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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Australian Churches in Australian Soil

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

For far too long, the Australian church has been based upon foreign models of what the church should be and look like on our southern continent. Let me explain what I am seeking to get at by means of a historical reflection. During the colonial period, Christianity was often introduced into Australia like a pot plant into the wild Australian landscape; however, it remained in its foreign pot and soil without ever being replanted into the Australian soil. Such a plant can be propagated but only for a short period of time before it eventually either dies confined in the pot or its roots will outgrow the pot shattering it in the process. So the church must take root in whatever soil it is planted, ideally in its own native soil, rather than finding its nourishment from foreign sources. Churches that depend on foreign or imported models of mission and ministry are unable to fully participate in their own cultural context in a meaningful way. For far too long, the Australian church and Australian Christianity has been made in Britain or borrowed from America. The situation that the Australian church now finds itself in, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, may afford us fresh opportunities to develop genuinely Australian churches that flourish in Australian soil. Unless we want to keep on doing and being the church made in Britain or America. I think not! So let us be creative and adventurous, learning from those who have gone before us, while discovering new meaningful ways of being the community of the people of God in the midst of the world in this amazing and beautiful land in which we live. Such ventures must involve diversity of expression in our diverse society rather than a one-size- fits-all approach.

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