Almost a decade ago, a group of long-term mission volunteers from Augusta Turner Family Festival were keen to engage more unreached Australians with the Good News of Jesus. As they pondered this, they were led to a caravan park just up the road in Augusta – the Flinders Bay Caravan Park. Once it was chosen as a potential mission place, a small group of people camped there one summer and got a feel for the caravan park.
They learnt that it had a very different feel to Turner’s Caravan Park and that the bulk of those camping there were ‘unreached’ families. As the group got a sense of the rhythms and people camping each January, they asked questions about how to connect with these holiday-makers and to share the Good News of Jesus with them.
They worked hard to learn from their years of summer mission experiences, but not be dictated to by them. The group decided to camp on different sites around the caravan park, rather than all together as is usual on Summer Missions. This gave them more natural connections with a broader range of people.
The new missioners were very conscious of being like the rest of the campers – not to ‘stand out’, except as followers of Jesus. They eat together as a team once a day but at other meals they eat at their separate campsites to enable more opportunity to connect with other campers over BBQs and to invite neighbouring campers for a meal. They run community activities like a movie night, a sandcastle competition and a bushdance and they look for opportunities to connect with people through activities like fishing, boating and sport.
Over time the team has explored what it looks like to proclaim the gospel as well as embody it. They’ve had powerful times sharing elements of the
Good News and testimonies of their lives being changed by Jesus at community events. This has often prompted further conversations with campers.
This style of mission requires each team member to be well equipped to share the Good News of Jesus in more informal and relational ways. We also ask the hard questions: Is what we are doing the best way to proclaim the gospel? This process enables us to embody the Gospel in the context of the Flinders Bay Caravan Park and is impacted by the gifts, personalities and experiences of new team members.
Following the example of Jesus, we go into the midst of people and become one of them (John 1:14) – we become all things to all people that some might come to know the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:22).
P.S. Are you inspired by this story of exploration and contextual gospel-sharing? That’s the SU way. We would love to journey with you to start a holiday mission or a mission in your local area. We already have a Kalbarri Mission coming soon! Talk with our Community Mission Coordinator today.