Seth Bouchelle from Australia #2

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

For the last few weeks we have been helping to run a few Christian Camps. The first of these was Camp Orion, the objective of which is to reach out to and build relationships with unchurched youth from the Brisbane area. Orion was smaller this year than in past sessions, however the small size proved advantageous as it allowed us to really engage with the campers in a more personal setting. Our second camp, Camp Connect, was more focused on networking and encouraging youth from the churches around Australia. While Orion was primarily active team building activities and nightly opportunities to discuss life and faith outside of a “churchy” atmosphere, Connect consisted mainly of lectures and worship sessions, leaving little time for much personal interaction. Between camps we have spent the majority of our time with our friends from Camp Orion. Most days, after breakfast of course, consist of picking up one or more of our new friends and spending the day either at a local shopping center or in the homes of one of the church members. All of the nationals have proved to be incredibly hospitable: be it allowing us to sleep or eat in their homes, or utilize their space for activities with the local youth. Most afternoons and evenings are spent either with our host family, some of the older university students, or the lipscomb mission team whom we coordinated with to run camps.

The church here has given my partners and I many opportunities to speak publicly. Also, I was able to speak yesterday at Redland’s College as part of their Spiritual Emphasis Day. Our experiences with the church here have been educational, to say the least. Australia is a very laid back culture, but at the same time very reserved. There seem to be many people who would regard themselves as “seekers” and who wish to know Truth, but they are highly suspicious of Christendom. This, combined with the relatively small size of most congregations, results in an evangelism which is highly relational with a lesser emphasis on the programmatic. Most churches are not large enough to facilitate the enormous programs that would draw in a crowd, nor would they have the facilities to manage mass-visitation. They generally seem to focus on building relationships with those people they interact with on a daily basis, seeking to model the love of Christ in the hopes that their example might be seen and move a few to ask why they have the hope that they do.