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A day in the life of … Adrian Kistan

24 March 2022

A day in the life of … Adrian Kistan

Adrian Kistan speaks at The Gathering, a Salvation Army multicultural conference in Sydney that celebrates diversity. 

Celebrating people of all cultures and abilities 

Over the coming months, Salvos Magazine will feature different people from all walks of life who are part of the varied work of the Salvos across the country. In conjunction with Harmony Week (21-27 March, which includes the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March), and its theme ‘Everyone belongs’, below we feature Adrian Kistan, General Manager, Intercultural and All Abilities Team. 

Salvos Magazine: Can you give us an overview of your role? 

Adrian Kistan: My role is to give strategic direction to The Salvation Army’s efforts to effectively engage and include people from underrepresented cohorts. Our remit specifically focuses on people living with a disability (All Abilities) and those from culturally diverse backgrounds, including refugees and people seeking asylum. 

SM: What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at work (even if that’s at home!)? 

AK: I spend some time in prayer. I love to pray for each of my team members and all those we serve on the frontline. I also ask for God to direct our work and grant us his favour and blessing in all that we do. I then get on with all the tasks and activities of the day. 

SM: What can a typical day involve for you? 

AK: Meetings to further advance the work, whether that be through vision-casting to internal stakeholders or collaborating with national partners. I believe that the more conversations we have, the better-informed people become, and they will be more inspired to engage. I spend some time responding to various enquiries that seem to fill the inbox. I also like to try to spend some time each day listening to those with lived experience to stay connected to what we are trying to achieve. 

SM: What’s the most challenging part of your work? 

AK: The most challenging part of our work is the sheer breadth of the work and for us to not get overwhelmed by how big the opportunity is that it presents to us. 

SM: What’s the most rewarding? 

AK: I am so blessed to have such a fantastic team. The team I work with are all passionate Jesus followers who believe wholeheartedly in the cause. They all have lived experience in this area, as well as having immense professional and practical experience. It is so rewarding working alongside fabulous people, knowing that we are partnering with God in Kingdom endeavours.

SM: How has COVID-19 affected your work?

AK: The cohort we engage with are very personable, and most of the expected interactions are done in person. The social distancing and isolation requirements that have come because of COVID-19 have made it very difficult to engage with people in their preferred way. We have had to adapt and seek out opportunities to engage more creatively – some of that has worked well and surprised us! We are most grateful to see us coming out the other side to allow for some more personal engagement.

SM: Why is Harmony Day and ending racial discrimination so important?

AK: As Salvos, we understand that our foundation of faith is based on the understanding that all people are created in the image of God, and all are welcome in his Kingdom. Harmony Day is an opportunity to celebrate all these beautiful cultures as a reflection of God’s creation. Racial Discrimination is not of God and diminishes what God has created – it has no place in our movement or our society.

SM: How do you see your work achieving the mission of the Salvos to transform lives?

AK: Our work is all about enabling our movement to see “all Australians” transformed by the love of Jesus. This is in a culturally diverse Australia where 49 per cent of the population are born overseas or have one parent born overseas, and one in five Aussies are living with a disability. Our team brings a lens to give focus and attention to these particular people groups so that they are not forgotten in our mission.


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