5 Minutes With Ben Fagerland

DECEMBER 12, 2016

Hi Ben, can you tell us a little bit about Activate Church

Activate Church was planted in 2006. I took the role of Senior Pastor in 2013. We have been planted in Wantirna South near Knox Shopping Centre for the past 2 years. We sublease the foyer to Hey Mikey (specialty coffee and jaffles) –which just got #6 on Bean Hunter for VIC (it’s good). Our mission is to build the church through people who are saved, free, equipped and sent (the journey of every believer). This year God has blessed our church greatly and we are seeing a lot of people connected into our community.

What has been a highlight of your time as Senior Pastor of Activate Church?

It’s hard to say there has been one highlight. A few months after I became the Senior Pastor we were told to vacate the building we were using. It was a struggle to find a new place, but God blessed us greatly with our current building. The day we opened our building was a great day and made a big difference to our church. People sold furniture to raise the money required to build the church. But we don’t run church to have buildings. The real highlights are the stories of people’s lives that have been changed by Activate Church and our community. There are so many people that have encountered God through our services, small groups and ministries and I’m greatly encouraged by that.

What are 3 things you believe are key to building a strong and healthy church community?

  1. Healthy leaders create healthy culture
  2. Conviction about your identity as a church
  3. Commitment and frequency. (I thought these were the same thing, then I realised we live in culture that is committed but not always frequent. If you want good relationships then you need frequency.)

Missions is a vital ministry in the life of Activate Church. Can you tell us about 1 local and 1 global initiative?

Locally, we are just about to open a CAP Debt Centre. CAP assist people by getting them debt free. This provides Activate with a great avenue to assist the families pastorally by providing meals, encouraging them to attend some of our workshops (i.e. Alpha Marriage etc.) while CAP manages their finances.

And overseas, we are currently reviewing our overseas missions to find a more effective way to reach people for Jesus. However we presently work with Compassion and Destiny Rescue. Destiny Rescue is a Christian based, non-profit organisation dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

What was the best advice you received about life/leadership and how has it impacted/shaped the way you live/lead?

When I started in ministry, my Senior Pastor, Corey Turner said these words “whatever you do, stay close to Jesus. Never forsake that”. Ministry is busy and its easy to get distracted. However, you don’t have a ministry without Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That is good advice and has always served me well.

What’s one question you are asked most often by young leaders?

The theme is normally around hearing from God for future direction. They ask how to move forward without making a mistake or risk failure? I long time ago, I decided that sometimes you’re going to fail. I’d rather fail and know I tried than to never try. Its part of our culture to not be intimidated by failure –otherwise you’ll never have the courage or faith to try anything.

If you had the chance have dinner with 5 people, past or present, who would they be and why?

Hard question – I could give this some better thought but if I had to choose 5 people on the spot…

  1. Michael Jordan: was my childhood hero
  2. Anthony Hopkins: Great actor
  3. Either The Rock or Will Smith: Comedic value
  4. Jesus: I know I pray to him, but it would still be pretty good to have dinner. Also I could introduce the other guys if they haven’t met yet?
  5. My wife Sarah: you should share good experiences with people you love

What are 2 events at Activate Church in 2017 that you are excited about and why?

The first would be the opening of our new kids room (construction to begin early next year). Our kid’s ministry has grown by 200% this year. We need more space and recently took up an offering for it. It will be great to have more space for families.

And the second, the launch of several local mission initiatives during our vision series in February 2017. Some of these include: CAP Debt Centre, Ranges and Mainly Music. Each mission will put us in touch with more families in our community.

Thanks for your time Ben!