A first-ever conference for Seventh-day Adventist school chaplains from around Australia focused on team building and discipleship.
Held at Stuarts Point (NSW) on October 23-26, the conference was an initiative of the ministerial education departments from the South Queensland and North New South Wales Conference, with assistance from Adventist Schools Australia, and was attended by 80 chaplains.
Australian Union Conference (AUC) education director Dr Daryl Murdoch began proceedings by celebrating past achievements of school chaplaincy and casting the vision for schools across Australia to be actively engaged and supporting the mission of the Church.
“I have never been with a more enthusiastic, passionate and committed group. The worship and enthusiasm as we opened the conference was electric,” one of the keynote presenters stated.
The chaplains, from all conferences across Australia, expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to attend the conference and the sense of affirmation and support they felt from the South Pacific Division (SPD), AUC (major financial contributors to the event) and local conference administrations.
“This has been a most excellent program of team building, resourcing, fun, creativity and inspiration in a worshipful atmosphere,” said guest presenter Dr Peter Roennfeldt. “The Australian chaplaincy team showed that they are a very, very committed and talented team of ministers.”
Disciple making was central to the agenda. Dr Roennfeldt conveyed to those present the key ideas of his book Following Jesus. He also shared on how to motivate students, teachers and parents to become disciples of Jesus who multiply and build.
The school and church connection was also a main theme discussed using forums and TED-style talks presented by those currently serving in campus churches.
SPD Discipleship Ministry Team family life educator Dr Trafford Fischer shared basic skills in counselling—as well as great insights into how to gain best traction in the mentoring and coaching of students and staff.
Those in attendance expressed appreciation for the presentations, delivered by some of the Church’s most experienced personnel in the areas of education ministry and pastoral ministry: Brendan Pratt, Daron Pratt, Dean Bennetts, Nimrod Maua, Tony Kent, Brock Goodall, Leighton Heise, Richie Reid, Sharon Harrington, Neil and Sarah Redman.