New director to lead Church’s secular and post-Christian outreach

Dr Brendan Pratt.

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A Seventh-day Adventist pastor with a passion for sharing God with secular and post-Christian people in Australia has been entrusted with overseeing the Adventist Church’s growing efforts to reach the same demographic group worldwide.

Dr Brendan Pratt, ministerial association secretary for the Australian Union Conference, will become the Union’s associate ministerial association secretary while taking on the new responsibility of director of the Global Mission Centre for Secular and Post-Christian Mission, which is under the auspices of the Office of Adventist Mission at the General Conference.

Dr Pratt said he is looking forward to seeing significant synergy between his current work in Australia and his new post at the Global Mission centre, whose mandate is to equip the Adventist Church with new tools to help secular and post-Christian people know God.

“I am passionate about seeing transformation in lives and communities as people connect with Jesus and grow in relationship with Him,” he said. “I am particularly passionate about mission within secular culture.”

Dr Pratt takes the helm at the Global Mission centre at a time when the Adventist Church is stepping up its efforts to reach secular and post-Christian people. A secular person is someone who is not affiliated with a church or other faith group, while a post-Christian person lives in a society based historically on Christian values but chooses to reject the authority of Christianity in his or her life.

“Reaching secular and post-Christian people is one of the Adventist Church’s biggest mission challenges,” said Adventist Mission director Dr Gary Krause.

In an attempt to better reach them, the Adventist Church has made them a key plank in a new General Conference initiative called Mission Refocus, which prioritises resources for frontline mission work.

“It is one of the three Mission Refocus windows we are concentrating on—along with the 10/40 Window and the Urban Window,” Dr Krause said.

He expressed full confidence in Dr Pratt, who holds a doctorate on the impact of consumerism on the Adventist Church and has worked as a pastor in Australia and New Zealand for nearly 30 years.

“Dr Pratt brings a rich experience ministering to these people in Australia and New Zealand, and I know he will bring a strong, practical vision to the Global Mission centre,” he said.

Dr Pratt fills a post vacated by Dr Kleber Gonçalves, who led the Global Mission centre for 12 years and has joined AdventHealth in Florida as its director of faith strategy and external collaboration.

Dr Gonçalves said his experience taught him that it is important to remember that Jesus’ great commission of Matthew 28:18-20 and the first angel’s message of Revelation 14:6 are calls for the everlasting gospel to be shared with everyone—every nation, tribe, language and people.

“That, of course, includes the secular and post-Christian mind,” he said.

He advised those interested in sharing Jesus with secular and post-Christian people to seek an understanding of their worldview, with the purpose of finding connecting points that are relevant and meaningful to their lives, and to use “Christ’s method” to create opportunities that would not be possible any other way.

“Christ’s method,” as described by Ellen White in The Ministry of Healing, is to mingle with people as one who desires their good, show sympathy for them, minister to their needs, win their confidence and then invite them to follow Christ. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people,” Ellen White writes on page 143.

Dr Pratt has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology from Avondale University. In 2021, he earned a PhD with the thesis, “Christianity and Advanced Consumer Culture: Shaping a Response with Reference to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia” from Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Dr Pratt is married to Amanda Bews, an author, and they have three sons from the ages of 16 to 22. His hobby is reptiles.

“So we share our home with a variety of snakes, lizards and turtles,” he said.

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