Perhaps the biggest hurdle is not just understanding our Aussie culture but helping our churches to become missionally orientated.
We too easily overlook the fact that our lack of success has as much to do with our own cultural baggage acting like a repellent to the very people we are trying to reach.
It is over five years since I accepted the invitation to be the director of the 2020 Vision of Hobart Baptist Churches. My acceptance led to me becoming the pastor of Hobart Baptist Church and a member of the Mission Leadership Team of Tasmanian Baptists. Since then I’ve been in part of the discussion and hard work of working towards transitioning our churches to be ‘mission shaped.’
While most are willing to acknowledge that Baptist churches across Tasmania are not doing well in connecting with their local communities, for some the cost of changing the way we do things is just too great. It often feels counter-intuitive, awkward and uncoordinated. It requires both unlearning and relearning. At times we don’t see much fruit for our toil. I am sure it is the same for our brothers and sisters in other denominations.
Yet, Jesus said the journey would be tough (Matt 24: 9 etc) and despite all that, God calls us to be his ambassadors. Aussies need Jesus as much as any other people group on earth. May God find us all willing to be part of his plan to reach them.
Stephen L Baxter