South Brisbane: Brisbane’s most Godless suburbs
Brisbane’s inner city suburbs of South Brisbane, West End and Highgate Hill are the city’s least religious, according to data from the most recent Australian census.
Charlotte Durut, a journalist from the Courier Mail, was following up this story when she came across our plans to launch a church in the middle of the least Christian pocket of our city – she interviewed South Bank’s Campus Pastor, Nathan Campbell, and the story appeared in today’s Sunday Mail.
While the story also focuses on those places in Brisbane where a high percentage of people tick a box for a religious belief – the story also tells people where to find this new church – at the Queensland Theatre Company (Montague Road, South Brisbane). As for why we’re starting a church in such a difficult spot – It’s all about wanting to reach our city, and reach the world, with the good news about Jesus. Because Jesus is for everybody.
Here is the interview Nathan gave to Charlotte.
1. When exactly did your South Bank church open/begin? What is its address and how many services do you hold every weekend?
We are launching on the first Sunday in February. We’re meeting at 10:30am and 5pm every Sunday at the Queensland Theatre Company. We chose QTC as a venue because we believe the story of Jesus is a great story that our city needs to hear – and QTC is a place where stories are heard.
We want to take the story of Jesus to the heart of our city because we love our city. We think the story of God becoming human and dying and coming back from the dead to rescue humanity from and what it means to be truly human in the light of that is a story Brisbane still needs to hear. We live our lives through stories, and this is a story that changes lives.
2. I’m guessing Creek Road already knew this would be a challenging area to open a church due to the low population of believers in this area. Would this be a correct assumption? And what your thoughts in leading a new church in this area?
There aren’t any areas in Brisbane that aren’t challenging to open churches – but we need more churches. The stats show Christianity is on the decline in Australia, but the census stats don’t tell the whole story – there are lots of people who are still culturally Christian, who enjoy some of the fruits of Christianity’s influence on Western culture – but going to church isn’t high on the priority list for busy people who already feel like they live in paradise.
One of the great things about having a church in South Bank is that people can be refreshed by hearing about God’s love for us that he showed us in Jesus, and then they can enjoy Brisbane’s fantastic culture – our best restaurants, cafes, art, and a swim or a walk along the river.
We believe People need to hear about Jesus, and enjoy the great stuff God made, and that people have made while appreciating the world we live in.
The inner city is filled with people who are busy, educated, and compassionate – and who have the best Brisbane has to offer right on their doorstep. It’s a challenge to show people who already have so much that they need Jesus, but they do. When you meet the God who made and inspired everything we see around us it gives a new perspective on the world.
I’m excited about people who live in the inner city having another chance to hear about Jesus at their doorstep. We want to be a church that is part of the culture – creating and telling stories – not a church that is disconnected from the culture. We need more churches doing church in new ways so that people who have disconnected from the church because it doesn’t seem relevant can hear the story of Jesus, which is still relevant and exciting.
We haven’t kicked off yet, but we had two trial runs last year that were exciting and we love QTC as a venue, the staff there have been so accommodating and welcoming to us because of our common love for telling excellent stories in excellent and culturally engaged ways.
4. I know the church is very new but how many people are in your congregation? Who makes up most of the congregation ie Gen Ys, young families, couples, seniors, etc? Are they largely new or current believers or returning to the church after a period away from it?
We’ll be starting with two services and we expect around 50-100 people to start with us – but we’d love to see people who have switched off from church giving it another go. We’re all about Jesus – even if Christianity is on the nose – people still respect Jesus. As much as possible we’ve tried to get rid of stuff that churches do when they’re slaves to odd traditions, we want to be a vibrant and inclusive community that welcomes anyone who wants to meet Jesus. We’re starting up with a group of people from all walks of life, refugees, professionals, artists, musicians, students, hipsters, and families. Everyone is welcome because Jesus is for everyone. We’re not just looking at the inner city – anyone who commutes to the CBD or converges on South Bank on the weekend can find us, and hopefully be surprised that church isn’t boring and disconnected from the outside world. It’s one hour. We aren’t in the business of wasting time. And the bar is open after we meet so we can share our lives with each other. Nothing brings people together like being united as a follower of Jesus – who loved people so much he died for them. We want that sort of love to define our community, and our contribution to our culture. We hope that inspires people to reconnect with Jesus.
We would love to see the heart of our city beating for Jesus. We would love people to overcome the obstacle of bad experiences of church and the stench surrounding terrible things people have done while claiming to follow Jesus, to check us out and hear the story that has brought hope to people for a long time. We want people to meet Jesus, and reconnect with the Christian story, because Jesus changes lives for the better.
If you’re the praying type – thank God for this opportunity to share about what we hope he will be doing in South Bank, changing hearts and changing the heart of our city. Thank God for Charlotte, the journalist, who is a Christian and was excited to tell this story.
If you are interested in coming along to Creek Road South Bank – services are at 10:30am and 5:00pm at the Queensland Theatre Company – there are four other services at our Carina Campus, and one each week at our Springfield Campus.
For any further media enquiries – contact Nathan on 0407 174 734.