EFAC Australia

Spring 2020


You might not have come across the term 'multi-level marketing', but you have certainly had it inflicted on you. The term specifically refers to business structures where the seller is compensated not just for the sales they make, but the sales that your contacts make too - the 'downstream effects'. This will be familiar to most people through networks like Amway or Tupperware, where people involved try to both sell their products to friends and convince them to become sellers, too. Multi-level marketing has been challenged, both morally and legally, for the way in which may sometimes be used to exploit small operators to generate profit. My own concern however, and the focus of this article, is not so much the 'multi-level' aspect as the 'marketing' strategies employed, particularly the implicit concept of using existing social networks to drive sales.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you heard any of these lines recently?

"This is certainly part of the core mission of the church." A comment to this effect came at the conclusion to a presentation on climate change at General Synod, and it certainly stimulated conversation. Just what do we consider to be the 'core mission of the church', and how does it relate to evangelism? Are evangelism and mission essentially the same? Should not our core focus be in saving souls?

This is more than a matter of semantics. With the attention given to 'mission-shaped' ministry and rediscovery of what it means to 'be church', notions of mission can mean very different things to different people. However, it may be that we are framing our questions the wrong way round. Does the church have a mission in its own right, and is it in any position to decide what such a mission is?

  • Governance models of leadership must give priority to evangelism.

    Evangelism must have a seat at the table at every Vestry meeting. Too often the governance models of leadership in Anglican parishes drawn from secular sources (not necessarily a bad thing) but tend to neglect biblical priorities and diocesan regulations, which identify evangelism as an important priority for vestries .
  • Promote staff appointments for a Pastor of Evangelism.

More full-time or part-time, paid or voluntary, appointments need to be made of Pastors for Evangelism. New and broader portfolios for holistic evangelism need to be developed to secure ongoing and long term commitment to parish evangelism.

What is your church doing this Christmas?

Upon reflection after Christmas last year, Holy Trinity Adelaide realised that they had in fact run a major mission over the season. Apart from school visits, heritage tours and the Christmas services, three events in particular helped them to reach out to not-yet Christians. Over 3,000 people were reached. This is their story by Craig Broman:

“I haven’t mentioned my faith, I just don’t think I have a good enough relationship yet?”. Maybe you have heard this statement or said it yourself. When is enough relationship enough to share your faith? Navigating complex relationships cannot be reduced to a three point, step by step plan. Believers need to make their own sound judgments as to how to gauge the point in the relationship that gospel conversation is appropriate. However, when it does come to that appropriate time to share their faith, do members of our churches know what to do?

Relationship is important in personal evangelism, especially to Generation X (born in the 60’s-80’s). Generational consultant, Graham Codrington in his book Mind The Gap reflects on this pragmatic generation born into a divorce boom. He states: “Many an Xer spent every second weekend at their other parents home and saw a profusion of different family relationships such as ‘dad’s girlfriend’ and ‘mums ex-husband’. No wonder Xers are skeptical about relationships, yet feel a need to fill the void with something else. This has turned out to be surrogate families made up of friends and peers who are chosen for their closeness, loyalty and dependable relationships.”

Over the past five years, there has been an increase of more than 15 percent in the number of overseas students from mainland China entering Australia. In 2005 there were 81,184 students and if we add on the number of students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South East Asia, the number increases above 130,000.

These students are to be found in our universities, high schools, language schools and other institutions.

In my experience, reaching out to overseas students from China is much easier than reaching out to regular Aussie adults. There is also the strategic importance of reaching out to them.
  1. Those who eventually return to China after their studies here, become influential people who can reach out to their families and friends.
  2. Those who return to China over their school holidays, would be good channels for short term mission trips.
  3. Those who do not return to China after completion of their studies, would be able to reach out to immigrants (increasing by more than 10 percent annually), as well become assets to local Chinese churches.