You’d have to be living under a rock in Brisbane’s inner-city, Bible believing, coffee sipping, social media savvy, hipster church scene to not know that Melbourne’s trendy inner-city, Bible believing, coffee sipping, social media savvy, hipster church, City On A Hill is planting a church in Brisbane’s CBD next year.
I’m writing this article sitting in Brisbane’s best warehouse coffee roastery-come-cafe (The Wooloongabba Social Club). I write as a someone already planting a church in Brisbane’s CBD which at least partially caters for this scene, because it’s the scene I personally (begrudgingly) belong to. I write as someone who, somewhat nervously, can’t wait for City On A Hill to land here. Not because the gospel will suddenly arrive in a godless city. Not because there’ll suddenly be a church in Brisbane’s inner-city you can send your friends to when they move to Queensland (though that’s the impression you might get on social media when people ask about churches in Brisbane, it seems people down south can’t wait to recommend City On A Hill before it even arrives).
I can’t wait for City On A Hill to arrive because Brisbane needs more churches that are on about Jesus, and, for all City On A Hill’s street cred within this particular scene – they’re on about Jesus. I’m keen as mustard for Dave Miers and City On A Hill to land in Brisbane next year to join us, and others, in being on about Jesus in our city.
I’ve been an inner-city church planter in Brisbane for 18 months now. The church I pastor is a campus of Creek Road Presbyterian Church. Creek Road is a church that has been part of the Brisbane ecosystem for many years. We’re not the only church trying to reach Brisbane with the good news of Jesus. There are many churches in our city doing this, from many traditions. Brisbane is already bigger than all these churches could possibly manage to reach, and it’s growing. Fast. We’ll be a city of 3 million people in 2020. The Queensland Government is constantly trying to upgrade our infrastructure to meet the pace of this growth, and the truth is our existing church infrastructure also needs an upgrade in order to reach this growing and changing environment.
It’d be easy, as a church planter, to be inward looking and bemoan the “competition” for an existing pool of Christian bums on seats, but I want to welcome City On A Hill, and I want to support and celebrate the work God is already doing through churches in Brisbane, including the ones that have been around for many years, and the more recent plants that are at various stages. Plants like Village Church in Kelvin Grove, Sojourn in Annerley, Providence in Sunnybank, Christ Community West in Toowong, and End Church in West End. It’d be easy to forget these churches amidst the hype. There are plenty of seats to fill with new bums, but there are many more bums in Brisbane than there are seats. This is why I get excited when other churches in Brisbane talk about planting more churches to reach our city. It’s why we need City On A Hill.
City On A Hill will change the church ecosystem in Brisbane. It’ll make life uncomfortable for existing churches. Any new animal introduced to an ecosystem causes disruption. I learned that in grade nine science. City On A Hill is a new animal. But if we want our city disrupted by the Gospel of Jesus, we need to keep welcoming new animals into the ecosystem. We want the ecosystem we live in to change – that’s why we’re part of God’s church.