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EFAC Australia

Evangelism

"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?

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 could hardly believe my eyes. Ten years before, I'd spent two hours debating with John1 the Good news of Jesus' death and rising to life, but he left my home still unwilling to accept it for himself.

Prior to that I'd invested two and a half years of intentional relationship building, invited and occasionally got him to attend a variety of men's outreach events, poured out heaps of prayer and spent regular periods providing encouragement to his Christian wife, Carol. All this effort apparently to no avail. Yet here I was, preaching in a different suburb and towards the back were John and Carol both sitting and listening intently!

After the service we caught up and I discovered John was now a Christian and attended church with his wife and children twice each weekend. One part of me (the sinful) wanted to say – "It's not fair, all my efforts and someone else reaps the rewards!" However, the other part of me (the Christian) was rejoicing at the wonder of God's grace.

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.

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