--Romulo Nayacalevu, Fiji
Hereis a personal journey with reflections that will enrich the lives of allreaders - he was opened up to manyexciting new ventures in Australia and into countries where revival and renewalis vibrant, changing many lives. --Rev Dr John Olley
From the Author
I am grateful for that grounding in evangelicalfaith, especially the truth of the Bible, which I believe now more stronglythan ever. However, when I later servedthe Lord as a minister in Australia and teacher in Papua New Guinea, I soon learnedthat our way of being the church carries a lot of cultural baggage. That may not be wrong - just limited. I could see the Church in the Pacific, livewith fresh faith, grappling with cultural and personal transformation, anddealing with the typical challenges of human relationships, which are part ofchurch life in any culture.
Bounding across the vivid green ridges andgorges of Papua New Guinea's highlands, I found a gem in Meg, my wonderfulwife, now in heaven. We were bothAustralian missionaries and brought our first child home to our bamboo andgrass house in the majestic highlands.We became grateful grandparents, proud of our extended family of threechildren and their children. Together wehave explored dynamic renewal and transforming revival.
The opportunity opened for me to work inthe Methodist and the Uniting Church in Australia as a Baptist minister. There I met many compassionate friends whoencompassed and encouraged a wide range of views. I am grateful for the experience gainedthere, mainly in innovative Christian Education ministries and creativetheological college teaching, as well as studying fearless missiology withFuller Theological Seminary in America.
During the 1970's, we encountered - or rather,were encountered by - the wave of renewal and revival. So I gathered reports on revivals. The church publishers produced a series of mystudy books, including Living in the Spirit and Church on Fire, whichexamine these vibrant, explosive developments.Our Baptist family was part of Wesley Methodist Church, which from 1977became Wesley Uniting Church in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. There I assisted in a team ministry in atraditional morning service and a charismatic evening service that grewrapidly. I worked with dedicated layleaders of multiplying home groups and community houses to care for the growingcongregation. Our home was one of thosecommunity houses, with between two and eight others living with us for varyingperiods. Those lively days of renewaland revival challenged and changed us all.
Then we were part of Gateway Baptist Church inBrisbane which grew from 200 to 1200 in a decade from the mid-eighties, andlater with Kenmore Baptist Church, another contemporary and renewed church ofover 2,000 in Brisbane. There I told the leaders of the 6 a.m. daily prayergroup that I would join them if the Lord woke me. He did.Daily. I was surprised, and notalways enthusiastic to jump out of bed in the dark, cold winter mornings.
My work with various church traditions gave megreat scope for renewal ministry. Partof that ministry was leading the interdenominational Renewal Fellowship inBrisbane. I deeply appreciate thesupport and encouragement of that group, especially traveling as teams tovarious churches and to other countries.I'll always remember the June monsoon rains in Ghana that ceased on thefirst night of our open-air, combined-churches crusade there and began againthe day after our last meeting. I lovedteaching inaugural courses on the History of Revivals and on Signs and Wondersat the warmly hospitable Asian Theological Seminary in Manila in thePhilippines in their hot summer schools.Our mission teams trekked to dedicated little churches in the cities andvillages of Nepal, India and Sri Lanka where a bewildering array offaith-filled Bible Schools inspired us all.They ranged from small local church ones in Nepal and Sri Lanka to the600-student campus of the indigenous Indian Inland Mission near New Delhi inIndia.
In the nineties I began editing theinterdenominational Renewal Journal and we published 20 issues in a decade. They are now available on the web along with mission and publication news.
I taught at the School of Ministries atChristian Heritage College in Brisbane.The college offers degrees in ministry, education, social sciences,business and arts. Initially theyinvited me to write the submission for the government accredited Bachelor ofMinistry degree, and then I continued teaching there beyond being retired, orre-fired. Their School of Ministries isalso the Bible School for Christian Outreach Centre, an Australian revivalmovement with over 200 churches in Australia and more than 1400 in othernations.
Christians are one in Christ. That is a theological fact and eternalreality. As we rediscover that realitythrough repentance, reconciliation, unity and love, we also discover revivaltransformation. God honors his promisein 2 Chronicles 7:14: Ifmy people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seekmy face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and willforgive their sin and will heal their land.