TEAR Australia is a non-denominational Christian organisation helping communities end poverty, challenge injustice and build a sustainable future. We work towards a more just and compassionate world where everyone has the opportunity to experience fullness of life.
In 1971 our organisation emerged with a prophetic imagination to inspire and enable Australian Christians to make a biblically-shaped response to poverty and injustice across the world. Today, TEAR Australia lives out that vision as a powerful catalyst for global transformation. In communities once burdened by poverty, the outcomes are seen in the flourishing of human potential - God’s life lived to the full.
We work in long-term partnership with locally-based Christian agencies as they enable communities experiencing injustice to overcome poverty. We intentionally prioritise projects in some of the most challenging contexts around the world because we are called to be where the need is greatest. As we work alongside our partners, we witness God’s kingdom come as those facing poverty are set free to experience fullness of life.
Across the country, we bring together the incredible responses of Christians responding to God’s call to bring an end to poverty. Our creative and courageous initiatives not only enable the work of our international partners, but also bring about God’s kingdom through changes in global systems of injustice and biblically-shaped lives here in Australia.
TEAR Australia is more than just your average Christian charity in Australia. So what makes us stand out?
Over more than 45 years, there are many, but here’s just a few to celebrate:
We’re a Christian agency working for a just and compassionate world.
TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice.
Our vision is for a just and compassionate world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential.
TEAR Australia was originally formed as an arm of the Australian Evangelical Alliance after its then President, Dr. Leon Morris, was inspired to establish a dedicated emergency relief fund. At an AEA Board meeting in July 1971, Dr Morris laid $10 from his own pocket on the Boardroom table, and so The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund was born. Its original purpose was: “To meet two human needs: one for spiritual direction and assurance, the other for physical help—food, medicine, shelter and clothing… Practical aid in the context of God's love shown in the Lord Jesus.”
Under the AEA, TEAR grew fast. By 1977, the first staff members were appointed, and by 1979, an independent Board was formed. In 1998, and with the blessing of its founding body, TEAR Australia was incorporated as a legally independent agency. We no longer use the original acronym, but rather carry the byline “Transform, Empower, Advocate, Restore”.
We believe that God seeks to involve us in the work of the Kingdom. This involves working for justice and hope with and alongside people living with poverty, and advocating for just social and political structures that promote the dignity and security of all people.
“TEAR Australia is motivated by its understanding of God, the words and actions of Jesus, and the mission that He passed on to the Church. We believe that God loves all people and offers them new life in Christ. The Bible shows us the values and characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The world falls far short of these standards. We believe that God seeks to involve us in the work of the Kingdom. This involves working for justice and hope with and alongside people living with poverty, and advocating for just social and political structures that promote the dignity and security of all people. We are aware of the interconnectedness of human society with the whole of creation and acknowledge our responsibility to respect and care for it.” – Matthew Maury, National Director
As a Christian organisation committed to making a Biblical response to the needs of the poor throughout the world, we accept and proclaim the historic truths of the Christian faith as described in the Micah Network Statement of Belief.
Then, as now, TEAR was formed primarily of voluntary workers. As Tony McCarthy, Chair of the TEAR Board from 1979—2004 writes: “TEAR is, and has always been, a peoples' organisation. It is a community of disciples committed to being practical in expressing their faith; passionate about their discipleship in seeking to express God's love and concern for the poor; and rigorous in exploring the scriptures to learn and to inform both belief and practice. It is an inclusive organisation.”
Surrounding the paid staff positions and voluntary Board members is a vast network of Christians in Australia who contribute to the spiritual, directional, financial and educational work. Some of the more formal volunteer roles include TEAR Members, the International Projects Allocations Committee, which reviews international projects, TEAR Reps, TEAR Group members, and office volunteers. There are also the less formal roles of dedicated supporters who pray for TEAR's work, advocate publicly for structural change, give to TEAR's work, learn and teach others about God's work of justice and compassion, and choose to live according to principles of simple lifestyle.