Well, as promised, here's a post-conference update.
Wow. Just flipping, wow. I have no idea where to start.
You have to start somewhere so I'll start here: that was a totally life-changing event. Not like oh, wow my ipod/phone/mac/pad/thing is life changing, but actually, I don't think I will ever be the same.
The Ben Brunskill that exists now has a new outlook, a new vision, a new heart and a bunch of new friends compared to the Ben Brunskill that set off casually to go to a conference on friday night.
So what was it like? Much like every other conference I've ever been to. There was worship (via music) and there was teaching. But what worship, and what teaching it was.
So the worship:
I think the reason that often worship fails to take off in many services is a lack of people actually responding to God. Constantly, people seem to be just waiting for the sermon or lunch or sport on TV after church.
They don't really seem to latch on to the opportunity to chase after God in prayer, thanksgiving and sacrifice. They begin to get there after a few songs.
Often, the first 2/3 songs are just throwaways, just getting people in the mood.
What made the worship at this conference really incredible, is that there was no warm up song.
No effort made, or even needed, to get people engaging with God.
I'm not sure how many people were there, but I would say 250+, and every single one of them came expecting God to turn up in a powerful way. All of those people are from local church worship teams, and they know how to get into God's presence. So everyone just went there. We had a rushed soundcheck, no time for rehearsal.
We started worshipping, the congregation started worshipping and God's presence just flooded the place in seconds. We just worshipped, some of us onstage with a sound system, lights and instruments, some with voices and hands raised, standing, kneeling and dancing in the congregation. all the same body, all equals, with ONE HEART. one purpose, one vision. To worship our wonderful God.
Unity commands a blessing. (Psalm 133.3) God says where two or three gather in His name, his presence will be there (Matthew 18:20) and it was and in a powerful, incredible way.
And that was just the first worship set. It only got better and better.
God was stirring something up. He really was. We were totally challenged and guided.
Jordan Smith, a pastor, not a musician or singer, spoke on the importance of worship, and how worship needs to be central to our lives and our churches.
Libby Huirua blew the roof off with a message on being remarkable for God, growing your gifting and heart and achieving greatness not for money, pride or popularity, but as a signpost to show what God can do with ordinary lives dedicated to Him.
Henry Seeley spoke on how it's our heart that controls how we worship, and the importance of our worship, our lives, our relationships and everything flowing from a heart that is passionate and dedicated to God. He also spoke about letting your heart go first, not your skills. If your heart is right, and your priorities are right, God will upgrade your skills and enable you to achieve more for God's glory. I can testify that he is completely right and we all need to constant check out hearts and attitude.
Wayne Hui preached the entire old testament. And no one fell asleep ;-)
He was focused on the topic of God taking Israel to victory, even though it took a long time, God's plan came to pass and it will in our lives too. He talked about the importance of worship as a prophetic act, and an act of spiritual warfare.
Everyone threw out dozens of incredible keys, scriptures, tips and it will take me a few more days to just decipher a fraction of this stuff.
So that was Equippers 'One Heart' conference. I'm so, so glad that I went, and I'm even gladderer that I brought some of the team with me.
I honestly feel like I've gone to a whole new level in my personal relationship with God and also in my capacity as a musician, worshipper, leader and teacher.
watch this space - the spiritual atmosphere in new zealand has changed. we are taking back our land.