Outreach International had its early beginnings one night in September 1967, with a gathering of about fifty people in Melbourne, Australia, under the leadership of Tony Kostas. They already knew one another well, but recent circumstances had drawn them closer together and given them a sense that God had called them for a specific purpose. That night the Melbourne Outreach Crusade (MOC) was born.
In July the following year MOC opened Australia’s first full-time evangelistic coffee shop outreach — the centrally-located MOC-IN coffee shop, which offered ‘Coffee, Conversation & Christ’ five days and six nights a week.
Over the next four years our involvement with people, many of them young, resulted in a growing emphasis on counselling and pastoral care. This led to us moving our daily operations from the coffee shop to a new centre, Outreach House, while holding regular church meetings in a rented auditorium.
One night in 1973, God spoke to Tony Kostas about the calling He had given him — saying that when He calls a man, He also gathers a body to fulfil that calling. That same night, God gave Tony the name and vision for Outreach International — a worldwide church family committed to gathering people into local church communities where they could live in the fullness of Jesus’ Two Great Commandments (Mark 12:30 & 31).
So, in faith, we changed our name to Outreach International – even though, at that time, there was only a single congregation based in Melbourne. Within a short time, a recently-formed group of believers in Adelaide, Australia asked to join us. This was followed within a few months by two more churches, in Canada. Over the following twenty years God added communities in Australia, Canada, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the USA, New Zealand and Europe.
Throughout the years we have been constantly led by God into and through many situations as we have simply responded to Him. Like all living things, we have changed and matured. We have been tested and tried along the way and have proved His faithfulness again and again. Above all, we have thrived in the love, the power and the faithfulness of our God.
Fifty years after God first brought us together in Melbourne, we continue to move into an ever-deepening and intimate love relationship with God and one another. We are moved by His Spirit and we hear His voice as He leads us into the fulfilment of His heart’s desire.
Jesus once told His disciples to pray that God’s will be done on Earth just as it is in Heaven. It is our belief that this prayer is being answered — not at some vague time in the far-off future, but now.