It’ s Wednesday morning and, once again, I find myself half a world away from my normal haunts. I’m writing from Brisbane, Australia–the beautiful, thriving capital of Queensland, a state in northeastern Australia.

I’m on my way to speak at the South Pacific School of Preaching in Tauranga, New Zealand. Nine lectures in four days! But, more about that later.

I’ve been with the Holland Park church several times in the past. (See blog entries for my trip in January: http://timwoodroof.com/2010/01/01/christianity-in-australia/.) This is a great church, one of the bright spots of congregations associated with Churches of Christ in Australia. They have a (relatively) large family (about 150), experience a warm fellowship, and are determined to find a way to honor Christ and effectively reach their culture. I really enjoy these people.

My task this trip is to visit with the leaders of the Holland Park church (they don’t have elders at the moment, relying instead on a leadership team comprised of four men) and convince them that they have a greater role to play in the lives of the people God has placed in their care and in the wider context of Australian churches. We’re going to talk about leadership, vision, and the possibility of Julie and my coming for an extended period of time next year to help encourage the Australian church in general.

I believe this is a pivital point for this church. They are in the process of defining who they will be as a congregation in coming years. They’ve already chosen to be a place where the grace of God is proclaimed and practiced. In doing so, they’ve left behind so many of the “issues-oriented” wranglings that have tended to characterize the Australian church. (They suffer from some of our theological DNA, I fear!) But, as many of us in the American church have experienced, knowing what we’re NOT is easier to decide than defining what we ARE.

The Holland Park church is highly regarded by other congregations in Australia. They are looked to as role model and pace setter. They are the prime movers behind Camp Gidawarra and, as a result, are helping shape the thinking of the church on the east coast of Australia–bringing in speakers like Monte Cox, who will be with them this coming January.

Now the question I want to ask them is: Are you ready for the next level? By setting a kingdom vision, deciding to take seriously their calling to lead this church and congregations throughout Australia, I believe the leaders of Holland Park have an opportunity to make a kingdom difference that will be felt for years in the future. The church in Australia is begging for leadership. They are finally awakening from a long slumber in legalism and issues. The Christians I’m meeting here love Christ and want to be his effective agents for making a difference in their culture.

But they don’t know how. They’re not sure what a functioning, effective church looks like. They can no longer be satisfied with keeping the status quo. But they don’t have the models ready-to-hand that can show them a better way of being the church in this place.

So pray for me as I meet with these men and suggest some alternatives for their prayer and consideration. Pray for them as they listen to God and determine whether he might have some higher calling on their leadership. And pray for the church in Australia. These are great people who have found a great cause to live for. Now if only they can find a way to break out of their buildings to turn their culture upside down!