Melbourne, Australia: More than 50 young people from Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney gathered over the weekend of 5-7 January 2024 for the third annual Australia Southern District Youth Conference. The weekend included a tram tour of Melbourne, music and worship, teaching times, and fellowship.
On Sunday morning, Pastor Paul Spanos hosted all the youth and several Melbourne-area Nazarene churches at Thornbury Community Church of the Nazarene for worship, communion, and an enormous Greek feast. Melbourne has one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece, so Greek food is an essential part of every visit!
Leaders on the Australia Southern District have imagined this youth conference for many years. Pastor Harry Malos of Mt Waverley Community Church of the Nazarene said, “Approximately 13-14 years ago, the Lord placed a direction in my mind; it wasn’t through a dream or a concept, but more like ‘This is the road I want you to take.’” In 2021, he helped organize the first District Youth Conference in Melbourne in partnership with the District and supported by DS Rev. Satish Manmothe.
Pastor Malos has built the gathering on three pillars: first, defining the identity of the Church of the Nazarene; second, answering what it means to have a relationship with Christ today; and, third, envisioning how we can pass the baton of church leadership to the next generation. Dr. David McEwan from Nazarene Theological College Australia New Zealand and Pastor Glenn Stanley from Sydney led sessions titled “Our Nazarene Identity” and “Passing on the Faith Baton.”
Everyone left the event feeling inspired. Agnes Fifita is a youth leader from Sydney who organized many of the conference’s details and led worship. She said, “We learned at the 2024 Youth Conference the importance of fellowship and how much we—as the body of Christ—need each other.”
Pastor Malos summarized this year’s conference, saying, “I have been a Christian for many years, but I am still in awe as to how God initiates and responds.”