Over one weekend in March, Fantastic Aussie Tours Charter lost 96 per cent of its business. Owner Jason Cronshaw was terrified, not just for the business itself, but for all the employees he knew he’d have to lay off as international travel, then domestic, ground to a halt.
His business had already been suffering, following the bushfire season, which had forced their Blue Mountains Explorer bus fleet to stop running for the first time in 30 years. But though that coincided with the busy Christmas period, they took comfort in knowing their other work, including Christian Fellowship Tours, could continue, unaware that that too would soon be ended for the foreseeable future.
Six months later, the business is exploring innovative new ways to restart their operations. But Cronshaw told 20Twenty’s Neil Johnson that the time he’s had to reflect has taught him a lot about what’s really important.
“We were running a reasonable sized business,” he said. “I was flying around all the time, travelling a lot, enjoying life. But then I was chasing things that really weren’t as important to me personally, and then also that was taking me away from my family, taking me away from Church more often.”
Jason admitted catching flights could become habitual, even kind of addictive. In a conversation with another businessperson recently, they both admitted they’d flown purely to retain their Platinum flight status.
But as he realised everything he’d worked for was disappearing, Cronshaw prayed for wisdom, asking God what to do next. God answered that he also needed to think about what not to do. And with time to reflect, he saw that though God had always been in his mind, He hadn’t always been at the centre of his decisions.
He realised what had been side-tracking him was the status he’d used to define his achievements. So what I did was really put God in my number one box, and forgot about chasing more buses, more depots, more money, more tours.
Though they had no shifts for casual staff, Job Keeper has allowed the business to retain their full-time workers, and now they’re developing innovative new ways to operate. For example, they’re looking to continue their 45-year history of running excursions through VR excursions right from the classroom.
Usually Christian schools might run mission trips to other countries, but now Jason is working with some of them on how they could facilitate mission work in the bush. “It was really comforting to know that as part of God’s plan, there’s other ways that we can serve him, and serve with other Christian organisations. And that has definitely come from praying and reading the Bible.”
Instead of trying to drive the bus, Jason decided to let God be the driver, and sit in the back with everyone else. Over months, as he learned to do that, the stress and fear faded, and he stopped worrying about how the business would look at the end of the crisis. “Whether that is a decline or an incline,” he said, “that really doesn’t matter. The comfort is knowing that God looks after all of us, and he’s looking after me.”
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