Image: Participants at the Rise Conference for 2022 joining together in worship.
By Josh Gibbon
Earlier this week emerging leaders from Churches of Christ across Australia gathered at Stanwell Tops for the first nation-wide conference of its kind since the early 2000’s.
A total of 52 emerging leaders and 29 mentors came together from every state for teaching, worship, mentoring, and connection under the banner “RISE”.
Coordinator Carl Milne, from Churches of Christ in South Australia explains the event’s vision, originally cast by Charlie Burke, from Oak City Church: “RISE seeks to build a national identity, allowing leaders to realise they are a part of a bigger movement,” he said.
“RISE seeks to affirm who we are as a national movement and the connection we have as Churches of Christ.
“RISE also seeks to be a place for refreshment for our leaders,” he continued.
“A place where leaders can get away from their places of ministry to receive and be ministered to.
A place where they can receive fresh vision, encouragement, rest and connection with other leaders, and mentors in our movement.”
Over three days, the leaders heard from key voices of Christian leadership in Australia, including Tim Costello, Jossy Chacko, Melinda Dwight, Keith Farmer, and Rob Nyhuis.
A recurring theme in the teaching across the conference was a call for emerging leaders to discover the opportunity for reaching our world in the current times.
Tim Costello shared about staying tuned into the alternate story of humility and compassion that the Gospel calls us to, even as Christianity is reported a minority now in Australia.
He exhorted the leaders to seek unity rather than tribalism in this age.
Jossy Chacko spoke from Isaiah 54, encouraging leaders that in desolate times this passage calls them to keep singing, stretch wide their tents, and expand the vision God has given them – to prepare for even greater things. This was followed by a time of extended worship and prayer ministry, which many leaders came forward to receive.
Service pastor at Restore Church in Castle Hill, Tom Lewis, reflected on his experience at RISE as an emerging leader, “I’d say I’ve come away feeling encouraged that now is the time to work hard, press in, and look outward in my ministry.
It was a blessing to get a snapshot of the wider Churches of Christ community, be in it for a few days, and feel unified in our calling to go deeper and further.”
Carl and the organising team hope to run RISE every second year moving forward to foster deep national connection between the next generation of leaders across Churches of Christ.
Read more stories of Fresh Hope HERE