Area: 7,682,300 sq km
This island continent is the world’s driest, but better watered in the east, southeast and southwest coastal regions, where most live in highly concentrated urban areas. There are three permanently inhabited dependent territories: Norfolk Island (35 sq km; 2,037 pop), Christmas Is. (135 sq km; 1,408 pop), Cocos Is. (14 sq km; 591 pop).
Population: 21,507,384 Annual Growth: 1.07%
Official language: English. 20% of the population use English as a second language Languages: 207 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
Less-reached peoples are found in increasing numbers and diversity. Pray for those local churches with active ministries to such cultural communities, and for the work of local congregations and mission agencies seeking to share Christ with them. Despite Australia being an evangelistically open country, many of these immigrants face issues of religious freedom and persecution for becoming Christians and even for considering such a decision.
a) Many people in working-class urban areas and in some isolated mining and farming communities in the vast interior, northwest and north have had no vital biblical witness. A number of ministries reach out to these tiny and scattered communities.
b) Muslims more than 500,000 from over 70 nationalities with 160,000-200,000 living in the Sydney area (dominated by Lebanese and Turks) and nearly 100,000 in the Melbourne area. The Muslim population has increased nearly 200-fold since 1947, and there are now over 100 active mosques and prayer centres.
c) Chinese. Up to 500,000 people living in Australia are of Chinese ethnic background. About 20% of the Chinese are professing Christians; others are secular or adhere to the various Chinese traditional religions. There are over 200 Chinese evangelical congregations in Australia, more than 100 in Sydney alone. Australias largest Presbyterian church is Chinese. Some of the most lively student groups in universities are of the Overseas Christian Fellowships, and these are predominantly Chinese. Pray for the complete evangelization of the Buddhists and non-Christians among them.
d) Vietnamese as many as 260,000. This number includes the flow of refugees and immigrants since the Vietnam War as well as their children. A minority are Christian, but the second generation faces the challenge of finding their faith somewhere between two cultures.
e) The diverse peoples from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Most still retain the use of their mother tongue: Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, Bosnian and Albanian as well as Polish, Russian and Ukrainian. They come from some of Europes least evangelized countries, and there are very few evangelical believers among them.
f) Jews number over 100,000; those of part-Jewish heritage number even more. Melbourne and Sydney have the highest concentrations of Jews. Celebrate Messiah Australia has a fruitful ministry among Melbournes growing Jewish community, where there are many recent immigrants from Russia. CWI has a witness in Sydney. JFJ and CPM also work among Jews in Australia.
g) Southern Europeans. Many use their original mother tongues; however, many second- and third-generation settlers have assimilated into English-speaking Australian society and are now estranged from their cultural roots, feeling out of place in their traditional denominations. Pentecostal Churches and Jehovahs Witnesses are the most successful in reaching them. Major groups are Italian, Greek, Maltese and Spanish. Melbourne is the second-largest Greek-speaking city in the world. These represent minorities that, if evangelized and motivated, could make an impact for God in their native lands.
For an additional 7 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Australia.