A partnership between a travel company and a charity is set to transform the way Christians consider and conduct holidays.
Christian Fellowship Tours (CFT) guided trips to remote World Vision projects supporting First Nation Communities in Australia will give donors firsthand insight into how their donations are being spent, with half the profits of each tour going to World Vision Australia to fund its community development work, along with 50 per cent of profits from all CFT international tours.
The first trip will be a 26-day trip to Oberammergau for the Passion play, which is staged once every decade, and foodie destinations throughout Europe in July 2020.
Also in July will be a trip from Broome to Darwin with the opportunity to meet World Vision staff in the Kimberley.
CFT managing director Jason Cronshaw said the initiative would help reduce the perceived distance of the charity work to the donor and personalise the cause to donors.
During some trips, donors would have the opportunity to meet World Vision program recipients and learn about their circumstances and needs.
Each would have a Christian tour leader, daily devotions and Sunday worship, along with sightseeing and activities, with accommodation, most meals, airfare and transfers included.
The partnership aligned with the CFT philosophy of travelling with purpose and offered travellers a more meaningful holiday with like-minded people, Mr Cronshaw said.
It helped both organisations expand and diversify their charitable capacity, a fundamental goal under their Christian charter.
World Vision Australia Strategic Alliances acting manager (private funding division) David Towill said teaming up with CFT made sense, given the shared philosophies and goals of both organisations to care for all people regardless of race, gender and creed.
It was also a creative way of encouraging charitable support in a growing pool of worthy causes and would encourage staff working in those areas.
And the partnership was the ideal vehicle to drive the Bush Church Aid model of tours to remote Australian destinations to give encouragement to far-flung Christian communities, which CFT had conducted for 40 years, into a more public and global arena.
Mr Cronshaw said while CFT and its sister companies (Fantastic Aussie Tours and Blue Mountains Explorer Bus) had given 10 per cent of profits to charity for many years, studying for a Masters in Business Administration (Social Impact) at the University of NSW helped him clearly identify charitable initiatives within his company.
“There were things we were doing as a company without really knowing that there were actual names for them or that they could – and should – be woven into our business model to stretch our giving and good works further.’’
The World Vision partnership has also helped Mr Cronshaw become a proud Christian businessman.
For years, he struggled as “an embarrassed Christian’’, giving the impression of simply continuing his Anglican lay preacher father John’s business.
“And then I thought: `How stupid Jason, you also say that you run Christian Fellowship Tours’. It’s probably rather obvious.
“I had a lightbulb moment where somebody on stage at a conference said: `Don’t think there’s a Christian world and a separate secular business world. If you’re in business, God’s called you to be in business as a Christian’.
“It’s still a work in progress for me, but I now truly believe there is no line – it’s just one Christian life.’’
While World Vision was the first such partnership for CFT, Mr Cronshaw hoped it would lead to many more relationships with like-minded businesses, of which he had several on his wish list.
“It’s certainly not an exclusive deal. I believe in this model, and if we can get it right with World Vision we’ll be able to get it right with everybody else.’’
- The 26-day Oberammergau & a Taste of Europe tour will depart July 7, 2020. Highlights of the international World Vision partnered tour will include the Oberammergau Passion Play as well as food and sightseeing activities in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France.
- The 16-day Visionary Top End tour from Broome to Darwin will depart July 22, 2020. During the trip to the Kimberley, passengers will meet the inspiring people of the region, visit with World Vision staff and learn more about programs the tour helps to support. They will also be awed by the spectacular Outback landscapes and thrilled by unique experiences along the way.
Bookings and information: christianfellowshiptours.com or 1300 635 358.