Adventists Plan Gold Coast Campaign
“Last Empire” comes to Australia’s Gold Coast “playground”
By Mark A. Kellner, news editor
ASeventh-day Adventist evangelist is about to tackle an affluent, popular urban stretch of Australia’s east coast, bringing the three angels’ messages to life in 2014.
“The Last Empire” evangelistic series, with Anthony Kent, a native of Australia, will take place May 2 through May 30, 2014, and will be centered in the city of Gold Coast, whose population is just under 600,000, but is growing by 16,000 people annually.
The city of Gold Coast covers an area of 540 square miles (1,400 square kilometers), and is not far from Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, which has a population of 2.1 million.
The venues for “The Last Empire” series will include the Gold Coast Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, Reedy Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church in a small Gold Coast suburb, and the Coastlife Adventist Church, which meets in Robina, a 33-year-old planned community that also adjoins Gold Coast.
“It’s in the newest cities that we’re finding the greatest challenge: cities are becoming increasingly secular and harder to reach, and we haven’t had the platform that was left by the pioneers in the past to build upon in the more recent cities,” Kent explained. “We don’t have any long-term, longstanding institutions to build a hub around. There’s no hospital, no publishing house, no conference office right in the middle of the territory. We do have a school or two, which is encouraging, and as regards those schools, their enrollments are largely from non-Adventists. That’s a great opportunity as well.”
How to approach this? Kent insists that prayer is critically important. “Without the power of the Holy Spirit all our efforts will be futile,” Kent confessed, and added, “It would be wonderful if the world church would pray earnestly for these people, that the Lord will draw them to Himself.” In September 2013 Kent was scheduled to visit the region and meet with pastors and local church members to organize preparations. After the visit, and up until the May 2014 kickoff, those congregations and pastors will train to be ready for outreach.
“This is about committed Adventist Christians, about reaching out, encouraging them to reach out, and training them to reach out,” Kent explains. “And it is about offering a resource for those Adventists who are reaching out to bring their friends, to move things along, to help them facilitate a walk with Jesus and an experience with Jesus, and be prepared for the return of Jesus.”
Thus, “The Last Empire” (see Adventist World, July 2013, http://bit.ly/13H45My) is relational and personal, avoiding a doctrinaire drumbeat that might scare off people living in a highly secular society. The essence of the message will be there, Kent said, but with a personal orientation.
“In many respects it’s focusing people on their future—what’s their future, what’s their destiny,” he explained. “Essentially we’re wanting to—in a truthful, honest way—encourage people to look at what they’re facing in their lives, and what is coming next for Planet Earth.”
Knowing that many come to the Gold Coast region in search of things other than faith, Kent is aware that lots of difficult work – “hard yakka,” as Australians might say—lies ahead.
“This is not a walk in the park. This is a tough, challenging assignment,” he admits.
More information about the South Queensland Conference, which is sponsoring “The Last Empire,” can be found at http://sq.adventist.org.au/.