Wednesday March 3rd 2010 I was flying from Brisbane to Adelaide, engrossed in my newspaper when I quite distinctly felt the Spirit of God move upon my heart, prompting me to think through some things that had been weighing on me over the past few months. I quickly got out my red pen and started making some notes all over that page to ensure I accurately recorded what I felt the Spirit was speaking to me about.
Over the past few years we have been very intentional in lifting the World Missions vision of our Pastors and Churches throughout Australia. This flowed out of my quite prophetic God encounter while I was teaching at Bethel Bible College (PNG) and the Kingdom-expanding decisions that we made as a National Executive Team in 2004, which our National Council unanimously endorsed at our International Conference in May 2005. I remember when we were all on our knees, calling out to God to enable us to outwork this BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to ‘have a CRC presence in every nation on planet earth by our Centenary in 2045’.
This overarching spiritual vision and our catch cry that we launched at our 2003 Conference with our first Australian Strategic Directions 2003-2008 “Creating Churches – Changing Worlds”, has really gripped our movement. I don’t have any doubts that this was of God and fitted into the ethos that Leo Harris and our other CRC fathers (including Barry Silverback) have exemplified throughout their lives and ministry. A new generation of Pastors and leaders who did not know Leo and who were not deeply connected with our vision and values have really come on board to pursue this huge faith-oriented dream.
This God encounter came out of a big question that was exercising my heart for quite some time – how can our present Australian scene (i.e. our 125-130 churches and 16,700 community) sustain this massive and worldwide vision in the long term? We are all aware of the spiritual, pastoral, financial and organisational pressures on many of our wonderful Pastors and Churches to maintain what we presently have in the Nations, and this has caused many of us to pray like Elijah with real urgency and earnestness of heart (James 5:17-18).
While on the plane I sensed the Holy Spirit’s encouragement that we can accomplish the dream He has given us as we move into an era of rapid growth. The Australian scene has to continue being the financial and organisational engine as we work together with the awesome men and women He is raising up across our CRC world in the Asia-Pacific region. We are partners but Australia has a unique snervant role to facilitate and outwork this worldwide vision.
Now it’s 2010 and i felt God saying that we are ready to set our own BHAG to double our movement by 2020 and to double it again by 2030. I was reminded that the spiritual and ministry developmental framework to make this possible is now in place. Since 2003 we have embraced some fairly significant growth initiatives that with a burst of fresh faith and reliance on the Holy Spirit will become growth engines.
I started jumping around in my seat with excitement at where we could be by 2020 and 2030 and its direct linkage to reaching the nations and people groups of the world. I then started projecting and writing down the vision and dreaming of possible growth scenarios, wrecking my newspaper in the process.
Over the next few months I undergirded this with a lot of prayer and reflection until I could share it with our National Executive and Chairman’s Commission at our scheduled June gathering. I was greatly buoyed by their unanimous endorsement as we all felt that this fresh visionary and faith stretching growth target should be shared at our upcoming International People’s Convention.
We also sensed that God has been directing our planning process for the next two National Conferences which will be focussing on the front and back end of the Great Commission (ie Evangelism and Discipleship).
These two CRC National Conferences will build on this years “Reach for the Nations” theme and will set the pace that our National Action Groups, along with our State Executives, can purposefully work towards in the achievement of this visionary faith goal.
Fellow Pastors, Leaders, Members and Friends of the CRC, there is no question that from the progress we have made and the lessons we have learnt over the past eight years, we are so well positioned for significant growth as a movement that could see the CRC triple in size over the next two decades. This will provide the needed spiritual, financial and organisational resources by Australia for the rapid increase of ministry and mission to the world.
This is not a new vision or new direction. It is taking our existing Australian Strategic Directions 2008-2013 to the next level and ramping up our current initiatives to see exponential growth across the movement. I call upon every person who belongs to our CRC denominational family to unite with us in purposeful prayer that Jesus Christ will be glorified as we work with Him to see His Kingdom greatly extended here in Australia through the CRC.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Pastor Bill Vasilakis
Australian National Chairman
CRC Churches International September, 2010