3 Reasons Why Brisbane Needs Gospel Events

16. 3 Reasons Why Brisbane Needs Gospel EventsDo we really need another event?

The evangelical scene is littered with conferences and events 365 days a year. Those wearied by this event culture tend to write it off as the product of a consumerist era, or as a fly-in fly-out whirlwind to stroke the ego of a speaker. They’re suspect as to whether these events add anything to the forward mission of the church in Brisbane. My point here is not to deny there is some truth to their concern. I’m not advocating a blanket celebration of events. We need balance. This is why we have discernment and need to develop strategy to determine which events help rather than hinder the gospel’s advance. So let’s figure out why two upcoming events tick some of the right boxes.

Sparking conversations about Jesus can be as perilous as jumping into Sydney harbour—anything could be lurking beneath the surface! Aussies can be sceptical, cynical, whimsical or apathetic when it comes to matters of religion. Citywide events in our day serve a tremendous cause to gather the varied tribes of Christians around the gospel and pique the interest of those they’re trying to reach. Here’s why I think the visits of John Lennox and Matt Chandler in August are a huge opportunity for the gospel in Brisbane.


How many Christians would be willing to go to a mosque to hear an Imam preach? Why not? Try and diagnose your reaction. When it comes to geographical spaces we tend to carry the perception that crossing the threshold of a sacred space requires a certain degree of commitment. It’s confronting. And this is how many Aussies feel about being invited to come hear a pastor at church.

When it comes to citywide events hosted in public there is no need to cross the proverbial Rubicon. Friends don’t have to enter your space. Together you go to a neutral space. Why not grab a meal on the way? Or go out for coffee afterwards. These events afford a neutral, public, and natural space for talking about faith.


The Church faces a huge credibility crisis. The average educated Aussie is influenced by pop-media and the secular academy to think that the Christian faith is intellectually vacuous and morally dubious. Too often this stereotype is confirmed by high-profile Christian figures speaking out of their depth with the result that they raise a high credibility barrier that obscures the cross.

Lennox and Chandler are like the ultimate left/right hook combo to break through this wall. First, as an Oxford professor in Mathematics, Lennox’s public credibility in the fields of science and philosophy places him in a unique position to expose the shortcomings of scepticism’s scientific shield. His angle? The correspondence of Christian claims to the world around us. Christianity seems true. Second, as an influential pastor with a proven track record in the gospel, Chandler’s credibility lies in the trust he engenders in Christians of various tribes. His angle? The correspondence of the gospel’s claims to human condition. Christianity seems relevant. When truth and relevance walk hand in hand with credible communicators this wall obscuring the cross comes tumbling down and people have to deal with Jesus.


Going with a friend to an event together extends a rare opportunity to have gospel conversations without you being in the hot seat. The speaker plants gospel seeds that you get to water. Rather than be the adversary or the person introducing the views, you get to stand at arms length with your friend and evaluate what was said. Your friends can feel free to disagree and discuss without feeling like they’re compromising your relationship.

With such high profile speakers coming the event itself serves as a platform to provoke questions. Don’t miss the chance to engage sceptics and seekers with the message of the gospel from these twin angles of relevance and truth.

Here are four pointers for getting the most out of these events…
1)   Speak to your pastor about the event
2)   Pray about who you should invite
3)   Buy a bunch of tickets and be generous
4)   Organise to go out for dessert with friends/family afterwards to discuss





Dan Paterson is director of operations at Traverse, and a Pastor at Ashgrove Baptist Church.


  1. […] a great question to ask. My good friend Dan Paterson explored this question over at his blog Traverse. He looked at three primary reasons why we need events. I want to look at these reasons and apply […]