Indigenous Ministries Australia (IMA) is committed to live and work for the equality of all, to join with the redeeming and healing work of God’s Spirit towards restoration for the First Peoples of our land. The following ten ‘First Steps’ are practical ways we can choose to journey towards healing and blessing for our land and for all Australians this year:
Find out about the history of the First Australians in your area. Understand the impact of dispossession and other injustices.
2. Acknowledge Indigenous Peoples
Find out who the local traditional owners are in your area and display a statement of support and/or an acknowledgment of Traditional Owners in your church or office. When you conduct events, include a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgment of Country to recognise the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia.
3. Fly the Flag
The Aboriginal flag not only shows respect but also lets Indigenous people know that they are recognised and welcome.
4. Celebrate special days and events
- National Sorry Day: Friday May 26
- Reconciliation week: May 27- June 3
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday: July 2
- NAIDOC week: First week in July
5. Personally connect with Indigenous Ministry/community
Engage with a local event that advances the cause of Indigenous people, such as NAIDOC activities. Is there an Indigenous church or Christian group in your neighbourhood? If so, get in touch and ask if you can help in any way. Join an IMA Discovery Trip or organise a Songlines Walking Tour.
6. Engage in volunteer activities under the direction of Indigenous people
“What can we do?” is a popular question. A good answer is, “Ask the locals.” There is always some task that needs practical helpers to achieve the outcome of supporting people in practical ways. Everyone possesses a skill needed to support church ministry. Start with the needs and let the locals lead.
7. Invite Indigenous speakers or conduct a workshop
Get your church to organise a special visit from an Indigenous Christian speaker. Talk to us at IMA for more information.
8. Financially invest in Indigenous training
Sponsor an Indigenous student in further theological and/or community development training. The need for Christian leadership development is great. Some estimates suggest that there are less than 100 qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pastors and ministers in Australia at this time. That would equate to one minister for every 5,000 Indigenous people as compared to the wider population, where there is approximately one minister to every 500 people.
9. Support through Prayer
A universal need exists to support the people of God in ministry through prayer. For example, in Victoria you can join the Indigenous Prayer Network and receive regular news and prayer points about Indigenous ministry in this State.
10. Financial Support
According to the 2006 Census, Indigenous income is between 1/3 less and 2/3 less than non-Indigenous people. The Indigenous Church and ministries have little cash resources or financial assets. Your financial support is greatly appreciated and would demonstrate a real commitment to partnership and reconciliation. One effective way to support Indigenous communities is through purchasing an IMA gift from the GMP Great Gifts catalogue.
Songlines Walking Tour IMA Discovery Trips