Population: 23.4 million (2014)
Major religion: none
Official language: English
IFES movement: Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (AFES)
Australia enjoys enormous freedom, peace and prosperity. However a rampant secularism feeds a destructive individualism in Australian society. Although Christians currently enjoy religious freedom they find it hard to live distinctively. Yet when they do stand out as different, there is rising secular opposition.
- 39 Universities with 197 campuses; 49 affiliated groups
- 128 senior staff, 55 apprentice staff, 39 associate staff
- graduates ministry called Simeon Network
- no high schools ministry
- largest student group in University of New South Wales (1400 students), smallest at University of Tasmania, Launceston (10 - 20 students)
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.
The AFES Vision is ‘Proclaiming Jesus at University to present everyone mature in him’. Their mission is to promote Christ in Australian universities by building evangelical student groups that: reach out to students by proclaiming Jesus as Lord, encourage growth toward maturity in Christ, train students in the skills and character to serve Jesus and his people and send graduates throughout Australia and the world to serve 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.’
Please pray for thousands of students:
- to be saved and matured in Christ;
- to resist the lures of individualism and materialism;
- to hunger and thirst for righteousness;
- to take the gospel to the world.