by Greg Gardiner
I’m told the flight from Dallas to Brisbane is one of the longest commercial airline flights currently scheduled in the world—it’s almost 17 hours of non-stop flying. So, if you are going to come this far, you may as well make the most of it! And that was the attitude that saw Acts 29 President Matt Chandler speak at more than 15 events across 3 cities in 1 week.
The chief purpose for Pastor Matt’s visit was the first Acts 29 National Conference for Australia & New Zealand, hosted by Pastor Guy Mason and City On A Hill Church in Melbourne. But, in order to raise the profile of Acts 29 in other key cities, we decided to organize city-wide gospel events as well. It began in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.
The day before the Brisbane city-wide event was scheduled as a rest day, (recovering from jet-lag and the long flight the day before). It just happened to be Sunday and so I suggested cheekily that Matt could come and preach at our church plant – Disciples Church – not really expecting he’d say yes. But he did.
Let me give you some context: We celebrated our 2nd anniversary of public services this year. We have 2 services on Sunday, 10am and 5pm. We currently average 120 across the 2 services. This would be a much smaller congregation than The Village Church in Dallas!
We didn’t advertise Pastor Matt was preaching at DC; didn’t put it on the website; didn’t post it on Facebook. We wanted people to come to the city-wide event the following night. But, somehow, word got out and we had over 200 people turn up to our 5pm service. We only have 200 seats, so needless to say, the room was full!
I’ve dealt with a number of “famous” Christians over the years. Most wouldn’t have done what Matt did. He came to our small (but growing) church, met with our elders and ministry team, preached at the service, then stayed behind chatting with people and generally being super encouraging. Matt, thank you mate, that was a blessing to us. And that’s the value of this network. Not that the President is going to come and preach at everyone’s church, but it is that mark of humility we have been talking about.
"Whether you minister in a large or small church, we are in this together, and we help one another where we possibly can."
The following day saw Matt speak for 2 hours to students at the Queensland Theological College. From there it was a lunch with key church leaders from across Brisbane, and then to the Convention Centre for our city-wide event called Proclaim Jesus, where 1,000 people would turn out to hear the Gospel.
At the Newport Retreat 2 years ago I met Aaron Ivey. I loved the humble heart that went with his musical gifts, and I thought it would be great to get the Austin Stone Worship team to Australia some time. And this was the time—our thanks to Pastor Matt Carter and the team at “the Stone” for giving them leave to come. So, Aaron and the rest of the band joined us to lead music on the night, and Pastor Matt Chandler preached the Gospel.
There was a Bob Dylan concert that night in the hall next door. A reviewer in the local paper the next morning said it was “a religious experience”. I wondered if he’d attended the wrong event!
What I loved seeing was, people from our church bringing their unsaved friends and family along that night. And not just from our church, but many churches across Brisbane. I found myself standing at the back praying specifically for certain individuals as they came in and took their seats. Whether they put their hand up to follow Jesus at the end of the night or not was, at that moment, not as important as the fact that they were there, and they would hear the Good News of Jesus. Many did respond, and we praise God for this and we continue to pray that seeds sown that night will, in the Lord’s time, bear salvation fruit.
The following day, the Acts 29 team moved on to Sydney, but that wasn’t the end of the effect of this visit for our state. Around 100 people from Queensland went to Melbourne later in the week for the National Conference. Our prayer is that we will see many more church planters raised up in Queensland to plant new churches and see people won to Christ.
To Him be the glory.
The Acts 29 Conference | North America will be held in Dallas, November 6-8. Click below for more information: