Australia enjoys enormous freedom, peace and prosperity but has also seen the rise of individualism and secularisation. Christians therefore enjoy religious freedom but find it hard to live distinctively because of their relative materialistic comfort. Yet when they do stand out as different, there is rising secular opposition.
AFES, a founder member movement of IFES, is large and established across Australia. Student initiative is empowered by theologically trained staff on every campus who handle the scriptures well and a growing number of students are becoming full-time ministry apprentices to serve both in their local AFES-affiliated group and as missionaries throughout the world.
Rampant secularism feeds a destructive individualism in Australia society. The movement’s prayer is that every student will learn to go beyond themselves; that they will serve as disciple-making disciples with sacrificial joy for the glory of Christ.
View from the inside:
Richard Chin is the National Director of AFES. He comments on the vital importance of student ministry: ‘Students are gathered in large numbers on campuses with time on their hands to think through the big issues of life and have unparalleled opportunities to train in Christian ministry. It is exciting to see their lives transformed by the glorious gospel and being used to serve him both here and throughout the earth.’
For Richard, 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15 is the heartbeat of AFES: ‘For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.’ He adds, ‘It is the centrality of the cross that compels us to gladly live and die for our Lord Jesus.’
- for students to resist the lures of individualism and materialism;
- for staff to continue to search for ways to empower students and provide opportunities for them to give of their time and energy sacrificially.