Almost 6000 church members and visitors gathered in the Sydney Showgrounds for Ignite 2019 over the weekend.
The second edition of the bi-annual conference was hosted by the Greater Sydney Conference as a substitute for a big camp—given the logistical restraints of hosting camp meetings in the area. The Church has under 10,000 church members in Sydney, meaning two out of three Adventists in the region were present on the Sabbath.
Pastor Lowell Cooper, former vice president for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, delivered sermons on both Friday night and Sabbath morning about engaging contemporary society with Bible truths. His keynotes drew from 22 years of service in the General Conference, including 17 years of experience as the vice president.
Ignite also saw the launch of the 30 Days of Prayer, which Greater Sydney Conference president Pastor Terry Johnson hopes will revive the Church in Sydney.
“The success [of Ignite] for us is really dependent on how many people engage with the 30 Days of Prayer from now until the end of March. . . . We are really looking forward to seeing the power of the Holy Spirit run through their lives, and we’re expecting it to manifest itself in compassion and in empathy more than anything else. That’s the areas where we are the weakest when it comes to our Church,” Pastor Johnson said.
Sabbath afternoon Ignite also saw presentations from the South Pacific Division’s Geraldine Przybylko and Avondale College’s Dr Darren Morton on the Live More Program. Dr Morton also featured in the youth hall, where up to 900 youth gathered for programs on Friday night and Sabbath afternoon. Keynote speaker Pastor Brock Goodall presented on how youth can engage in their communities and structure Bible studies.
Sydney’s multicultural dynamic was put on display during the various worship services, with an item in Portuguese, Korean hanboks (ceremonial dresses) right up to a large Tongan choir. The event was rounded off with an inspiring concert on Sabbath evening, with Pastor Johnson crediting the music as one of the highlights of the weekend.
“I’ve enjoyed the special items from all the different churches. It was majestic, fantastic—brought us to the throne.”
Another Ignite is planned for 2021 in the same venue, which Pastor Johnson hopes will capitalise on this year’s event.
“I’d be hoping that we’d increase by 2000 people. Because then we would know that God is starting a movement in our denomination and in our Conference. At the moment, we’re having some great growth in finance and tithe, but when it comes to baptisms and Bible studies, that’s an area of deep concern.
“We believe that the focus on the 30 days of prayer, a focus on turning up the Spiritual temperature is going to engage our church membership.”