'Backyard Missionary' Andrew Hamilton
drops by amid the sheer adventure of pioneering...
welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of
your feet. Let's chat.
thanks for the invite
who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
- Hamo to my friends - I was born in Belfast and lived there for 10 years
- long enough to remember what it was like. In 1974 we came to Oz and
I have lived in Perth ever since - mostly by the beach. I am married 12
years and have 2 little ones - Ellie nearly 3 and Sam nearly 1.
a very strong calling to be a missionary so that’s what I do. I am involved
in a new
missional community in a developing
Perth suburb, I am the WA director of the Forge
Mission Training Network, I oversee church planting for the Baptist
churches in WA and next year I will be teaching Phys Ed 2 days a week
to upper primary school children. Crikey! As I write it sounds like a
hell of a lot…
I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
Ah coffee… double shot latte would be nice.
you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
My biggest vice! Anything sweet and rich that has the words cheese, chocolate
or cake in it will do fine.
if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently
involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
One day as I was writing I accidentally stumbled on the term ‘backyard
missionaries’ to describe us - it’s pretty much on the money. We would
all agree that we are involved in a radical re-think of what it means
to do mission and be church here in Oz. Ooops 2 sentences…
you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of
how you got involved?
Instigator - I sensed God calling me to this mission and then I sensed
he wanted me to ask 4 other families from our home
church. It sounds kind of wild, but they all said ‘yes’, sold their
houses and moved 60km away to build in a totally new and unfamiliar suburb.
We are still waiting for the final family to arrive - its been an 18 month
journey so far!
do you value most about being part of it?
The sheer adventure of pioneering - the adrenalin of not knowing what
comes next - the challenge of re-imagining this thing we call church -
regularly mixing it up with pagans - the freedom to dream… I could keep
going!... I love it.
excites you most about it?
The fact that we are all ordinary people, stepping out on the edge. We
might discover something grand and wonderful - we might fail dismally
but we are all committed to ‘having a go’. I find the shared adventure
anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
What did they say?
Not yet, we have only been together in the area for a month or so and
we don’t have any public meetings. But other people have inquired about
the new ‘Baptist’ church that is starting. Some we have spoken to get
what we are on about and it will be great to have them join us, others
are quietly curious and I sense other probably think us a little crazy.
words that describe your attitude to 'being church' in the big wide world:
Missionaries - subversive - imaginative
words that DON'T:
Conservative - religious - rigid
have this weird dream - you meet Jesus face to face.
Where does it happen, what does he say to you?
Probably somewhere very unexpected - doing the dishes - at the shops -
in the toilet - somewhere very ‘normal’ is where he seems to show up most
often. With a big grin on his face he says ‘are you having fun yet Hamo?!’
I think he has always allowed me to do things that bring me great joy.
He’s that kind of bloke.
the big secret you're itching to share with everyone?
I don’t think I have too many big secrets - can’t even think of one that
would be worth mentioning…
would your 'emerging church survival kit' contain?
A few good friends, my trusty recovered Bible, decent red wine, great
food, comfortable couches, a sense of humour, a double shot of courage
else you'd like to share with us before you have to rush off?
The good news is I don’t rush anywhere near as much as I used to! If you’d
like to keep in touch with the backyard missionaries journey you can read
Occasionally I write some stuff worth reading - other times its rubbish…
Good to see you. Have a good day!
No worries - good to chat.