Last year, with the support of BUV, I began a podcast and Facebook community to reach out to those on the fringes of church life. I was motivated by the many who love Jesus but struggle with church for various reasons. Often called wanderers or wayfarers or the dechurched.
Some of them find the structures of traditional denominations too restrictive or have been wounded by the church. Others have left and joined the swelling ranks of those who would call themselves Christian, but don’t currently attend. All of them would fall into a broad category of “Jesus I like. Organised religion, not so much”.
Reaching this disparate group of people has been challenging, but steadily rewarding as numbers respond appreciatively to either our Facebook page or the 20 or so podcasts we have released so far.
One person contacted me from inter-state saying that he was struggling with issues relating to the values being communicated in his church and he had found the podcast discussions really helpful. Similarly a woman from Queensland was in transition moving from her church and she found one of the podcast series particularly helpful as she works through her healing journey.
I liken the journey that some seem to be on as that of a lobster having grown too large for its shell. The journey of leaving the shell is a time of vulnerability and risk before a new shell can be found. A transition during which, all too many, give up on faith altogether. My vision is to provide opportunity for them to hear a voice of understanding with opportunity to contact me for support, as some do.
Pastoral care online has its limitations, but if even a few folks maintain their walk with Jesus and find fellowship with other disciples rather than drift from church, then it is fantastically worthwhile.
Rev. Julian Holdsworth