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Pastor Andrew Evans Remembered

by | Tue, May 30 2023

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Tributes are being paid to one of Australia’s most influential Pentecostal pastors, Andrew Evans, who has passed away at the age of 87.

He is being remembered as a prominent church planter, missionary, denominational superintendent and the politician who founded the Family First Party.

For 30-years he was the senior pastor of Adelaide’s Paradise Community Church which has around 6,000 members, one of the biggest congregations in Australia, and is now known as Futures Church.

It announced his passing by saying: “A general of the faith, Pastor Andrew Evans graduated to heaven and has now seen Jesus face to face. Joining with the cloud of witnesses. He is now cheering us on to continue the legacy he has left behind.”

His eldest son Ashley who is the global senior pastor at Futures Church recalled his father as being an “exceptional leader, a pioneer of team leadership and a hero to the people”.

“His colleagues from across the political spectrum respected him for his trustworthiness and ability to keep his word — a rarity in the world of politics,” he observed.

The Advertiser quotes Ashley as saying: “(His) respectful and kind demeanour won him friends on both sides of the aisle, making him a well-liked figure in South Australia’s political landscape. (He) cherished his role as a brother, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather. His love for his family knew no bounds and his presence left an indelible mark on their lives.”

His youngest son Russell, senior pastor at Melbourne-based Planetshakers Church, added: “To tens of thousands he was their pastor. To hundreds of thousands he was their General Superintendent and to South Australians he was a representative as a politician. He has been referred to as a general, as a legend, as a peoples hero and as a pastor who loved people.”

Pastor David Hall of Adelaide’s Revival City Church posted: ” His example was one of great integrity. He lived what he preached, cared for people, and was a passionate soul winner. He loved pastors, gave people a chance, believed in people, and always made time for anyone. His heart was always in South Australia.”

“He was a man of great faith, prayer and conviction. His preaching could connect with anyone. He was very sensitive to the presence of God. He loved the Holy Spirit and was a passionate Pentecostal.He was the quintessential senior pastor, epitomising what a minister should be. Thank you Pastor Andrew! You’re a legend!”

Andrew Evans was born to missionary parents Tom and Stella Evans in India. He studied for Christian Ministry at the Assemblies of God Commonwealth Bible College in Brisbane, graduating with a Diploma in Theology before being ordained to the ministry in 1963. He then served for six years as a missionary with AOG World Missions in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea.

From 1970 to 2000, he was senior pastor of what started as Adelaide’s Klemzig Assembly of God church and evolved into the Paradise Community Church. It was originally founded just over a century ago by evangelist Smith Wigglesworth. In 1977 Andrew Evans began 20-years of service as the National Superintendent of the Assembles of God ministry in Australia.

After his retirement from the Paradise church in 2000, Pastor Evans’ service to the wider community was far from over. He founded the Family First political party based on traditional Christian values and served as a Legislative Councillor in South Australia for six years. The party also had three Senators and was briefly represented in other state  parliaments.

Some said Andrew Evans defied defied traditional church-state demarcations, but he avoided calling it a ‘Christian’ party because he wanted the party to have wider appeal to all people with traditional values who may not be Christians, in a bid to broaden its vote.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Christopher Brohier recalled attending an Assemblies of God Conference where a leading atheist told the audience “If your mob got yourselves organised, you could beat my mob.” He told Vision Radio that inspired Andrew Evans to form Family First.

“I remember him saying he’d walk past Parliament House and pray and say: Lord, if You have a seat there for me, keep it. And that’s a great encouragement of faith, of starting something which was brand new in an Australian political context. And that name, Family First, particularly in South Australia, is a very well-liked and well-known brand and it’s been rejigged by some others and will be contesting, I think, the next federal election and certainly the next state election here (South Australia) and in other places. So there’s an enduring legacy in our patch in the political sphere for Andrew’s faith and grace and and foresight.”