Home > Features > Embracing a Mission-Driven Approach – Kath Ruhle, Families Pastor at The Gap Uniting Church

Embracing a Mission-Driven Approach – Kath Ruhle, Families Pastor at The Gap Uniting Church

By Andrew McKaysmith, Synod Writer and Content Creator.

Kath Ruhle, the Families Pastor at The Gap Uniting Church in the Moreton Rivers Presbytery, spearheads efforts to integrate faith into the church’s community work. With a keen eye for the challenges facing her congregation, Pastor Kath has been exploring innovative solutions to promote inclusivity and connection.

Pastor Kath acknowledges that blending faith with community work can present particular challenges but asserts that it is a fundamental responsibility of the church to do so. According to her, the values and principles espoused by faith can be a source of strength and motivation for individuals engaged in community service. “We have to be still and listen to where God is calling us and be open to different ways of doing mission work,” she said.

The church’s commitment to fostering a strong sense of caring for the community and congregation is demonstrated through the various initiatives it has established, including the popular ‘Who is Our Neighbour’ series. The program is designed to educate participants about the significance of building a cohesive environment by encouraging teamwork and collaboration. “People of different ages from the church and local community came together to build a large neighbourhood made entirely from cardboard boxes,” Pastor Kath said. 

The “Who is Our Neighbour” series was a team effort that involved everyone’s skills and ideas and is an example of how this church is dedicated to enhancing the lives of its members and strengthening the bonds between them. “It’s been amazing to see how everyone comes together to create something representing who we are,” Pastor Kath said. Another program that The Gap UC is proud of is The Justice Games, which encourages participants to examine their wealth compared to others. Participants have a live auction for basic life needs and then have time to chat in family and small groups. People of all ages from the church and community attended the program, and Pastor Kath said that many expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to think about and make action plans around this topic.

Providing practical solutions for community participation while maintaining a religious mission requires a delicate balance. When finding the right approach, the church must also consider the diverse needs and beliefs of its members and the community. “We want to serve our local area, but we also want to share our faith. Finding the right balance can take time and work,” Pastor Kath said.

Despite the challenges, the church remains committed to promoting teamwork and caring for one’s neighbour. According to Pastor Kath, a mission-driven approach should recognise the many ways to do mission work and celebrate them. “The Holy Spirit inspires us to choose the best way to go about our mission. We are excited about the possibilities.”

Read the companion article featuring Reverend Rod Fisher from The Gap Uniting Church here

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