One of the american uni students I got to meet told me about how different it was over here in Australia. They couldn’t believe the number of non-Christians.
So I asked, “Aren’t there many non-Christians back home where you live?”
She answered — I kid you not — “Well, I only know of two in the town I’m from.” (Apparently it was a small American town, so it only had about 300,000 people in it.)
This girl had met more non-Christians in one day in Australia, than she had met in her ENTIRE LIFE. Now, I’m going to go out on a sceptical limb and say that not all of those “Christians” she met were actually Christian. In fact, she said herself that being in Australia had helped her see that many of her friends back home probably weren’t Christians – they just went to church.
Apart from being amazed, I couldn’t help thinking what happens in that town when the pastor preaches on “Evangelism”…
Bob and Terry get phone calls, letters, bibles, prayers, etc… from 299,998 people!?!
As I read Yanks talk about church leadership and growth, I wonder if they make an assumption that just doesn’t fly here in Australia. See, Australians hate tall-hierarchy and being part of a machine. Whereas (the impression I get) is that Americans are impressed by tall-hierarchy and love to be part if a big machine.
You can see it in sport. Americans love winners, chants, cheering, big crowds, club t-shirts and organisations that bring people together to support a team. Aussies, on the other hand, love the under-dogs and tease the winners. Our chants are feeble for heroes but brilliant at ripping down. I’ve even heard a mate talk about meeting his cricket “idol” one day and guess what… he bagged him out for being old. That’s just what Aussies do.
And it affects our churches. If a church is small, they’re thought of as a bunch of battlers; if it’s big, they’re up-themselves. You can trust people in a small church, but there must be something dodgy going on in a bigger church. Christians are happy to “lend a hand” in a small church, but they’re reluctant to be just one of the “cogs” in a larger ministry.
The trouble is, Jesus’ church is huge, and he’s designed each one to play it’s part… a bit like a cog.