Name: Russell George
Job: Regional coordinator for Adventist Discovery Centre
Where: Wahroonga, NSW
What does a typical day look like for you?
There’s a lot of mail! When church members letterbox our flyers and people respond to the offer for free courses, we mail out lessons to them. Once those lessons are completed and sent back to us, I mark them and answer any questions they may have before sending them their next lesson. Usually if a student is nearing the end of their course, I will also try to get them in contact with a local Adventist church in their area, so that involves calling a pastor or two. Being a regional coordinator, I’m responsible for New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
Another thing we do in the Discovery Centre is promote local church outreach efforts to contacts in a particular area. So, for example, if a church is running a vegetarian cooking demonstration or an evangelistic campaign, that church will send us a flyer advertising their program. Then I will see if we have any students currently enrolled in our courses who live in that area and will send them a flyer with their next lesson as a personal invitation to that program.
What is the best part of your job?
The people I work with are wonderful. We have a great team dynamic. I also love answering the questions our students have about the Bible and God.
What led you to this ministry?
Raised Catholic, I was going through a rough time and was reading my Bible when I received a Prophetic Code flyer in my letterbox in February 2007. The questions on the card interested me and I liked the offer for free Bible studies. So I went online and registered to have some more information sent to me. I was expecting Bible studies to come in the mail but, to my surprise, a Bible worker actually came to my door to personally deliver them to me! After a few months of Bible studies, I was baptised.
A few years ago, I was a Bible worker in Sydney when I heard that the Discovery Centre was looking for people to help out, so I came to volunteer, helping to mark lessons. Then a vacancy for a full-time role became available. I applied, and now I send the very letterbox flyer that helped me become an Adventist to others.
What’s something about your job that would surprise people?
We have a lot of prisoners who are currently enrolled in our courses—between 400 and 500 across Australia. They are actually our best PR—they tell others in the prisons about our courses or fill out a catalogue for a fellow inmate, and that’s how we’re growing our prison ministry. We’ve had a lot of requests for baptisms, which can be tricky sometimes [inmates are not allowed to be baptised by immersion in prison], but we are currently working toward this with the help of our Adventist prison chaplains. Taking Charge of Your Life [dealing with addiction] is probably the most popular course in our prisons, and we often have a lot of prisoners who write to us and tell us how grateful they are for our lessons.
One of the most challenging parts of my role is . . .
Probably the prayers.
We have a prayer website (prayeronline.org.au) and the requests come through to our computer dashboard, so I will respond to those, praying for those people, and send them an encouragement or some verses.
I love responding to prayers but some of the experiences people have gone through are just horrendous. And they tell you quite a bit. It’s a challenge because we can’t counsel them or offer psychological advice—we refer them onto professionals. But we still want to be there for them, affirm them, let them know we’re praying for them and answer their questions as best as possible.
What’s the most popular course?
Teach Me To Pray, Living Well and Secrets of Prophecy are our top three courses, but our new Forgive to Live course is starting to pick up!
How can people get involved with this ministry?
At the Discovery Centre, we are trying to resource each church member to be able to share their faith. In addition to the physical letterbox flyers and paper lessons, most of our courses and letterbox cards are also online, and we are in the process of developing apps for sharing on social media as well. We always try to encourage members to do our lessons themselves so that they are well-versed in the material if their friends and family members have any questions. We’ve also created the “Do Your Block” initiative—letterbox flyers providing members with a way to share their faith (and also get some exercise in!). Church members may not realise how easy it is to access the courses and use them. They may not have time to give a full Bible study, but just by giving a friend a lesson, they could bring them to Christ.
If you would like to get involved with the “Do Your Block” initiative, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To order the paper cards, visit hopechannel.com/share or hopechannel.com/downloads to share the electronic cards and/or lessons.