About Us

Our Story

Gospel Church Hamilton South started as a group of passionate Jesus-lovers with a heart to reach the ‘poor, crippled, lame, and blind’ with the glorious gospel of salvation through the context of a local church.

Located in the middle of the high-density housing commission area of Hamilton South, we strive to daily count the cost of living for Jesus and spread His name throughout the Estate. Our vision is for local churches to be equipped for costly living in hard places across the Hunter and NSW.

Shem Swadling

Shem grew up in Western Sydney and began to follow Jesus during his Electrical Apprenticeship. He married his high school sweetheart Grace and they began their journey of pursuing Jesus alongside each other. After realising that God was calling him to ministry, Shem studied bi-vocationally at Bible College and served as a youth pastor. He and Grace moved to Newcastle in 2016 and became part of Gospel Church and also the ministry at Hamilton South Housing Estate. In 2018 the Hamilton South ministry was launched full-time as part of Gospel Church, with Shem as the Lead Pastor.

Shem’s main focus is sharing the Gospel with people who feel downtrodden and cast out from society. He and Grace love inspiring people from all different backgrounds to be part of this vision to proclaim and demonstrate Jesus’ love. Shem’s desire is for the Church to be a family, a place where people belong and experience everyday life together. He is passionate about the Word of God and studying and preaching the Bible as a whole.

When he has spare time he loves fixing things, innovation, fitness, eating out, and basically anything with wheels. He and Grace enjoy walking around the neighbourhood and spending time with Church family. Shem loves to meditate on the goodness of our heavenly Father through all circumstances. His prayer is that He would glorify God every single day of his life.

“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20

Katie Wallace

Katie has spent her whole life on the coast bar 1 year in Canberra after school when she quickly remembered why she loves the beach so much. She grew up down the far south coast of NSW and moved up to a warmer, significantly busier version in Newcastle 5 years ago.

She works part time doing nursing and spends the rest of the week at Hamo.

She really digs getting out in the sun enjoying creation. She is equally as interested in a 3pm ice-cream run with anyone who drops her a text.

She longs for Jesus to use her weakness’ for His glory, and to see His kingdom come into ugly lives with the joy of salvation. She trusts through pain and suffering that the eternal presence of God in heaven will be far sweeter than anything we leave behind as followers of Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

Stefani Karmas

Stef is a born and raised Novocastrian, with a passion for her hometown and the people who live here.

Stef is a part-time women’s worker at Gospel Church and is responsible in part, with overseeing ministry to the various women in our community. Her primary focus is engaging the community of Hamilton South with the message of Jesus.

After hearing about our church, Stef fell in love with the people in the area, and although she has seen hardships, she is confident that Gospel is greater than all the brokenness of this world.

“God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing…” Psalm 68:6a

We Believe

We are passionate followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who believe that He came as a man, who was born of a virgin, and died for our sins and rose again on the third day, defeating death and ransoming a people forever. We believe that this pivotal message gave birth to God’s Kingdom in a tangible way through the historical and continuing church.

All people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, rebelling against Him and refusing to give Him the glory that He deserves. As such all people deserve death and eternal judgment, but due to the overwhelming grace and mercy of God, Jesus died in our place, setting free all those who believe in Him and giving birth to a new people who reflect His character and nature.

As Christians we believe that the Bible is the true, authoritative and sufficient Word of God to us. It is a living, breathing, life-giving word that reveals to us God’s character and nature. We believe that there is only one God, revealed in three person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These central beliefs which are revealed in the Scriptures make up the core beliefs of our church.

For a more detailed list of beliefs (with included bible verses), please click here.

Eldership Belief Statement

 The elders believe the following doctrinal distinctives.

We believe the gospel is the good news of what God has graciously accomplished for sinners through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, namely our forgiveness from sin and complete justification before God; this gospel is also the foundation for our confidence in the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom, and the consummation of his purpose for all creation in the new heavens and new earth.

This gospel is centred in Christ, is the foundation for the life of the Church, and is our only hope for eternal life; this gospel is not proclaimed if Christ’s penal substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are not central to our message. This Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the truth and power by which people are sanctified; it is the truth of the Gospel that enables us to genuinely and joyfully do what is pleasing to God and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ. The salvation offered in this gospel message is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; no ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved.

(Mark 1:1; Luke 24:46-47; John 3:16-18; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:2; 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 9:13; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 1: 7-10; Colossians 1: 19-20; 2 Timothy 1:8-14; 2 Peter 3: 11-13 Jude 3-4; Revelation 21-22)

We affirm that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, not on the basis of foreseen faith but unconditionally, according to his sovereign good pleasure and will. We believe that through the work of the Holy Spirit, God will draw the elect to faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously and effectually overcoming their stubborn resistance to the gospel so that they will most assuredly and willingly believe. We also believe that these, the elect of God whom he gave to the Son, will persevere in belief and godly behaviour and be kept secure in their salvation by grace through faith.

We believe that God’s sovereignty in this salvation neither diminishes the responsibility of people to believe in Christ nor marginalizes the necessity and power of prayer and evangelism, but rather reinforces and establishes them as the ordained means by which God accomplishes his ordained ends.

(John 1:12-13; 6:37-44; 10:25-30; Acts 13:48; 16:30-31; Romans 3-4; 8:1-17,31-39; 9:1-23; 10:8-10; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:3-7; 1 John 1:7,9)

The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ; he also convicts unbelievers of their need for Christ and imparts spiritual life through regeneration (the new birth). The Spirit permanently indwells, graciously sanctifies, lovingly leads, and empowers all who are brought to faith in Christ so that they might live in obedience to the inerrant Scriptures.

The model for our reliance upon the Spirit and our experience of his indwelling and empowering presence is the Lord Jesus Christ himself who was filled with the Spirit and entirely dependent upon his power for the performance of miracles, the preaching of the kingdom of God, and all other dimensions of his earthly ministry.

The Holy Spirit who indwelt and empowered Christ in like manner indwells and empowers us through spiritual gifts he has bestowed for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. Although there are different understandings in our network of the nature and function of these gifts, we all recognize that they are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines.

(Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Luke 4:1, 14; 5:17; 10:21; John 1:12-13; 3:1-15, 34; 14:12; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 2:14-21; 4:29-30; 10:38; Romans 8:9; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-13; 12:28-31; 14:1-33; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 3:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18)

Both men and women are together created in the divine image and are therefore equal before God as persons, possessing the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ. Men and women are together the recipients of spiritual gifts designed to empower them for ministry in the local church and beyond. Therefore, women are to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered to utilize their gifting in ministry, in service to the body of Christ, and through teaching in ways that are consistent with the Word of God.

Both husbands and wives are responsible to God for spiritual nurture and vitality in the home, but God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant leadership and sacrificial love modelled by Jesus Christ. The Elders/Pastors of each local church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and to teach/preach the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. The office of Elder/Pastor is restricted to men.

(Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18; Acts 18:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 3:1-7; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

The church has a clear biblical mandate to look beyond its own community to the neighbourhood, the nation, and the world as a whole; thus mission is not an optional program in the church but an essential element in the identity of the church. We are called to make Christ known through the gospel and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring his lordship to bear on every dimension of life. The primary way we fulfil this mission is through the planting of churches that plant churches and the training of their leaders. Our aim is that Jesus Christ would be more fully formed in each person through the ministry of those churches God enables us to plant around the world.

We also believe we are responsible neither to retreat from our culture nor to conform to it, but with humility, through the Spirit and the truth of the gospel, to engage it boldly as we seek its transformation and submission to the lordship of Christ.

(Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5-25; 28:18-20; Luke 4:18-19; 24:46-47; Acts 28:31; Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)