Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Evangelism in Australia and New Zealand

The final objective of all efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that of preaching the gospel and preparing men and women to meet the Lord. Evangelism, which had moved rather slowly at first in Australia and New Zealand, was vitalized by the extended evangelistic camp meetings introduced in 1893 and 1894. Year by year methods were refined, and in the late 1890s evangelism was forging ahead, yielding rich harvests. Of this type of successful work Ellen White wrote in 1898 to Dr. J. H. Kellogg: 4BIO 427.1

Our camp meetings are the greatest and most efficient mode of witnessing to the truth and making it impressive. The religious exercises of the meetings are a constant confession of the truth. There are also most favorable opportunities in these meetings, which last from two to three weeks, to engage in work for the children. The smaller children are gathered into a large tent, and special instruction adapted to their years is given them. 4BIO 427.2

All these meetings are carried on in an orderly manner, and they have a telling influence. There are always a number of conversions made. But now we see that the effort made after our camp meeting is more effective in holding the people than that which we gain while the meeting is in session. This is gathering up the fragments, that nothing be lost. The afterwork secures from forty to fifty converts, and the experiences of these converted ones have a great influence upon their friends and relatives. 4BIO 427.3

But this is a very meager estimate of the work that has been done by our camp meetings in this country. In every place where a camp meeting has been held, a church has been organized. This is presented to me as one of the best methods we can use to reach all classes.—Letter 140, 1898. 4BIO 427.4

These camp meetings, into which were poured careful planning, money, and the best dedicated talent available, enriched the church in Australasia in converts from all classes, but often from among the experienced and the better educated. Thus were provided some who would enter the business operations and management of the various activities and institutions in a rapidly growing work. Few of these converts were wealthy, but there was furnished a sound backlog of resources that was much needed. Thus evangelism, together with the training of the youth of the church in the Avondale school, very largely supplied the ministerial and related needs of the cause, such as literature evangelists and Bible instructors. Evangelism in Australia had come “of age.” 4BIO 427.5