Sydney Conference Encourages Enlarged Vision

Attendees of a two-day conference in Sydney were encouraged to be brave and courageous visionaries for the extension of God’s Kingdom in Australia and overseas.

The head of the largest church-based charity in Australia encouraged attendees of a two-day conference in Sydney to be brave and courageous visionaries for the extension of God’s Kingdom in Australia and overseas.

At the end of last week’s Encountering God conference, Wesley Mission’s Superintendent, Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, gave the closing address, stating that to be really effective in God’s service, believers must live with an enlarged vision. The conference, held at Wesley Mission’s Conference Center in Sydney, was the joint event of the Wesley Institute and Wesley Mission’s Pastoral Services.

“A narrow, negative vision limits all growth,” Moyes stated in his address, titled “Enlarging Your Vision.”

Citing from Proverbs 29:18, Moyes said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

“Without a vision the people get out of hand,” he added. “Think how this impacts on your ministry.”

According to Wesley Mission head, the Encountering God Conference was designed as a wake-up call to churches and individuals, encouraging them to face reality and to enlarge their vision of what can be done for Christ and the Church.

The conference aimed to:

(1) Enable people involved in pastoral ministry to share and pray with each other in a supportive atmosphere of praise and thanks to God;
(2) Answer the “big” pastoral issues of life from the perspective of evangelical biblical theology, with real-life illustrations and applications;
(3) Refresh Australian churches with new ideas from practitioners in a range of ‘cutting edge’ ministries; and
(4) Transform Australian society for Christ through the Spirit applying the living Word of God to a culture that has lost its way.

The conference brought together a range of Christian leaders from Australia and overseas to look at what it means to encounter God in a post-modern world shaped by shifting values and how believers can encounter God in His people. Presentations covered a diversity of topics such as; Encountering God in Weakness, Encountering God in the Homeless, Encountering God in Our Sexuality, Encountering God in the Simpsons.

During the conference, American guest speaker the Rev Steve Fry took a fresh look at the nature of worship in his keynote address, “Encountering God in Our Worship,” encouraging believers to see worship as anything they do before God – from being assembled together in praise to the more mundane activities of life in the work-place or home.

In his second address, “Encountering God in Our Unity,” Fry raised important questions regarding “oneness” in Christ including how unity is maintained without sacrificing our God-given diversity and what issues lead to unity in Christ and what issues divide.

Also speaking at the conference was the Rev Dr Phil Marshall, Senior Minister of Newtown Mission, who faced tough issues in his presentation, “Evangelism in Post Modern Culture: Proclaiming the ‘Unknown God’ to a Cynical World.” The presentation looked at how believers evangelize in a context where the perceived “dogmatism” of the Christian faith is rejected, and the validity of truth claims are questioned.

Encouraged by the positive feedback from participants, the conference organizers have agreed to host another Encounter at a similar time next year.