Harvest Victoria is a five-year initiative run by the Victorian Conference in partnership with the Australian Union Conference, the South Pacific Division, It is Written International and church members throughout our state to share their faith with others. This strategy included prayer and revival, training of church members to use their gifts in outreach activities and events, a state-wide evangelistic series, church planting and digital discipleship. With the end of Harvest Victoria in sight, Andrew Jasper, director of Health, Stewardship and Personal Ministries took a moment to reflect on the past four-and-a-half years and talk about his new plans for outreach.
What are three things you are grateful for as the initiative wraps up at the end of the year?
I’m grateful that God is changing lives. More than 1000 people came to the series of meetings held by John Bradshaw and Eric Flickinger from It Is Written. As a result, 362 people pledged their faith to Jesus and joined the Adventist Church throughout 2019.
Christ is answering our prayers for more labourers. We had more than 200 people trained and sent out in preparation for those meetings. After the series, members reported an increase in confidence and ability to share their faith. We now have a Bible Worker Trainer in our Conference who continues the work of preparing members. The Lord of the Harvest is faithful.
I’m thankful that this strategy is really a movement to normalise the gains of the past four-and-a-half years. For instance, Pastor Roy Kim, who was appointed as our church plant coordinator, recently became director of the newly formed Church Planting department. This gives church planting a more sustainable future.
What else are you looking forward to?
I am passionate about one of the remaining components of Harvest Victoria—the development of a Missionary Training Centre. We are currently raising funds for this in cooperation with Cedarvale Health and Lifestyle Retreat. The Abide Health Estate is a property in the beautiful alpine forests northeast of Melbourne that was built as a residential health retreat and health and ministry training centre.
What is the potential of this health and ministry training centre?
Our vision is for members to be equipped in practical lines of missionary work. There will be courses in health, welfare, literature and personal ministries. Being trained at an integrated wellness retreat will teach the blended nature of health and gospel missionary work. From basic remedies to Bible workers, we envision launching a network of active labourers throughout our churches and communities.
A heartfelt thanks to each one who has prayed, worked and funded the Harvest Victoria initiative. This couldn’t have been done without countless people and various church entities contributing their time, talent and treasure. One of my favourite quotes that speaks of the entire project is from Christ’s Object Lessons, p120. Speaking of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit:
“The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners reunited with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price . . . One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labour for the enlargement of His kingdom.”
You can learn more about Revive Abide here.
Kymberley McMurray is a communications coordinator at Victoria Conference.