Our family’s usual rhythm is to attend church on Sundays.
On this trip, Sundays have often been travel days, so we haven’t tried any churches in the communities we’ve been visiting. Instead, we’ve been enjoying the podcasts of our home pastor’s sermons (Check out www.gracecommunity.ca if interested). But we intentionally planned to keep a couple of Australian Sundays free so that we could attend Hillsong.
Hillsong is a church originally based in Sydney, known worldwide for its worship music. We’ve been blessed at our own churches by music written by their worship leaders. So we were excited to visit their Melbourne main campus this weekend, and the founding location in Sydney in a couple of weeks.
They meet in a downtown theatre. The signage says, “Welcome Home.” Within seconds of our arrival, one of their dozens of greeters had literally run to connect us with another Canadian visiting that day. (A biotech researcher from Victoria, in town for a conference).
The format is an interesting one — live music and announcements (from their very articulate, stylish, young female lead pastor in Melbourne), followed by live-stream preaching from their founder located at the main campus in Sydney (that seats 8000), followed by more live music.
During the “mingle minute” to say hello to one another partway through the service, someone spotted Jonah and invited him to youth — he went, and came back bubbling with enthusiasm about the coffee shop they’d visited and the city-wide youth event scheduled for Friday. Jonah then introduced me to someone who worked at a the ranch we’re visiting later this week.
Not our usual style, but it energized us and gave us lots to talk about. We did feel welcome. And at home.