Hillsong Conference First Night - The massive congregation in the grand stand under the magnificent bright lights saw delegates from around the world eagerly awaiting to hear a sound, a voice, a sentence....
Speak, we're listening!
This is the theme of Hillsong Conference 2015.
Five full days of preaching and teaching with the focus of championing the cause of local churches everywhere - with guest speakers including Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book 'The Purpose Driven Life', leadership guru, John Maxwell and the pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, Joseph Prince.
Enormous numbers have booked for the day sessions, flocking to this year's conference. The opening night was packed to capacity - numbering more than 21,000 people and overflowing into outside marquees. The setting, Allphones arena in Homebush, the home of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
The night opened with echoes of the theme 'Speak, we're listening!' represented through the plethora of noises we hear in our daily lives then breaking into the sweet melodic songs from Hillsong United's new album, Empires.
'Here, Now', one of the tracks was a perfect start to the conference, the key message in the song, 'to still hearts,' and hear from God.
Following worship, an interview with Fred Market on the 'seven pillars of influence,' focusing on the topic of 'religion' and religion's role in society - that the Church, you see is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church.
The presentation highlighted the staggering statistic that 80% of poverty occurs in regions where the church is not present â "the Church is right now going through very dark times." There is a spiritual thirst and to overcome this thirst, the Church needs not only to strengthen existing churches, but to plant new churches in dark places â beginning with cities of influence.
The night culminated with senior pastor of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston preaching a message, 'When Faith Talks'. In a day and age when we are surrounded by words, 'I wonder if we ever think about the power of our word!' he exclaimed. "We need to learn the language of God who is speaking to us."
He encouraged and inspired those present, speaking faith into people's relationships, their lives, their businesses, their marriages, homes and churches, and aligning the message to the theme of this year's conference, "Speak, we're listening."
Hillsong Conference 2015 beckons to all, 'Come ...Come... All.' There is a place for all in the rooms of Hillsong Conference and the evenings are free. If you haven't already registered it's not too late.
Hillsong Conference Nights continue all week until Friday July 3 at Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. Free and open to the public. Nights are packed with creative items, powerful praise & worship with Hillsong United and Hillsong Worship and incredible teaching from world-class communicators.
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 6pm (doors open 5pm)
Wednesday 4pm (doors open 3pm)
For the full program or to register, go to http://hillsong.com/conference/sydney/#program
Nathaniel Truong is a writer living in Sydney's South Western Suburbs. He runs a finance brokerage and consulting business.