We spent 9 years of our life in a small country town in North Queensland called ChartersTowers. These are my memories of the people and events that were a part of our life during that time.
What we are also hearing is that today is also a day of post denominationalism. That is more and more people are choosing a church because of the way that it meets their needs rather than the particular brand that it carries. Within denominations we are seeing a broader spectrum of worship styles, etc that are a reflection of the local community and not the church label.
This post denominationalism is also far more difficult to see in a rural community. In these communities family connections that may extend back generations tie many of the members of churches to their denomination. Others may come and go but these people are often very hard to shift. There is not the same range of choices that is available in city areas. Most people are Pentecostal, Conservative or Orthodox and in most country towns there is only one each of these.
In fact when living in Charters Towers in 1990 while a part of a mission team I was a member of the Baptist Church and April a member of the Church of Christ. Prior to coming to Charters Towers we were members of the Anglican Church in Emerald. It was only when I began as the Church of Christ pastor that my membership was transferred to the Church of Christ.
Once more we began to here talk of joining the Baptists. It required a lot of discussion and the forming of a new committee. (The foundation of church existence) I often found the issues that were raised nit picking and of little relevance to the Kingdom of God. I also realised that this was a necessary part of bringing people along for the journey rather than forcing a conclusion on them.
Sorting through the details was a slow tedious process. What we did discover was that there was very little that separated us. Most of the traditional differences in the denominations were no longer relevant. One of our biggest hurdles was getting any sort of real interest from our governing bodies. It seemed there were always more pressing issues that had to be dealt with.
We decided that beginning in the new year we would trial an amalgamation of the two churches. Services would be alternated between our two buildings. My support changed again. During the year the Baptists agreed to support me as the full time minister. The cost of my wages was shared between the two churches. This meant a reshuffling of my schedule. What really happened was that I kept most of the things I previously was doing and added the full time load of ministry on top of that.