Over three decades ago, Trevor Meares founded Church of the Outback from his base in Broken Hill after seeing the desperate need for Christian fellowship in rural communities across Australia. Today, Alan and Myril Frankham continue his legacy as pastors of this unique community.
Each Sunday morning, Church of the Outback helps around 50 Christians from remote communities across Australia connect with other believers, who are eager to grow and nurture their faith – but would otherwise struggle due to their distance from a local church.
“Like any church, we gather together to meet with the Lord on Sundays, but our community does this by dialing in or logging in online,” Pastor Alan says.
“As part of SU QLD’s ongoing commitment to work with churches to bring God’s love, hope and good news to children, young people and their families, we’ve had the great pleasure of partnering with Church of the Outback by offering the use of our telephone conference calling system.
“This has been a real blessing for Church of the Outback because the connection is large enough to host all of our members simultaneously,” Pastor Alan says.
Beyond the online connection, Pastor Alan and his wife love hopping in their caravan throughout the year to visit their flock for face-to-face fellowship and to provide pastoral care.
“It can be lonely in these remote communities. So it’s important that we get out there and remind our church members that they are not alone. We are indeed one body,” Pastor Alan explains.
Albeit a unique one.
“Recently while doing Bible Study during the week, we had people dialled in across three states of Australia, plus a young man on an interstate train travelling back to his work in far western Queensland, and another couple connecting in via the internet from Vanuatu. It’s mind-boggling,” Pastor Alan says.
“Our services include welcome, worship, a Bible reading and message, communion – with everyone providing the elements in their own homes and a dedicated time for prayer.”
Church community is a connection that is so often taken for granted, but it is vital for believers to come together, regardless of how that looks. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
“We’re technically denominational under the umbrella of Churches of Christ, but we’re also not,” Pastor Alan explains, “What we are about is the gospel: that’s our focus.”
Pastor Alan uploads his weekly teachings onto the Church of the Outback website, so even if members do miss Church, they can still listen to the sermon later in the week.
With SU QLD now transitioning to internet-based conferencing, Church of the Outback is also making a similar change using both the phone and internet/video based communication.
Church of the Outback is a community of friends in rural communities who have been able to share in the fellowship of believers.
Members stand together in times of difficulty, pray for one another regularly, and show the love of Christ to their mates in their outback communities.
For SU QLD, it is a pleasure to be partnering with this amazing community.
Please pray for this beautiful ministry and for our brothers and sisters in remote communities in need of fellowship.
If you or someone you knows has a heart to serve in outback communities, SU QLD currently has a number of chaplaincy positions to fill. Find out more, visit suqld.org.au/morehands.