On the 7th of January, 13 young adults from different spiritual journeys met together for a united purpose, to learn more about holiness and to deepen their personal relationships with God. The opportunity was given to attend a week long tri-territorial conference called Take Time to be Holy/ Take Time to Serve. The delegates were made up of people from the Australia Eastern, Australia Southern and New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territories.
The first half of the week was held at the Salvation Army’s leadership training facility at Stanmore in Sydney for the Take Time to be Holy conference led by Majors Neil and Sharon Clanfield from the Australia Eastern Territory. The second half happened at The Salvation Army Street Level Mission in Sydney, led by Robyn and Mitchell Evans.
The Take Time to be Holy conference included lectures by Captain Grant Sandercock- Brown, worship sessions as well as small group discussions .The lectures broadened my understanding of what holiness is, what Jesus thinks about holiness and information about the Wesleyan holiness movement. One of the most important things that I learnt from the teaching is that holiness isn’t something that cannot be achieved. As Christians, we often see God as holy therefore seeing holiness as a state of sinless perfection. But the good news is…I can be holy! Such great news! I can be holy because I am set apart, I am one of God’s chosen people and I make every effort to live a life of complete surrender to God. One of the highlights of the conference was listening to the testimonies from other delegates. There is something powerful about hearing great testimonies of people finding freedom through Christ.
Take Time to Serve was the second half of the week. Just as well we had all become close friends because we went from having our own unit, to sleeping on mattresses on the floor in a room of seven. During the days we were at Street Level we were involved in many different activities. On the first day we participated in a working bee which included painting the Salvo family store, doing some labour work, being creative by decorating the entrance way, completing odd jobs around the place and building relationships with the people at Street Level Corps.
One night we had an eye opening experience walking around Kings Cross and the surrounding areas. Kings Cross, Sydney is a place of prostitution, drug dealing, police corruption strip clubs adult shops, nightclubs and an ever increasing alcohol rate especially for young people. A highlight of my time at Street Level was the church on Friday night. I’ve been a part of The Salvation Army my whole life and I can say that as a church we are pretty accepting of all types of people. But in my mind there is still the image of a person who should attend church, someone who can sit through the meeting without causing too much distraction, who is dressed appropriately etc. This church service totally blew apart my view of the “church”…. In a good way! This is why we have “the church”. So that people who are marginalized, lost, hurting and vulnerable can come to know Jesus.
There is always going to be a reality check when going from this spiritually amazing experience, back to the ordinary grind of our daily routine of work, university and church. But life is not the same, it can’t be the same after being a part of such an incredible experience. Coming away from this week, I now have a deeper desire to be more intentional in my walk with God. This includes practicing spiritual disciplines such as reading the word, prayer and fasting. Through growing more in my relationship with God, I can see more of God’s holiness and can strive to have these same characteristics in my life. I thank God for blessing me with this wonderful opportunity!