About us

OAC is an international and interdenominational mission which has been taking the good news of Jesus Christ to those outside the church since 1892.

Our approximately 200 evangelists, based in 26 countries, go wherever non-Christians can be reached effectively with the gospel. City-centre open-air meetings are an important part of the work in many countries, but we also work in schools, on beaches, in factories, on ships, in hospitals and retirement homes…

We have pioneered a number of visual techniques for presenting the gospel, most notably the sketchboard. Our evangelists also use ventriloquism and object lessons to keep the attention of audiences of all ages. Our manner and methods of presentation aim to attract and hold a crowd, allowing them the greatest possible opportunity to understand and respond.

Much of our work consists of training Christians to communicate their faith more effectively. We give regular courses at many Bible colleges around the world, as well as in hundreds of local churches, with whom we work closely.

There are many opportunities to support Open Air Campaigners: financially, through prayer or by joining one of our teams. We have vacancies for evangelists and administrators in many countries.

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Our story

  • 1892
    An English Barrister, E P Field, preached to lunch-hour crowds in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia, and formed the NSW Prayer Band to support this ministry.
  • 1913
    The NSW Prayer Band was renamed the NSW Evangelistic Prayer Band.
  • 1921
    Former missionary W Bradley joined the NSW Evangelistic Prayer Band.
  • 1922
    W Bradley changed the name to ‘Open Air Campaigners’. Gospel wagons were used to take the gospel message to people throughout NSW.
  • 1939
    OAC worked among the armed services during World War II.
  • 1940 – 1950
    The work extended to the states of Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and overseas, firstly to New Zealand. It was during this period that the typical sketchboard painting method became the ‘trademark’ of the work.
  • By 1970
    OAC was well established in North America, Britain and Germany. During the 1970s residential ministry extended to the Netherlands and Italy, with openings being made in many other countries.
  • The 1980s
    saw definitive expansion beyond the traditional protestant homelands and the following decade saw the establishment of branches in the former Communist Block and in Latin America and India.

The current state of OAC can be seen on this web site. Methodology has certainly developed, with evangelists continuing to use older methods and open air meetings as a basis, but also using films, computer aided presentations and even the internet to reach out across the globe.

An early history of the work was published years ago under the title ‘The Truceless Warfare Advances’, written by J. Duffecy.

A full and up-to-date history is now being written.