Mainland Australia is the world’s largest island, but smallest continent. It’s the only continent governed as a single country, with a population of almost 23 million people. It’s also one of the most urban, coast-dwelling populations in the world, with more than 80 percent of residents living within about 60 miles of the coastline.
Australian society is made up of people from a rich variety of social, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds, and this is a defining feature of the culture. The most common religion is Christianity, although the country embraces a rainbow of spiritual beliefs. Many more Australians identify with religious organizations than actually attend church. The number of people reporting no religion has increased dramatically over the past hundred years, from one in 250 people to one in five, with the biggest increase seen in young people aged 20-24.
The Garden, located near The University of Queensland in Brisbane, is working to reach some of these young people with a Globalscope campus ministry that provides an inviting, grace-driven community for all university students. Through weekly events such as the Tuesday Night gathering, a Thursday free lunch and many outreach activities on campus, the team at The Garden works to show and tell the difference Jesus has made in their lives through sharing their authentic, Christian community.
A CMF team member works with at-risk youth in the low socio-economic suburb of Dandenong, one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in Australia, in cooperation with a local Christian church. Ministries include an after-school youth program (Youth Unlimited), volunteer work with elementary students at the Dandenong West Primary School, church youth groups, Bible studies with kids and teens, and mentoring programs with girls and their mothers.