Jesus All About Life, the gospel campaign first launched by Bible Society Australia in 2009, is coming back with lots of resources to bring hope, joy and revitalisation to local churches and their communities.
Jesus All About Life was a genuine umbrella campaign that ran for several years across several states. In NSW, for example, 1600 churches held 2000 events, and the red and blue banner could be seen on church buildings for years afterwards. It attracted more than 500 mainstream media mentions.
Bible Society Australia (BSA) is now gearing up to facilitate a nationwide annual church-owned campaign under the established Jesus All About Life (JAAL) brand.
“This could be the single largest evangelistic and church revitalisation effort in Australia, uniting churches of all denominations to point people to Jesus this coming Easter,” says Chris Melville, BSA’s Head of Missions.
“Together we have the opportunity to proclaim the centrality of Jesus to the nation. JAAL aims to encourage and refresh our ministry leaders and congregations in providing resources in preparation for Easter 2022.”
“This could be the single largest evangelistic and church revitalisation effort in Australia.” – Chris Melville
The disruptions of COVID-19 have shaken many people’s worldviews and prompted them to ask what life is all about. This mood of questioning and spiritual openness presents a perfect opportunity for churches to share their vision about the centrality of Jesus to human flourishing. However, ministry leaders and congregations are fatigued by the challenges of the COVID era and need refreshment to take up the challenge. That is why BSA is equipping churches with resources to use in their local contexts. Churches, whether big or small, can be empowered to reach their communities with the good news of Jesus.
An awareness-building campaign will point to a website where people can sign up for the campaign and access resources. These will include an Easter talk, short videos, children’s video and lesson from children’s entertainers Quiz Worx, an Easter lesson, animation and worksheet for children.
There will be resources for ESL teachers and students along with copies of the New Beginnings Bible and the Four Gospels will be available at very low prices.
“I try to weave in as well the perennial tough questions people ask related to those key parts of a Christian worldview.” – Murray Smith
A key resource is an updated version of the Jesus All About Life book by Sydney theologian Murray Smith to give to anyone who responds to the campaign.
The book uses Jesus’ own words from the gospels to present the good news along with a comprehensive biblical/Christian worldview. There are four sections dealing with creation, the fall, redemption and the new creation.
It starts with “Jesus and the good stuff”, which is what Jesus has to say about God and creation. Then comes “Jesus and the ugly bits,” recounting what Jesus had to say about the sin problem with humanity. “Jesus and new life” reveals what Jesus said about his life and mission and especially his death. Finally, “Jesus and where it’s all headed” looks to Jesus’s promises for the future with him.
“Along the way, I try to weave in as well the perennial tough questions people ask related to those key parts of a Christian worldview,” said Smith, who lectures in biblical theology and exegesis at Christ College, the theological college of the Presbyterian Church in Sydney.
So the first section examines the issue of God and science. “If God made the world and God runs the world, how do we think about science and its role in explaining the world and is science opposed to God?” It also looks at miracles. The second part includes a short chapter on how to make sense of God in suffering.
“It could be perfect for anyone who’s investigating faith as a youth or an adult.” – Murray Smith
Smith explains that the original book was aimed at teenagers and young adults, whereas the new book is aimed at any new Christian or anyone investigating Christianity.
“A number of people said, because it was written for youth and young adults, it was quite accessible and easy to read, so it could be perfect for anyone who’s investigating faith as a youth or an adult,” he explains.
“It’s relatively simple English, easy to read. It’s exactly the same format. I’m just refreshing some of the illustrations that might be a little bit out of date and making sure it all works for a general audience, not just youth.”
“I just hope this is a resource that will be useful for people investigating Jesus and the Christian faith, and therefore also useful for Christian people who want to reach out to their friends and give, put something in their hands to read that’s an accessible and focused on Jesus but also engages some of the common, tough questions that people ask showing how Jesus’ teaching in the gospels gives us good answers to those questions,” says Smith.