American Fred Schaeffer: 20 years serving Indigenous Australians

Published 29 November 2010
American Fred Schaeffer a missionary who has been serving indigenous Australians for the past 20 years was interviewed by the Australian Missionary News IPTV anchorman Mark Tronson.

Fred Schaeffer explained how he grew up on the violent streets of Chicago and although a boy of nine he had good business sense. He went to the best schools and worked initially for two large companies and started an enterprise for a French company.

He saw a business opportunity for himself which he went for and succeeded in and yet felt there was something was wrong inside although he was a committed evangelical Christian.

At 49 years of age, his mentor extolled to him the benefit of mission, saying, Why not Mission? Fred Schaeffer was not interested in Africa, as that was something presented to him five years previously.

He decided to commit Mission to an all night prayer vigil and he heard the voice of the Lord saying, Australia, and moreover, Australian Aboriginals. He recognised the hand of the Lord in this and he's been serving the Lord with Australian Aboriginal peoples for the past 20 years.

Fred Schaeffer recognised that he was totally under the control of God as he could not do this by himself. He developed a board of advisers, trusted men of God, and with a procedural plan (like a business plan) spent three months in Australia in 1993.

This led to an invitation through World Vision to attend a seminar for him and his wife Carol with senior Aboriginal Christian leaders who said that they recognised he and Carol loved them, and that Fred and Carol sought to serve their people.

In 1996 they returned to Australia with seven suitcases. Their initial ministry arena was in the heart of the Sydney Aboriginal community. He started with one family and through that ministry 40 people came to Christ in that community.

This led directly to invitations to travel to indigenous communities around the nation. He realised a mammoth united prayer effort was required to conquer this continent for Christ.

Wherever they went, they established prayer co-ordinator evangelists with an aim to be 'Christ-like'. To see Australia won to Christ, Fred Schaeffer believes the best path is to be Christ-like, to illustrate Christ in the lives of individuals. He encouraged people to pray together for their ministry and to see Australia won to Christ. There are now, what Fred calls, six prayer partner communities across Australia within his ministry's orbit: Aboriginal Christian Training Services (ACTS).

These developed prayer networks and his evangelism prayer leaders emphasis is on Christ illustrated in people's lives. Fred Schaeffer who is in constant contact with these one hundred volunteer evangelists is constantly focusing on being Christ like – showing Christ in your life. Another teaching methodology is how to present the Gospel to people with a Scriptural presentation.

This Fred Schaeffer interview can be viewed on the Australian Missionary News IPTV at either: or


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