Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Mike Frost story from his book- Exiles

This morning some of us had breakfast together at Central, and reflected together on both Spring Harvest 2013 which a group from church went to; I have blogged about it before here ,and also the Christian Associates conference which I wrote about here.

As part of our reflection I read this story from Mike Frost's excellent book Exiles see here

" I remember meeting Shaun Tunstall, from the city of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, who, in his mid twenties and living with dyslexia and ADD, finally decided he would stop attending church. He couldn't sit still during church services, and he wasn't wired to take in information from half-hour sermons. He wasn't getting anything out of the meetings, even though he had been attending church weekly since he was born.

Now, flushed with frustration and early adult rebellious energy, he decided to stop going to church. Instead, Shaun decided that he would take his power-boat out on Brisbane's Pine River and go water skiing on Sunday mornings. He gathered a group of friends, some Christian, some not, and headed off to the river for a relaxing day of water skiing. But after reversing the trailer down the boat ramp and edging the craft into the water, he became wracked by guilt. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and every week of his life he had been in church. Now here he was about to go water skiing. He expected one of God's vengeful lightning bolts to burst from the clear blue sky and sink his boat at any minute. So, in an attempt to salve his conscience, he grabbed a pocket Bible from his car and announced to his friends that he would like to mark the day by reading a short passage of Scripture. You can imagine his friends' surprise. After reading the shortest psalm he could find, he reflected briefly about the beauty of God's grace and then asked the guys if there was anything they'd like him to pray about. Stunned by these proceedings, his friends, especially the non-Christian ones, eventually offered up needs they had that Shaun could pray about. Then they went water skiing all day.

Next week, twice as many people turned up. Shaun read a brief passage, shared a few thoughts about it, and asked for prayer points. He did this for weeks. The numbers kept increasing, and soon he had a community of over fifty people who would meet by the river, share a short devotion, pray together, and enjoy God's creation. Soon, people started becoming Christians. After a while, they started breaking for lunch at some picnic tables by the Pine River, where they would break bread and drink wine and remember Jesus' sacrificial love. 

They shared a meal together and took up a collection each week and gave the money to the poor.

They took it upon themselves to become the "chaplains" to the general river community. Now they are known as the people who tow broken-down boats back to the boat ramp. They provide free parts and repairs for other boats that have given up the ghost. They eat together, they serve the poor, they share Jesus with others, they celebrate the Lord's Supper, they serve their general community. 

And all along, Shaun's parents and church friends are hoping that he'll come to his senses and start attending church again."

I really love this story.It is one of my favourites about accidental church planting, but it also has a great deal to teach us about what church is, and the importance of being culturally relevant to the people we are trying to serve,love  and reach and share Jesus withReading the story certainly encouraged a lively and helpful discussion about what church really is and what it means to be church


  1. This is a brilliant story! I am (still- though past retirement age) a tutor at a Dyslexia Centre and also many of our children and young people have ADD - or ADHD- with added hyperactivity! What a woneul testimony to God's Grace and provision! Also the original ways of Church Planting reminds me of our Church's involvement with "Fresh Expressions of Church"- a C of E initiative. Out of that came a club for children and parents, in a local school, which offered lots of activities and an optional informal talk with choruses.This brough many young families into our church, and the February holiday club this year was inspirational. The way the youngsters sang "Above All" was incredibly moving- and they preferred that to the more lively choruses!
    Incidentally- I can relate so much to finding God's presence in the woods and fields and especially by water. We are blessed here with an oasis of unspoilt countryside despite being so near towns. I often find I can pray better in the countryside!
    Thank you for sharing this story, it's great!

    1. Thank you Pauline for sharing that

    2. Thank you Pauline for sharing that