A church plant in Redfern, in inner Sydney, is looking to hire a full-time Christian barber.
Matt Paterson, pastor of Living Waters Community Fellowship, says his church has done a lot of praying about how to have a presence in their community throughout the week, not just on Sundays.
“We needed to get creative to find something we could contribute.” – Matt Paterson
Living Waters is an Anglican church plant with strong connections within Redfern’s Indigenous community.
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“There are a lot of community services around in Redfern, actually,” Paterson tells Eternity. “We needed to get creative to find something we could contribute.
“In some places in America, African-American communities have barber shops where men in particular really connect.
“So, we’re looking to replicate that in Redfern – a barber shop where you can get a good haircut but where the barber himself shares the love of God.”
Paterson considers the barber role as like a community chaplain. He has a vision to see the barber shop become a community touch point, working with other local not-for-profits. He would also like to offer apprenticeships for local young people.
“We actually know a young Indigenous guy who has been cutting hair as a bit of a hobby, who’d love to be an apprentice and learn the ropes in a barber shop,” Paterson says.
“We were looking for a way to create a place that men might feel comfortable to stop and chat.” – Matt Paterson
Church planting in Redfern, like anywhere else, has been challenging, says Paterson. But he has found a “real openness to the gospel”.
He says the barber shop is the church’s creative way of growing deeper roots in their community. Awkwardly, though, it turns out there aren’t that many Christian barbers, Paterson laughs.
“We’re praying for the right person. And we’re willing to wait for that.
“Some churches do soup kitchens or op shops or coffee shops. We were looking for a way to create a place that men might feel comfortable to stop and chat.
“So we need a barber with a strong Christian faith who would like to help us reach out into the community here in Redfern.”