Over the years, an insidious notion has periodically expressed itself in our circles. The notion is that God is working in the 10/40 window, but he isn’t up to much here in Australia.

This mentality has led to the idea that our churches can be handled by the rich Americans. We’d much rather pour our time, energy, money, and leaders into some exotic mission field where the pickin’s aren’t so slim.

It’s time that we got this straight. Australia is our country. It’s our responsibility. And it’s time we stopped whinging and making excuses as to why we can’t do what God has clearly called and equipped us to do.

Don’t tell me people aren’t listening in Australia. That’s not true. You and I both know it.

Don’t tell me it’s impossible to build a stable ministry in Australia. The truth is—and it’s time someone said it—the reason our ministries are weak is because our ministries are a reflection of ourselves. The problem is not Australia and the problem is certainly not the gospel. The problem is us.

I’m sure there will be an audible gasp at what I’m saying, but the fact is, we’re all thinking it and it’s true.

Let’s forever erase from our mentality and our vocabulary the idea that Australia is a picked-over potato patch and that people here just don’t listen to the gospel. That’s a lie and the longer we wallow in the hopelessness and stupidity of it, the longer it will be before we get down to work doing what we’ve been called to do.

One more thing. I’m not having a go at American missionaries. I thank God for those who have ministered in our field. But the fact is, this is our field. The responsibility to preach Christ here is ours. They can help, and praise God when they do. But they have no reason to stay indefinitely, and if they do, we have a responsibility to be covering their full salary.

So it’s time we stopped getting up at conferences and discouraging young men from joining the harvest here in Australia. We ought to be challenging our young men to plant churches right here in our cities and preach in our pulpits. Yes, we have a commission and yes we have a mission, but the reason Australia’s light is not shining far abroad is because it’s not shining bright at home.

Australia is our country, our responsibility. Now let’s get to work.

 

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About Jason Harris

Dr Jason Harris is a writer, pastor, and academic. He has authored multiple books, articles, and papers including his book Theological Meditations on the Gospel. Jason has a PhD from James Cook University as well as degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research. Jason has lived in Cairns, Australia since 2007 and serves as pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@jasonharris.com.au.

5 Comments

  1. Belinda Ezzy 23 March, 2010 at 7:50 am - Reply

    I agree with you that there is a lot of apathy toward taking up the call amongst our young men, but I don’t see why you would discourage the young men who desire to serve God, because they are from America. Matt 28:19 commands us to go out and preach the gospel, and that also includes the weak and complacent.
    Yes, it is our responsibility to raise up young men, and disappointing to hear that at Conferences,they are being discouraged by those who should be discipling them.

  2. Jason Harris 23 March, 2010 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Belinda,

    The trend I’ve observed has been that our best Australian young men and our best leaders are heading off to the mission field. I would not presume to question God’s leading in their lives, but I do feel that this notion of “God isn’t working in Australia” is coming into the equation.

    I would not want to discourage American men from helping out in the harvest here. There is more than enough work to be done. But I would want to see them doing either one of two things: 1) Becoming one of us or 2) taking on a role of developing our leaders and mentoring our men.

    Missions was never about and never should be about developing dependency on the sending nation.

    Am I making sense?

  3. Alen 23 March, 2010 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    “One more thing. I’m not having a go at American missionaries. I thank God for those who have ministered in our field. But the fact is, this is our field. The responsibility to preach Christ here is ours. They can help, and praise God when they do. But they have no reason to stay indefinitely, and if they do, we have a responsibility to be covering their full salary”

    I never got the impression that he was discouraging them to come over.

    By the way Jason, great post!

  4. Ben Kwok 23 March, 2010 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    strong words but the principle is solid: churches should be able to sustain themselves.

  5. RoSeZ 23 March, 2010 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Maybe we could do a swap – the Americans can come here and we can go there! =P

    That was a really good post, Jay! =)

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