GCI-Australia recently held a conference for pastors followed by a national conference. Here is a report from GCI-Australia national director John McLean.
We were blessed by two wonderful, positive, joy and love-filled conferences on the Gold Coast. Over 50 pastors and their spouses gathered for the first one on Friday, June 12. Then on Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, the group grew to over 200 as we held our national conference. Both were great learning opportunities, occasions for connection and re-connection, and a vital spiritual boost to all who attended.
The theme of the national conference, A Flourishing Life, focused attention on the nature of God and our union with Christ, and what that means for a truly flourishing human life. I began the conference with these words:
Since the divine reality is that God is love, human flourishing is about participating in that lavish love and grace, and sharing this with others. We live well and flourish best when we find joy loving God who loves us and loving our neighbors in him. In this way the Christian faith has much to contribute to the common good, and to the flourishing of individuals, groups, communities and nations.
The fellowship of the Spirit was powerfully evident in the love, peace, unity and grace experienced by those attending. Joseph Tkach presented an “International Family Update,” which included exciting reports of a large number of churches seeking GCI affiliation. Dr. Tkach also gave a session entitled “God is Love.” He also introduced communion at the end of the conference. Gary Deddo spoke on “Union with Christ,” “Life in the Spirit” and “Faith, Hope and Love.” Guest speaker Keith Farmer spoke on “Flourishing as a Christian,” and Cathy Deddo gave a session on “Living and Growing in Christ,” along with several elective sessions.
Many commented on how much they learned and some told how life-changing the conference had been. Everyone was inspired and encouraged by Dr. Tkach’s talk about the wonderful and surprising things happening in our denomination around the world. Following the conference Dr. Tkach made this comment:
I very much enjoyed taking part. Gary and Cathy Deddo, and Charles Albrecht accompanied me. In addition to those attending from all around Australia, a wonderful dimension to the conference was the participation of brothers and sisters from Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Nauru, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. We truly are an international communion of grace.
Charles Albrecht, from our denominational home office in Glendora said, “I was genuinely inspired to see how God is working through our pastors and members in Australia.” Rex Morgan, from New Zealand, said, “In addition to the inspiration gained through the excellent messages, the conference was a great opportunity for fellowshipping with old friends from around the region, and developing new friendships.”
Dr. Deddo enthusiastically endorsed the conference, commenting how valuable it was and how important it was to keep doing conferences like this. Dr. Farmer said that the theme, A Flourishing Life, was one of the most important themes the Australian Christian Church could focus on, in terms of mission.