Day 2 in Perth – the jetlagged haze has begun to lift, and we’re starting to get used to the ocean being on the other side! Today we began to examine what ministry and mission is like here in Perth. So this post is the first of four where we’ll try and give you a feel for the city of Perth, the opportunities here for gospel ministry, and how Providence, the church we are partnering with for this week, is seeking to reach the city with the good news of Jesus.
What makes Perth tick?
Economically, life in Perth is inextricably tied to the mining industry. This city lives and dies by the price of commodities. The resources boom of the last decade brought incredible wealth and growth to this city. But the recent downturn in the price of iron ore and oil has seen job losses, rising unemployment, and a widespread drop in house prices. Overall though, this is still a wealthy city, where people are easily able to live comfortable lifestyles.
Culturally, the city is vibrant, with an almost endless list of activities to take part in. From mountain biking to western swing dancing to cafe culture, Perth has something for everyone. Undoubtedly AFL is the dominant sport, with many people following their team religiously. And with the Margaret River wineries only a day trip away, culturally #PerthIsOK!
Socially, Perth is an interesting mix. Mining means a large proportion of the workforce is FIFO (fly in, fly out), so people might be on the mine site for 8 days, before returning to Perth for 6. Add in shift work hours that are common in mining, and you have a large portion of the population whose weekly schedules are anything but 9-5, Monday to Friday. All of this makes it difficult to build good friendships, connect well into a local community, and be able to consistently attend church, let alone serve or lead at church.
The church scene is also a different story. Perth doesn’t have the foundation of a long history of faithful evangelical churches that places like Sydney and Melbourne enjoy. While there are some great churches, many Christian university groups, and now also an evangelical theological college, these groups are all still building the foundations.
All this might sound like a pretty bleak picture: a city caught up in the pursuit of wealth and worldly happiness, spending its time and money on comfort and entertainment, and lacking gospel resources. But that could be any city. And focusing on these things would be to neglect that the God we serve is the one who made the universe. Nothing is too hard for him, so we should be moved to pray. Please join with us in praying for this city:
- Thank God for his faithful servants who are seeking to reach this city with the gospel, and raise up others to continue this work.
- Pray that God would shake people out of their comfortable lifestyles, and show them that true security and satisfaction is found only in him.
- Pray for wisdom for the churches here to know to reach the lost in this city
- Pray that God would raise up more workers for the harvest in Perth