The gospel is only useful as a piece of communication. This communication requires metaphorical communication technology – think of your ubiquitous mobile phone. Mobile phones work all over the country because there is infrastructure all over the country to support them. Mobile towers create the ability for people in regional Australia to be linked to the service. If you lice in an area with no service it’s really frustrating. You see the service that city people enjoy and you get a bit mad that nobody loves you.
We should be thinking of churches like broadcast towers. We want to be a country that has full ministry coverage – ministry available in every area. It’s right to have strong signals and good infrastructure where there are more people – like in Sydney – but the reason people previously griped about many telcos is that their rural and regional service is so poor.
This metaphor also highlights the problem with the “for the rest of the country to be strong we need to keep Sydney strong” line. It’s a given that we want to keep Sydney strong. What these people are suggesting is that in order to keep Sydney strong we need to overinvest in infrastructure in Sydney. It’s a build it and they will come mentality. Building heaps of communications towers in one place doesn’t improve the signal in regional Australia – it improves the signal locally – and regional Australia packs up and moves to the city. Especially when one of the prevailing messages people who attend evangelical conferences in Sydney hear is “you need to find a good church you can serve in” what do you do if you’re somewhere with no good churches? You move to Sydney.
If the government feels the need to legislate and create a company in order to service the needs of all Australians – why are we not treating the issue in the same manner?