Sydney tourists can see a 360-degree panorama of the city from Sydney Tower (also known as Centrepoint Tower). It’s a great way to visualise Sydney, home to four million residents.
From that perspective, you can also sense the challenge of Jesus’ great commission. How can we reach more of the city—and our nation—with the gospel?
Recently I attended a fundraising dinner for City Bible Forum. City Bible Forum’s vision is to present the gospel “to every worker in every major business district of Australia.” Based in Sydney, CBF’s ministry is gradually spreading in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne.
CBF has a strong rationale for outreach to the workplace, especially in the central business districts. People are massed there and spend most of their time at work. The workplace is a community in itself, where people also get to see Christians at close quarters. For many people, the best place to be exposed to the gospel is where they work. (this may refresh your perspective toward your job!)
Public forums are held on a regular basis, featuring Bible teachers or Christian speakers who focus on a Bible topic and interact with the audience. For example, a city worker might hear a talk from Ecclesiastes or the teachings of Jesus or the Christian worldview on current issues. The team follows up those who are interested to learn more.
Another core ministry in Sydney is street evangelism. Several teams go out to engage strangers and share the gospel one-on-one. There are also prayer teams, outreach to uni grads, women’s events, and Bible study luncheons which help to encourage Christian workers.
The dinner presentation provoked a few thoughts:
- Workplace evangelism is frontline work. Rather than waiting for non-believers to visit church, these Christians are bringing the message to them, where they live. This is a great opportunity for church leaders, evangelists and Christian workers to get involved.
- CBF’s approach is normal, in that they are basically teaching the Bible, having gospel conversations and praying. Reaching the city seems insurmountable—numerically (there’s too many of them!), logistically (how can we reach them?) and spiritually (can we really win these souls?). There is no magic solution. The only way forward is to intentionally speak the word in prayerful dependence on God, wherever we live.
- The ministry reports we heard shows how incremental evangelism and discipleship can be. A conversation here, an event there—God uses various means to speak to hearts, in his time. We should not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.