A Jewish Boss & his button factory, my doorway to pioneering a church

I was twenty four, my wife was twenty two, we and our six month old baby left family, community and the familiar to pioneer a church across a nation.

We were children with a baby going from a pretty little Perth back in the eighties to the big smoke of Melbourne.

Average prices of a home were mid $40,000 in Perth, average prices in Melbourne were mid $80,000 mark.

We had four weeks wages in the bank, no job, no accomodation but big dreams in our hearts to make a difference to this city we felt called to.

My wife and I were married less than eighteen months and we only knew each other for five months before we got married.

We were the perfect couple, feisty, passionate and threw caution to the wind about having an adventure.

We found a house within days, choking at the ridiculous rent, $130 a week and the average wage was $400.

I landed my first job within a couple of weeks which was fortunate, meaning I had $800 left in the bank. Cashed up and excited to be in a new city with my young wife and beautiful baby girl, we splurged and bought our first lounge suite and dryer for the babies nappies.

I landed a job being a delivery driver for a button manufacturer in Brunswick. The owner was a shrewd old Jewish business man and I still remember landing the job and negotiating hard. He must’ve laughed at my seriousness, I was about to walk out if he didn’t agree to $1 extra an hour. It was a stare down and I won the deal, he seemed pleased that I won the deal the way he smiled as we shook hands. I was so transparent with him, telling him I was in Melbourne to start a church and reach people in need. From that day I had incredible favour with him, he had no idea where I was at any given time within his factories that were in different suburbs of Melbourne, I just did the job he gave me.

I had the privilege of mixing with all his staff, from button designers, button tool manufacturers, the chemical guys that dealt with all sorts of toxic liquids and the cleaners.

Who would’ve thought that the first person to join our new church was the Italian Business man who owned a cleaning company doing the cleaning for the Jewish button company.

We met in a stairwell and he enquired who I was and impressed that the old Jewish boss liked me so much. Apparently the Jewish owner was very difficult to deal with. I shared with the Italian business man my purpose for being in Melbourne and he instantly opened up about his life in the stairwell.

Here I was in my early twenties in another city working in a button company and within the very first week I meet a man in a stairwell that became my first parishioner.

This young Italian business man was gifted in making money but struggled with his own rages near on destroying his marriage and everything that was meaningful to him. As the years went by he became one of my closest friends and he went on to become a pastor himself.

I thank God for all the serendipitous connections, starting with an old Jewish Boss who took a liking to an ambitious overconfident young Greek guy who wanted to make a difference.

Decades later nothing has changed, I’ve tripped into the most unusual favour with men of influence and I can’t help but feel the favour of God over my life and my family.

I’m still an ambitious overconfident Greek that wants to help people find their soul but a lot older and hopefully a little wiser.