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Jesus Loves Australia 2020




Qudos Bank Arena

Olympic Park - Sydney


JAN 16-18


For Australia to come back to Jesus (3)...

On my journey of creating a space for the Body of Christ to unite, reach our cities and transform our nation, there are a few questions that often pop up.  Let’s look at these.
If you have not read the two previous articles called For Australia to come back to Jesus (1) & (2) you can view them here

Is God still using large scale gospel events today?

Because it has been so long since any significant Christian event has happened in Australia (on that scale), one thing that is often blamed is the change in culture.  I have heard some say that people don’t go to massive events anymore.  However, the stadiums are still filled with people every year who flock there for sporting events and rock concerts.  Australians still like large events. 
In country areas around Australia, the local minister's fraternals sometimes still host gospel events for their town or region.  If you look at the handful of towns who have done that with various evangelists, you will note that in the census period when they held the gospel event, the average attrition rate of Christianity over that census period was around a quarter the national figure (in the last 15 years).  
If you look at other towns who have done a major Christian event annually (which engaged over 10% of the city in attendance), then you would see the attrition rate on average, half that of the national figure during those years the events were conducted.  These events weren’t gospel campaigns but were normally centered around Christmas or Easter, which I would call soft-evangelism.  This type of event serves more of a reminder to the community that there is a church in the city, and they work together.  These events typically grew in size because they were annual and they gained momentum and impact over many years.

We know Australians still like large events and gospel events still transform towns where they are held.  The question is why aren’t we seeing this in the major cities today?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever

Why do only some gospel events see city transformation?

Every weekend somewhere around the world, major cities hold gospel events.  Some are more powerful than others and they all see varying levels of real impact.  Everyone that comes to faith is so precious because every person means so much, so I am not undermining any efforts to get the gospel out to anyone.

However, another trend can be noted amongst all these events that can perhaps best be illustrated through the three visits Billy Graham made to Australia in 1959, 1968 and 1979.  The 1959 campaign has been said to be the most effective of the three, by a long shot.

In 1959, around two-thirds of Sydney was doorknocked with a pre-event survey and invitation.  That is around 400k homes.  The amount of commitment it takes by local churches and believers to prepare and organize an effort that momentous says a lot about how serious they were to reach the city with the gospel. 
In 1959, the campaign lasted 5 weeks, whereas the others lasted 9 days and 3 weeks respectively.  Most campaigns held around the world today are 1-3 days and the longest is 5-7 days.
The level of unity, dedication, and preparation to see true city transformation is momentous.  I reached this conclusion by reading and listening to the stories of those who attended, as I was not actually alive or at any of these events (I was born in 1976).  Any event that wants to see the city significantly impacted will require serious dedication from a majority of local churches and believers, working together.


How can we see city transformation not just start, but continue and grow?

One other query that often arises, is about the long-term impact of the campaigns of 1902 and 1959.  Perhaps this can best be answered with a story.

In 2009, we started to reach out annually to Gold Coast Schoolies with the gospel of Jesus.  Each year we saw about 80 people make a commitment to follow Jesus.  In 2014, the Lord had me go serve some other evangelism teams.  At the end of the year, I extended an invitation to my new friends to come help reach the school-leavers.  Four different groups worked together to reach those school leavers and we saw 880 decisions for Jesus.  This movement became known as “Schoolies for Jesus”.  I believe that the rapid acceleration of the fruitfulness of the endeavor was due to the unity of the teams and the dedication of those involved.  In 2015, I moved to North India as a missionary, but in 2016 (I had to come back) there were 1250 decisions and finally 1500 decisions in 2017 (the last year i was involved).

Even though each of the post-2014 campaigns was successful in themselves, the real impact was from the movement which gained momentum each year because more and more Christian went out to father and mother that lost generation. 

I believe the reason that the gospel didn’t continue to impact Sydney and Melbourne after 1902 and 1959 is because we stopped preaching it.  A decade between events was not short enough to continue to gain momentum.

In conclusion….

In order to see rapid city transformation in capital cities happen today, the gospel campaign orchestrated would require the following attributes;
  • A serious effort driven by dedicated church leaders.  It would need to involve most of the believers in the city.  Not just an event where everyone comes together for a few days (that’s a great start) but rather one whereby everyone works together to reach the city, and this is driven and steered by the local church leaders, not the guest mission organization. 
  • One that takes years of planning and preparation and is executed over months or weeks (not days).
  • It would need to be a momentum gaining exercise that is repeated annually or biannually and continues to grow until the attrition rate of Christianity is reversed.



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