In 2016 Pastor Brian declared “New Roads and New Rivers” over our church. At the end of the year Pastor Bobbie spoke on “re-imagining”. As I pondered both of these ideas I received clarity on the season we are in as a college and confirmation on what is ahead for us – a season of carving out new roads, new rivers, and new avenues of discipleship and education. The season ahead for us at Hillsong College is new and exciting!
A few years ago there was an American TV series whose name really caught my attention. I have to confess that I NEVER watched a single episode of the series or researched its content or narrative. Nevertheless, its title, ‘Breaking Bad’ arrested me. It made me think that this could be a show about the life and ministry of Jesus. He saw a blind person and healed them, a bound person and released them, a hungry person and fed them – this is breaking bad. The Apostle Peter spoke of how God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil… (Acts 10:38). What did Jesus do by the power of the Holy Spirit? Break bad! A new season for God’s people was being introduced on the earth.
On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, following the ascension of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 1:8ff). This day marked a new era in history and a new day for the people of God. God was working in new ways to restore humanity unto Himself and this included ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord’ (2:21), Jew and gentile alike. Further, the “everyone” referred to in the scripture included literally, ‘everyone’: sons, daughters, young, old, slave, and free. All classes, all people! The Apostle Peter confirmed this at the council of Jerusalem when he commented on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that, “He made no distinction between us and them” (Acts 15:9). Whilst salvation was always intended for all people, the gifts normally bestowed on the few, were given to the many. Therefore, the NEW thing that God was doing to bring about His salvation on earth included as many people as possible, from all walks of life, in order to reach all walks of life. The day of Pentecost marked a NEW era! A new era where people were filled with the Holy Spirit for the purpose of “breaking bad” and seeing the gospel penetrate every man-made barrier whether, gender, cultural, class, education, age, economic status, political ideology etc. The Holy Spirit reached beyond the wall of distinction to bring about unity.
There are two things we can learn from the record of the early church in Acts:
- The empowerment of the Spirit is for ALL people (who make up the Body of Christ)
- The empowerment of the Spirit is given to reach ALL people (outside of the Body of Christ)
Hillsong College in 2017 is entering a NEW era, not because God’s mission is new or the vision of our house has changed, but because the mission commenced on the day of Pentecost requires us to re-imagine; exploring new avenues and carving out new roads to reach all people – to raise, equip, empower and release anointed leaders from across the earth. 2017, let’s go!
Executive Vice President of Hillsong College