Australia (MNN) — Perhaps not many think of Sydney, Australia as a mission field. But Grace Ministries International recognizes it as just one more city in need of Jesus Christ.
GMI has been working in Australia for over 30 years, establishing home Bible classes, new churches and several other outreaches. One of the more unique ministries that GMI has established in Australia began with the initiative of missionaries Kevin and Lisa Crouse.
"[Kevin] went out there to do youth work and came to the conclusion that one of the things that he needed to do was to reach people who would never go to church," says GMI's Sam Vinton. "They'd either grown up in the church and felt that they were not welcome, or for whatever reason, they left the church and had bitter feelings about the church. So he bstarted a café."
The Mars Hill Café is an informal way to spread the love of Christ. It is run by people who genuinely care for their customers as Christ does. As relationships are built between the café staff and non-Christian youth and adults who frequent it, the staff eventually invite people to come to the Sacred Grounds church that meets on the second floor of the café every Sunday.
This non-threatening, relational approach to ministry seems to work well in Australia. Vinton says some have come to know the Lord after five or six years of steady conversation with the patient believers at the café.
"We feel that's just another way that we're reaching people with the compassion of the Lord and love of God, which we believe is very fundamental to reaching those people with the Gospel," explains Vinton.