A $A66,000-plus special project offering collected during last weekend’s Ignite program in Sydney will go towards efforts to evangelise areas with little or no Adventist presence.
More than 5000 church members gathered at the Sydney Showground for Ignite, which was designed to share key initiatives, to launch 40 days of prayer and to encourage members to think about how to reach the eastern seaboard of Sydney, where there are only 647 Adventists in a population of 1.4 million.
"We are starting to focus more and more on person to person faith sharing and meeting community needs."
The Greater Sydney Conference (GSC) is hoping that members will embrace the vision to reach Sydney with the Adventist message; the Ignite weekend was designed to build excitement for an upcoming evangelistic push.
“I was looking for Ignite to provide momentum behind our vision and direction for the Conference and to gain buy-in from the membership at large,” said GSC president Pastor Michael Worker. “Based on the feedback I believe we achieved this. We are starting to focus more and more on person-to-person faith sharing and meeting community needs, as per early Adventist urban evangelism, as the most effective way to impact Sydney for God.”
The Conference is also moving to intentionally reconnect with members who have left the Church, promoting the upcoming “Welcome Home Sabbath” on May 6.
The Ignite program began Friday night and continued all through Saturday, finishing in the evening.
Evangelist and pastor of Pioneer Memorial church (attached to Andrews University, Berrien Springs, US) Dwight Nelson was the keynote speaker for the weekend. His series was entitled “Storm: finding Jesus in the gathering dark” and was really a message about personal revival and trusting in and following Jesus. A key passage Pastor Nelson focused on was Hebrews 2:13: “I will put my trust in Him.”
The meetings were streamed on YouTube by the New Hope church video team, with a special effort made to include conference members watching on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. There was also a sign language translation service that people could watch live, displayed in a corner of the host venue’s big screen and via the livestream.
Half of the Sydney Showground pavilion was used for the combined meetings, while the other half housed expo booths, an Adventist Book Centre display and the children’s Sabbath School programs.
The Sabbath afternoon service included reports on the church planting work that is already happening in Sydney, facilitated by GSC church planting director Dr Sven Ostring. Some of these projects are focused on suburbs in the eastern seaboard region.
“Currently we have a church revitalisation project on the Northern Beaches and a church plant in Lilyfield,” reported Pastor Worker. “We are preparing to launch church plants in Menai and Sydney University/Newtown next year, as well as help to resource and grow a ministry to Brazilian students in the Bondi Junction area.”
Although the weather was inclement, organisers were impressed by the number of people who braved the elements and supported the event.
US southern gospel duo Reggie and Ladye Love Smith provided special music throughout the weekend, including during the Saturday night concert that concluded the event.
The Sydney Adventist Chamber Ensemble supported the praise and worship, with music arranged and led by Aidan Rosa. Special music was also provided by groups including Mt Druitt Samoan’s Conquerors, Reedemed and choirs from Pan-Pacific, Korean Filipino and mixed cultural backgrounds.