The Great Commandment
Sharing the Gospel wherever we are
A familiar face with Riverlife Baptist Church’s Youth and Young Adult community, Nathan Holland recently shared his experience as a missionary with Youth for Christ (YFC) Australia. Whilst we often highlight overseas missionaries, and rightfully so, Nathan reminds us that there is just as great a need and opportunity to be sharing the Gospel within our home nation.
Words: Tatum Lawn Read: 5 - 10 mins Published: 19 July 2022
Joined by four other young Christians as part of a ‘Mobile Mission Team’, last year Nathan travelled around Australia for 10 months in a caravan, sharing the Gospel with the youth of Australia. YFC’s vision is “that every young person in Australia be given an opportunity to be a follower of Jesus Christ”.
With a history dating back to the mid 1940s, and with Billy Graham as the first full-time YFC worker, the organisation is now present worldwide in more than 110 nations. YFC International, of which YFC Australia is a part of, is an inter-denominational, non-profit, youth evangelical movement. They have a common mission to share the love of Jesus with young people through peer-to-peer evangelism and discipleship. Aware of the magnitude of their vision, YFC Australia recognise that they cannot do this alone, and operate in partnership with youth organisations and churches around Australia.
Whilst currently based in regional Victoria, Nathan’s work often finds him on the move. His organised ministry time has recently been split between “Mighty Men” ministries, connecting with churches and regional communities, and local outreach in Bendigo.
Even so, his mission extends beyond organised trips, with him weaving his ministry into day-to-day life, where it would not be uncommon for him to be found in intentional group outreach during the week.
Nathan highlights the need for labourers of the Gospel in Australia.
“I would love the church to be praying for these remote places in Australia, where life is so drastically different, and there is real need for the Gospel. So please pray to the Lord of the harvest for more workers!” Nathan said.
“After waiting for the opportunity to partner with locals for most of the year, we have recently been invited back to The Pilbara WA as soon as August! Please be praying for us as we seek to continue to abound in the work of the Lord we saw so clearly last year,” he said.
With no day the same, Nathan also works part time and is passionate about his music side hustle, which he hopes will evolve into passive income for future missions.
“The only consistency at the moment has been the Lord, and turning the heater on in the morning, which I’m still getting used to!” he said.
“One practice that we did in 2021, that has been such an anchor this year, has been worship. Every Monday morning we gather as a YFC team, and start the week in prayer and worship!”
Whilst filled with excitement and purpose, missional travel has not been without challenges.
“It has felt really hard for the first half of this year, but I am just wanting to continue trusting Him, that He is the transformation in people’s lives, which is simultaneously relieving and challenging to trust! A personal challenge for me recently has been adjusting from being on the road all of 2021, to being plugged into a community and doing work out of a ‘mission hub’. I do miss everyone back in Brisbane, but labouring in Bendigo for disciple making is such a joy,” he said.
Nathan’s work with YFC has changed his perception of Christian living and his heart for those who don’t know Jesus is evident.
“I spent the first five or so years of my adult life wrestling if I was jumping into Christian work too early. One doubt was that I was forsaking long term investing with a short term plan. But the reality is that our lives are short, and more so than that, as a Christian, our lives are not our own,” Nathan said.
“I sometimes walk with so many doubts in my head on whether what I am doing is right, but to live as a Christian is to live surrendered, even surrendering our own understanding sometimes, to the voice of the Good Shepherd, who leads us. Amidst all the programs, events, teachings and training, all we want to do is partner with God to see people transformed,” he said.
“Living with divine purpose and faith is the best long term investment you can make, no matter what it looks like… I am so glad I made this step, as it has changed my view of living as a Christian, [and] to stand more confidently in the fact that there’s nothing else I would rather walk in, and be formed into, than living on mission in this way with Jesus.”
Whilst we may not all be prompted to travel for an extended time to share the Gospel around our nation, or even overseas, stories like Nathan’s provide opportunity for us to reflect – As a Christian, how am I living out the commandment in Matthew 28:19, where I am currently planted? How am I displaying Christ’s love and sharing the truth of the Gospel with those near to me?
The beauty of the church is that we all operate in different roles, in different locations; some reaching close to home, with others given the opportunity to reach beyond our shores.
It won’t look the same for everyone, however we all have opportunity to share the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. And whilst the gift of the internet provides even greater reach to the nations, let us not neglect to consider those close to us, and to home.
Nathan’s testimony reminds us that we don’t have to, nor should we, do this alone. We need community and the encouragement of fellow believers to live with purpose; sharing the Gospel, growing in discipleship, loving God and loving others.