Sometimes we set out to pioneer and other times we find we’re there, out on the edges.

NationsHeart Christian Community is pioneering by its calling, “to worship God and serve the community”. Our community in Belconnen ACT, is on the edge, and being part of it takes us there. But this story is not one so much of seeking those at the edge… the outsiders, but realising that the edge is right amongst us.

“One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year.”[1] So right amongst us are people who feel on the outside, at least one in five, those for whom mental wellness can feel like an elusive dream… people who can easily feel forgotten by God.

Over time we have come to acknowledge our differing states of mental wellness. We don’t automatically respond with “OK” when someone asks how we are. And we’ve slowly learnt to walk a long and often painful walk together and not require God to make all things well in an instant.

To become effective in this area of ministry we haven’t just had to learn to embrace each other whatever our mental wellbeing; we’ve learnt to form a circle of friends around people as they need support. A loosely organised group, some with gifts and training in suicide first aid, counselling and prayer ministry; but all with little or no idea of what to do next. We have had to learn to let go of control and listen. Listen to the suffering, listen to God, listen for hope, and support each other as we do. We find God doing the miraculous as people call at just the right time to listen and speak words that would normally only come from training and experience.

As we let go (and loose ourselves from the shackles of the need to fix) we find we journey as a community of wounded healers, embracing flickers of light and life as they arrive and finding joy and relationship returning little by little.

We often say that “normal is overrated”. Life together, broken, yet supported by God’s Spirit is where we hope to be. Normal can have its place elsewhere, reality is where we choose to reside. In reality we find God.

John Simmons
Minister | NationsHeart Christian Community

 

[1] https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/factsheets/facts_figures.pdf?sfvrsn=8