The start of any year is a great time to reflect on the year just gone, and the new year (make that decade!) just beginning.
I really need to start by thanking all the people involved in the various facets of our ministry – 2009 has been a year of growth in our ministry – spiritual growth as well as an expansion of the reach of our ministry. So, in no particular order, we would like to thank the guys in the Church in the Park worship team – Sam McCarthy, Steve Hunt, Natael Jean De La Rosa and Pranil Reddy, our workers who helped us set up for Church in the Park – Ronnie, Joe Balusek, Silvano Quinzi, Derek Stringfellow, Chris Simpson, Arthur Odiassi, our sound engineers Steve and James Askins, our home church’s senior pastors – Mark and Helen Hemans, our intercessors – Sue Reid, Margaret Carroll, Sandra Ankomah, Robyn Jacob, Cristabel Acquah and Judy McKeown, everyone who helped with the cooking and food distribution at Church in the Park, prison chaplains Gary Ring and Chris Gyllies, people who have contributed financially on an ongoing basis to the costs of Church in the Park – Joe Choueifaty of RJ Wood and Associates, River of Life Church, Ramses Gayed of the Liverpool Arabic Churches, Anthony and Xana Vo, our partners who have also donated throughout the year, and Don and Minta Baker who serve on our ministry’s board of directors and have been such a blessing to me personally in my walk with God. If I have left anyone out please forgive me!
As I spent time in prayer at the turn of the year, I felt the Lord give me a word that for our ministry 2010 will be a Year of New Beginnings. I believe the Lord is taking us into new areas of ministry, and that we will be ministering in new geographic areas as well as spiritual ones. I have felt it impressed on me very strongly that I need to get ready to travel regularly for ministry overseas, so we have been preparing for that, and also for expansion in our worship, prison and Church in the Park ministries.
For Church in the Park, I believe this will be a year of expansion. A couple of months ago the Lord gave me Isaiah 54:2:
“Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.”
In response to this word, I made a number of changes to Church in the Park, purchasing new band equipment and inviting Pranil Reddy and Natael Jean De La Rosa to join the Church in the Park worship team, as well as hiring a sound engineer. We also built a recording studio (including a live / rehearsal room) which is dedicated to the writing and recording of worship cd’s and the rehearsal of the CIP worship team.
Now that those preparations are complete, we are looking forward to Church in the Park’s events for this year – 2 events per month from February through December. The first Saturday of each month will be at Bigge Park in Liverpool, and the third Saturday of each month will be at Hilwa Park in Villawood.
In particular, our aim is to shape the worship that takes place at Church in the Park in such a way that the prophetic is released as we sing and play, changing the entire atmosphere and softening the hearts of those who hear to receive the Gospel, be delivered, be healed, and be restored. I don’t want to focus exclusively on numbers with Church in the Park – but 2009 was our best year as we saw growth in the number of people coming and the number of people helping us. We also saw at least 15 people come to salvation, and at least the same number again received physical healing as members of our team prayed for them.
When I first started Church in the Park in 2003 God gave me a very clear vision for Church in the Park, which I’ll be publishing on our main web site in the coming weeks, and also in our next newsletter.
I believe it’s important that we are clear in our focus and direction as Church in the Park continues to grow.
I have started recording a new worship CD called “Sacred Fire”, and hope to have it finished by the end of March. The songs on the CD have a strong prophetic emphasis, and I am really excited about the new directions that God is leading myself and the musicians working on the album in – spiritually, lyrically and musically.
Our new studio gives me greater scope to realise the creative directions the Lord is taking me in in worship, and so far the recording sessions have been very rewarding and inspirational.
Last year we saw some amazing things happen as we ministered at Long Bay and Dyllwynia Correctional Centres here in Sydney. It’s always exciting to see people come to the Lord, but last year we were also seeing people being healed and very deeply ministered to as we prayed with them. We are believing for a greater anointing in this area.
Let me close this update by saying again how thankful we are to everyone who has committed their time and effort towards the vision we have for seeing people come to know Jesus, and for those who have been away from God to have their faith renewed and restored.
John and Kerry Hemans