Nth Queensland District Conference Report 2014
MOVE … to the Command of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, restoring people into the image of God.
“This was our best conference yet!” “The Worship was amazing!” “Wow, the Holy Spirit was so present throughout!” “All the messages and workshops seemed to be focused on the same thing, the Work of the Holy Spirit.”
Rev Lex Akers (main speaker) challenged us, 1. “Are you compelled by the love of Christ? (Paul) and determined to obey Jesus no matter the cost? (Peter) 2. Are you dragging yourself through life, or are you energised by the Holy Spirit? 3. In the Great Commission, are you reaching your “Samaria” – those who are different from you, who may even hate you?
Rev Rex Rigby (National Superintendent) stirred us, “Have you forgotten your calling to fly with God, like a goose among the chickens, or are you soaring like an eagle in the power of the Spirit?
Rev Stuart Hall (District Superintendent) challenged us to a closer, brighter, richer fellowship with Christ and one-another, by removing any shadows that exist between us and walking closer to one-another, opening the door for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our lives.
Zellah Wenitong (Yeppoon WMC) reminded us in the Worship workshop that worship is about HIM, and that our part is to present ourselves as an offering, holy and acceptable to Him. Zellah also led our Conference Band made up of musicians from Yeppoon, Townsville and Capital.
Rev Matthew Bolte (Australian Prayer Network) took us back to our roots (and his), tracing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from a 100 year prayer meeting under the Moravians (1727), who impacted the Wesleys, as well as a group of Pastors in the Midlands of England who influenced the selection of Wesleyan Methodist chaplains and missionaries to Australia from the first fleet onwards, and the revivals that took place under the Wesleyan Methodists in answer to prayer and the preaching of the gospel, breaking the hard hearts and transforming towns and communities. We all felt like the two walking to Emmaus, “didn’t our hearts burn within us?!” And won’t we, like them, pray and fast and plead with the Lord, to “Rend the heavens” (Is 64:1) and “pour out a spirit of grace and supplication” (Zech 12:10) upon our generation.
Rev David Collins called us to the work of mentoring. When Jesus had only three years to work, he chose to invest in 12 men. In our time-poor generation, we would do well to remember Jesus’ strategy and not squander what God has given.
Jonathan McClintock (Yeppoon) led our youth and Rev Joanne Enderby (Sarina) provided a program for our children during conference sessions. Camp Kanga staff and their food were fantastic!
DBA: DS Rev Stuart Hall (Townsville), Assist DS, Rev Keith Rose (Rocky Wesleyan), Secretary, Leonie Taylor (One Mob), Treasurer, Doris Graham (Townsville), Members: Ron McClintock, Rev Lorraine Currie, Myrtle Tilse.
DBMD: DS Rev Stuart Hall (Townsville); Chairman, Rev Keith Rose (Rocky Wesleyan), Secretary Rev Graham Smith (Yeppoon), Members: Rev Hugh Cameron (Capital), Rev Lorraine Currie (Cairns), Joshua Hall (Townsville), Andrea Bonnell (Townsville)
Wesleyan Women: Director Judy Lobley (Townsville), Secretary Zellah Wenitong (Yeppoon), Treasurer Julie Crosland (Yeppoon)
Wesleyan Young Adults Director: Rev Keith Rose (Rockhampton)
Wesleyan Youth Director: Jonathan McClintock (Yeppoon)
Wesleyan Missions Director: Julie Crosland(Yeppoon)
District Prayer Secretary: Kerryn McClintock (Yeppon)
District statistician: Alison Bunney (Rockhampton)
Seven churches … on the way to become eight with the Viti WMC, in Rockhampton under Pastor Sanaila Bolaqace, who was licensed by this conference; the establishing of a new work in Goldsborough Valley, south side of Cairns under Rev Barry and Lorraine Currie who are building a home and ministry centre; two new ministerial students added to the current 5; the goal of Provisional District Status with the addition of 31 more members to reach 200 members; 19 saved last year, we are on a target of 30 for the coming year with nearly a dozen coming to Christ since Conference.
The session by Rev Matthew Bolte on Prayer was recorded and is available on our District Website (http://nqd.wesleyan.org.au/prayer). One powerful cameo in the many shared by Pastor Matthew from our heritage was this:
John Watsford, born to convict parents, joined other “anxious enquirers” at a prayer meeting to seek for salvation; his distress deepened, until, in desperation, he prayed the sinner’s prayer. The burden of his sin rolled away and his joy was very great. He learned of the necessity of his life being totally surrendered to God; of him being fully sanctified, and that he must work for God. “Baptised with the Holy Spirit”, he had a great longing to bring others to Jesus, and to join the many other men of great spiritual power who believed in prayer and fasting.
Religion had been in a low state. Their circuit pastor was a good man, but old and nearly worn out. He detested noise and noted those who were enthusiastic, refusing to invite them to pray out loud in the prayer meetings. Two brother who were on the banned list were soon joined by Watsford, and they asked him to join them in a private arrangement. Every morning, noon and night they were to plead for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the revival of God’s work, to fast each Friday, and to attend the weekly prayer meetings, and to pray silently, since they were banned. They also cautioned, ‘Now mind, you must not say a word against our minister, or have any unkind feeling toward him, because he does not allow us to take part in the meetings. He knows what he is doing, and has his own reasons for it. If we complain, or speak against him, the Lord will not hear our prayers.’
At the end of the fourth week, on Sunday evening, Rev William Walker preached a powerful sermon. People flocked to the prayer meeting that followed, filling the school room. Sighs and suppressed sobs began to fill the room. The old minister was concluding with the benediction, when he stopped mid-sentence and sobbed aloud. Finally, he called out “Brother Watsford, pray!” He did, and so did his two friends. They had a hold of God. People in every part of the room were overwhelmed by the power of God. What a cry for mercy! Some passers-by came running to see what was happening and were struck down in great distress. The meeting went past midnight. Day after day and week after week the work went on, and how many were converted, and among them many young people!”
Challenge: Pastor Matthew Bolte reminded us, that when “religion gets to a low state” Wesleyan Methodist know what to do. Like their predecessors, they turn to the Lord in prayer and fasting. I am convinced that this is why the Spirit of God was so present among us during Conference – a number were in prayer and fasting for our District Conference – and is this practise that we desire to uphold, until the Lord pours out His Holy Spirit upon all our churches and for the work of God to be greatly strengthened in our District and its communities.