MTW missionary Jim Jung stared the ministry to college students that grew into Harbour City Church.

A Huddle of College Students Grows into a Flourishing Church in Sydney

By Chelsea Rollman, Nov 21, 2023

A few years ago during one of Harbour City Church’s communion services, a young man named Bernie reached for the bread and wine. Bernie grew up in Hong Kong but moved to Sydney, Australia, to finish high school and attend university. Shortly after moving, his host brother invited him to Harbour City’s college group and the church quickly became Bernie’s home away from home.

For two years he played basketball with the church leaders, went to the college group meetings, and worshipped with families in the community on Sunday morning. Bernie did not personally know Christ, but God was working through His people at Harbour City to teach Bernie about His love for people. Then, as Bernie watched the communion plates move through the pews, the Holy Spirit stirred his heart. This time he wanted to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

Harbour City Church’s history is a collection of moments like these. When zoomed in, the day to day of the church’s ministry looks ordinary. Yet zoomed out is an image of a church making an enormous impact in the Australasia region of the world. As God touched the lives of people like Bernie with His grace, He turned a faithful huddle of college students into a vibrant church reaching people all over the world with the gospel.

The Birth of a Church

Harbour City began in 2006, shortly after MTW missionary Jim Jung landed in Sydney with his family and with plans to immediately build a flourishing church in this global city. But Jim quickly realized God had a different timeline. For three years, the church plant struggled to expand beyond an initial core group. Meanwhile, Jim began working with college students. While the church plant floundered, the college ministry boomed. Eventually, the campus ministry started feeding into Harbour City as the college students graduated and asked Jim if they could be part of the church plant.

Slowly their numbers grew and their capacity to reach the people in Sydney grew with it. Today, the 80-member church plant serves five university campuses through their college ministry called Student Outreach to the World. The church has partnered with organizations like Compassion International, International Justice Mission, Sydney Refugee Team, and a soup kitchen called Newton Mission to provide mercy and justice for the vulnerable in the city. They have sent missions teams to work with MTW missionaries across Asia. Recently they launched City Sanctum, a ministry to business professionals.

Moments of Grace

Behind this growth are stories like Bernie’s. After the communion service, some of the elders explained the significance of the Lord’s Table and who the meal is for. That Sunday, Bernie dedicated his life to Christ. He has been a faithful member of the church ever since.

According to Jim, the church is made up of young people from all over the region who connected with the church, grew in their faith, and are now active members both in the local church and God’s kingdom.

“I have done 20 marriages within our church—that’s 40 individuals—where things just lined up and happened in the best way possible,” said Jim. “They came to Christ, they were discipled to value what is good and right for their lives, they met each other and formed a family … every case is like one little stone or brick that gets built up. It is nothing crazy or dramatic but just all the grace of God.”

God has used each of these bricks to build a church that reaches international students, migrants, and refugees from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. Harbour City is quickly outgrowing its current space. Last year MTW donors provided funds for a special grant to the church’s capital campaign for a new building. Jim and the other church leaders believe a new building will allow the church to continue to expand—to plant churches, send missionaries, and reach others like Bernie throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Chelsea Rollman

Chelsea Rollman is a marketing specialist and staff writer at MTW. She formerly served as the girls’ discipleship coordinator at Village Seven in Colorado Springs, and as a marketing assistant at The White Horse Inn. Chelsea graduated from Covenant College in 2016 with her B.A. in English. She and her husband, Hudson, live in Jacksonville, Florida, and attend Christ Church Presbyterian where Hudson serves as the youth director.

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Pray for the people of Sydney, Australia, a city which has been described as "post-post Christian pagan." Pray that God would open eyes to the truth of the gospel.

Pray for MTW's ministries in Sydney, including Harbour City Church, City Sanctum, and Student Outreach to the World, as well as the Pacific Islands Island to Island Partnership. 

Give thanks for Harbour City Church in Sydney, Australia, and pray that God would continue to use it to reach people who come to Sydney from all over Australasia.

Pray for City Sanctum, a ministry to businessmen and women in Sydney, Australia that helps believers live out their faith in the workplace, and welcomes non-believers exploring their faith. 

Give thanks for Harbor City Church in Sydney, Australia, which is thriving with four campuses after years of struggles getting established.

Pray for missionary kids as they develop friendships with local children to have an impact for Christ.

Pray for those who feel called to missions, but don't yet know what or where God is calling them to. Pray for clarity, but also a resting peace in our sovereign God.

Pray for Harbor City Church in Sydney, Australia, and their mission to reach Asia. “New Australians”—second-generation immigrants and internationalized young adults of predominantly Asian descent—are the source not only of Harbor City Church’s steady growth, but also of its impact, much of it through its Student Outreach to the World ministry.

Pray for God to move among the Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga through the Island to Island Gospel Fellowship.

Pray for MTW's work in the Pacific Islands and the Island to Island partnership including church leaders from Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. 


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