Hillsong Conference 2017, July 5, 2017 (Photo credit: Hillsong Church)
“He was always there,” said Retired NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione of Jesus as he recalled some of the harder days in the job. “In fact, the tougher it got, the more he was there.”
“We’re all influencers,” he stated unequivocally, “be it good or bad. It’s up to you what you are going to be.”
Good leadership begets good leadership doesn’t it? That certainly seems apparent with the calibre of speakers today for Hillsong Conference 2017 Day 2.
Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston kicked off the morning preaching a message on Kings and Queens. Holding up a three-year-old little girl he declared, “you just don’t know what is in her future and the lives she will impact.” It’s something former NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione came back to when he spoke later in the day. The notion that we are capable of incredible exploits in this lifetime with the right leadership and wisdom was a key point in the day.
The Spheres session had as its objective to communicate the relevance and what is possible by placing Jesus at the centre of one’s work in any sphere of life, whether education, politics, business, or media and entertainment, to name a few. Speakers included Joseph Paulo of the Cronulla Sharks, Bobby Gruenewald, Founder of the YouVersion Bible Ap. Tash Lockhart, finalist on ‘The Voice’ spoke about protecting integrity and values, whatever the cost, and that was only some of what was communicated in this extremely unorthodox addition to a religious conference. What’s the message? You don’t have to be a Pastor to bring hope to your workplace. You don’t have to talk about the Bible to be Jesus to somebody. You don’t have to set about to have a massive influence on people to have a massive influence on people.
The ‘Let’s Talk Church’ session was surprisingly engaging considering the narrow focus of church ministry for many present. Engaging because, Brian Houston used the platform to discuss internationally contextual issues in relation to the spreading of the gospel message. This tied in nicely with the idea of God being ‘closer’ and available to his people.
This was tastefully followed by a petition to those who would consider it to sponsor children living below the poverty line in Indonesia. Joel Abell, Lead Pastor Australia, and the think tank behind Spheres and Church of the Air (Hillsong’s latest campus extension meaning access to the live link of Hillsong services for remote communities who would otherwise not have a church to attend), has the idea that by sponsoring children from one area en masse, there could be a significant and undeniable impact.
It was a Christ-centred, other-centred day which left everyone present feeling audibly inspired. The breakout area was packed afterwards with people feeding back about the morning, sharing revelations and insights and hot chips with cheese; an extremely satisfying day it seemed.
All of this was even prior to the heavenly Beth Moore taking to the platform for Night 2 of the Conference. Looking like she’d just stepped off a cloud, Beth Moore took to the stage with the same fashionable elegance she has shown on prior engagements at Hillsong church. “You don’t just read the Bible,” she said passionately. “You engage with it.” Transformation was her message: that no matter the journey you’ve been on, there is gold on the inside of you. “When he has tried me I will come out as gold” she said to a captivated 21 000 strong arena. You could hear them clapping in the overflow marquee outside.
To cap off an incredible evening at Hillsong Conference, Lauren Daigle, winner of the 2016 Billboard Music Award for ‘Top Christian Album’ and arguably the biggest name in Christian music today, performed a set. Brian Houston was so chuffed with her singing that he recruited her for Hillsong’s ‘United’ band and she collaborated with Taya and the crew to lead the arena in praise and worship.
The bar is certainly set high for Day 3, where, as Houston often jokes, “anything could happen, and it probably will.”
Hillsong Conference 2017, July 5, 2017 (Photo credit Aaron Jagdath)
QUICK FACT SHEET
What: Hillsong Conference 2017 (Including Hillsong United, Young & Free and Lauren Daigle)
When: Tuesday July 4 – Friday July 7 2017
Where: Qudos Arena, Sydney Olympic Park
Cost: Nights sessions are free and begin at 6pm (Queues start at around 4.30pm so get there early!)
For details or to register, go to: https://hillsong.com/conference/sydney/
David Luschwitz is a Sydney-based writer and teacher.
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