More Precious Than Gold
Nearly 6,000 people heard U.S. evangelist Will Graham preach in Kalgoorlie across the weekend of 18–20 May. Over a packed three days in the central Western Australian city, 550 people in the crowd came forward to make a personal response to the message of Jesus. Of these, 240 were salvation decisions. To God be the glory!
In a successful effort to show unity, a team of leaders from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from Australia, supported by a team from Canada, worked for two years to ensure the Goldfields Celebration occurred and included all 17 churches across the community.
The event included a youth program on Friday night, KidzCelebration on Saturday morning, Gospel music event on Saturday afternoon, a Gospel event Saturday night, combined church service Sunday morning and a Gospel event on Sunday night. All events had very strong attendance. With a total population of just 30,000 people in the Kalgoorlie Boulder area, we praise God for an attendance of 5,900!
The program itself was a mix of international guests and local artists. Country music and Gospel musician Steve Grace had been in the area for the five weeks leading up to the celebration – visiting outlying communities – many of them indigenous – and inviting people to attend. Many took up the challenge to travel to Kalgoorlie for the Celebration. American band The Afters was a highlight for attendees. Steve Grace and The Afters used a combination of quality music and videos with high production values in their brackets.
The Goldfields Celebration also featured the remarkable talent of indigenous Christian musicians. Over the weekend, the Brownley Gospel Singers, which includes well-known Kalgoorlie City Councillor Linden Brownley performed. Also featured was Pastor Ben Hakalitz, the drummer for Yothu Yindi – who recently performed at Commonwealth Games and toured with Midnight Oil – and Pastor Joe Pulea, an associate from Living Light Gospel Church.
A special highlight of the weekend was the combined worship service on Sunday morning. Almost 1,700 people attended this worship service filled with energy, celebration, passionate worship and a clear Gospel challenge. The worship was led by Rob Scott, the worship pastor from Margaret Court’s church, Victory Life in Perth. The musicians and choir were all from local churches. The choir included people from several nations, many being African. The Africans’ natural and authentic expression of culture and worship through the music at this service was infectious. It was a surprise to come to central Australia and experience worship with an international flavour at an event like this.
At each of the events, Will Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, presented the Gospel and asked people to make a choice to follow Jesus. Will Graham has come to Australia many times over the past decade, exclusively to regional areas. He has a love for these areas in Australia and his respect for our country and people is evident each time he speaks. The Gospel was presented clearly and respectfully at each gathering, where people from all ages and many nationalities responded.
The Goldfields Celebration is a great example of churches working together and the cooperation between Australian ministry leaders and resources from the U.S. and Canada. There is no doubt that the church must use a variety of approaches and styles to be effective in sharing Jesus across our nations. Events like the Goldfields Celebration show that large-scale events still have a place in evangelism.
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