By John Greig
Have you ever wanted to do something really useful with your life, but don’t know where to start? There are so many possibilities for service in Christian Mission that are worthy and good, but maybe you’ve never found something that’s quite the right fit for you?
Here is another somewhat different suggestion.
There are lots of small country churches that are really struggling. Why not consider using your employment as a means of rural mission? There are shortages of various kinds of professional and tradespeople in many country areas. The general trend is that people leave the country to go to for tertiary education and training, and the result is that they make friends, marry, and settle down in a city. This trend was made much worse by the millennium drought.
With the drought now over that means that there are lots of jobs available in the country, and lots of small country churches that are really struggling.
Why not consider using where you live and work as a means of mission?
Many country churches are now doctrinally sound and evangelical, but made up of mainly older people. As these people age there is a danger of these small churches dying out, leaving large parts of country Australia without local Christian witness as we know it now.
And for younger generations in particularly, this can be a problem.
In our town, Condobolin, when the Presbyterian church was liberal in its teaching, the children of church attenders mostly stopped coming when they grew up. Now with a generation of sound teaching most of the children that have grown up with this have been converted, which is good news…as they are still serving in churches elsewhere, having moved away for work and study.
That means we don’t have enough energetic, enthusiastic leaders, particularly for kids’ and youth ministry. Our church doesn’t have a youth group, and there are no SRE teachers in any school in the town.
Maybe you can help?
I want to invite you to consider moving to a rural area for work, and getting involved in a less resourced church.
As I have lived in the country all my life, to me there seem lots of good reasons to “escape to the country” if you live in a major urban area. How does a five minute commute to work sound? Condobolin has no traffic lights, with the closest set being over 100 kilometres away along with the closest Macca’s. Housing is also much cheaper and generally provides more space for gardens than in the cities.
The work environment may be different, but you may gain a wider range of responsibilities and more independence, which many people value.
As a side note, the Local Government Area that Condobolin is in has not yet (Oct 2021) had a single case of COVID-19!
There will would be challenges in moving from the city to the country, as in any change, but if God is leading you in this direction, He is able to provide for you in these.
And if you do choose to move to the country, I can pretty much promise you there will be a grateful church community keen for you to jump into ministry – especially ministry to young people. Your choice could be a great gift to them.
Why not prayerfully consider if this is a good option for you?
John Greig attends Condobolin Presbyterian Church in the Central West region of NSW.