This year, Mr Chan came home announcing he bought the tickets to Hillsong (I didn't even know we had to BUY tickets) and that we will just "go & see".
So, we made plans to fly there, attend the 5-day conference and continue to stay for a few more days (also in celebration of our 6th year wedding anniversary - it's ALREADY 6 YEARS?!!!! - oh dear...)
And now that the trip is over, I thought it was good to just document some of the highlights of this Sydney trip!
I really thank God for this awesome time of refreshing - and would like to encourage anyone who might happen to read this to go to Hillsong Conference!
BTW, it is HILLSONG (without an "s") not HILLSONGS (cos I always called it hillsongS! and realized it was without "S")
So, thankfully for us, we registered ourselves to a "self-formed" private group (majority of whom are from New Creation Church, but in no way representing NCC.).
This group was started by a volunteer who wanted to gather all the Hillsong-goers so that we may be entitled GROUP-benefits which included "priority-sitting". Meaning we get designated seats for all services.
Apparently, if we didn't have a "group", we will always have to queue for each service and will NOT have designated seats (even if we had a ticket). *sheepish*
Since the highlight was the Conference, we actually didn't do much research and decided to just go with the flow.Very untypical of me, but, it's sometimes nice to be spontaneous! :)
This is the arm-band that we use as a "passport" to enter the venue.
The Allphone arena was HUGE and the venue was JAMMED-PACKED for most of the services.
This was the opening shot!
Look at the number of "heads" there - all coming together in 1 voice to worship Jesus.
Worship time was INCREDIBLE.
Good morning! Welcome to Hillsong!
Good morning! Welcome to Hillsong!
So, speakers to the conference included:
Brian & Bobbie Houston, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joel & Victoria Osteen, Judah Smith & Craig Groeschel.
I really enjoyed Pastor Brian (with his fatherly tone), Pastor Joel (ultra gentlemanly!) and Pastor Judah Smith (he was slightly "dark" in his humor but it was great!).
Pastor Brian & Bobbie Houston
Pastor Joel Osteen
Pastor Judah Smith
The thing about Hillsong is -it is packed-filled with activities!
A typical day goes like this:
From 0830 hrs where you are advised to be seated for conference (that starts at 0900 hrs)>> This is called "Morning Rally"
0900 - 1200 hrs (+ -) Morning Rally starts with worship, then sermon.
You get a lunch break. (How long a break will depend on what time the service ends and what time your next activity starts)
Let me explain: "next activity" is termed as "Elective" where they offer various electives for a participant to sign up for. Each session lasts about 1-1.5 hrs.
"Elective" is like a "school" (or course), like afternoon break-out class where you get to attend separate "group-studies" with people who have the same interests. (e.g. Missions School, Evangelism School, TV & Media, The Songwriter, The Musician, The Worship Leader, Dance, The Vocalist etc. and the list goes on)
These electives happen con-currently and differs from day-to-day in that 5-day Conference. You need to submit your preferred Elective upon purchase of your Hillsong ticket.
At the same time, in the foyer area, there will be lots of things happening in Marquees. You have master classes, interviews, video screening of events, pop-up book stores and various Christian associated drives - one of which I remembered was an "sponsor-a-child" drive etc. It's all free & easy, you choose what you want to attend.
So by the time you are done with the afternoon classes and activities, you have dinner& Night Rally will begin at 1800 - 2000 hrs, which is followed by a Praise & Worship session to close the day between 2000 - 2030 hrs.
This is why it is jammed-packed. You leave the hotel early in the morning and you only get back late at night because if you don't happen to stay near to the Allphones Arena (which was the case for us), you will definitely take some time to get back. (For us, it was a little more than an hour of train ride!)
The station nearest to Allphone Arena was known as Lidcombe Station (and you need to transit via a feeder train to take you to Olympic Station where you can walk to the indoor stadium). We were staying near Museum Station - total of 19 train stops. The good thing is that they have double-deck trains, and EXPRESS TRAIN service, which meant the train doesn't stop as most of these 19 stations, and only stops at key ones, so you have some time-saving there.
How the outdoor Foyer looks like! Buzzing with activities!
A snap shot of what happens in an Elective
And of course, a few shots of our daily picnic fun and lunch boxes.
Because there are limited food choices nearby with thousands of people wanting to fill their stomachs in that short lunch break, our group leader was kind enough to pre-empt us on the "lunch-crowd", hence we brought our our own food EVERYDAY! *happy!*
Starting from breakfast in the train (yes, you CAN eat in the trains over there - unlike in sg)
Pre-packed sandwiches, ham, cheese, cookies, snacks, chips, yoghurt etc.
Alas, we come to the last night of the Conference, Praise and Worship ended later than usual - and having attended Conference for the past 4 days made us miss Conference already (knowing there's no more 6th day)
This was the beautiful day-fireworks display as a closing to the event.
Final shot in the Allphones Arena on the last day!