OAC exists to preach the gospel where people are, and to equip God’s people for evangelism. OAC (Outreach and Church Ministries) is the New Zealand division of Open Air Campaigners. There are branches in more than thirty countries.
We specialise in communication that grabs and holds attention.
By example and equipping, to encourage the church to effective evangelism.
To share the gospel by all means everywhere and to equip the church to do the same.
The Story of OAC
Edward Percy Field was brought up in a Christian home in England. However as he grew into adulthood he began to rebel against the faith of his parents. To escape their influence he left England and travelled to Australia. Arriving in Australia he ended up breaking stones as a road builder.
One day Mr Weigall, Headmaster of Australia’s oldest boy’s college and a friend of his father recognised E.P. Field working on the road. He offered E.P a position as a teacher at the Sydney Grammar School. E.P. Field then studied Law in his spare time and entered the bar to become a well-known criminal lawyer in the city of Sydney.
But disaster struck. At the peak of his career he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. This brought Edward Field to his knees before God. If God would spare him he vowed that he would give himself to God’s glory. On the specialists advice he travelled back to England.
In 1890 a surgeon examined him and said,” but you have been operated on already.’ A miracle had happened. He was healed spiritually and physically.
Returning to Sydney in 1891 at a time when Christian preaching was mainly kept to church buildings, he did not forget his vow to God. He began to witness to his fellow lawyers, visiting hospitals and started preaching in the open air. He preached in places like Coogee beach, in Sydney at the corner of King and York Street, George street, Moore Street and in Martin Place right in front of the post office. He took teams with him and spoke daily in the open air.
Others joined in as he slipped out of the scene in Australia by travelling back to England to live with his family. The group that had been meeting with Field had called themselves the New South Wales Prayer Band. Even during the World War 1 a small handful of men kept the work going. Then in 1922 a new name was adopted - The Open Air Campaigners.
OAC then came to New Zealand. Jim Duffecy met up with George Bremner and the work was started in Auckland in 1954. It was then established in Wellington and Christchurch in 1956. Branches have since been established in Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Palmerston North, Bay of Plenty, Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin.
OAC is now in about 32 countries of the world