could hope or ask by providing this Hub experience. The Hub has opened my eyes to how to use entrepreneurial tools to build a ministry that can reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed meeting with like-minded women each week. God uses the various members of the body to sharpen us in our faith and our missions.