Planetshakers, who run a large-scale conference each year in Melbourne, are taking a big step of faith. In 2017, the four-day Planetshakers conference will cost $20. In total.
“We did it because God told us to do it.” – Russell Evans
“We felt the Lord speak to us about dropping the price which is a big step of faith,” Pastor Russell Evans, who leads Planetshakers, tells Eternity. Besides the conference, Planetshakers is a four-campus church in Melbourne that attracts 10,000 weekly, with three branches overseas.
“It’ll be $20 to attend four nights and three days of conference, at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne – and hiring venues like that costs a lot of money. But the beauty of a $20 registration is it does not stop people attending other conferences – they can go to all of them. We did it because God told us to do it.
“Everything about Planetshakers is about empowering people to make a difference in their world.”
Planetshakers is a challenging name for a church and conference as God’s world definitely needs a shakeup. One of the key speakers at the low-priced conference will be Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the opposition in South Africa’s parliament. He’s a Christian, sometimes called “a young Mandela.” Time magazine compared him with Barack Obama (although he prefers Bill Clinton).
“We are called the light of the world … so we do need to make an impact on every part of society.” – Russell Evans
Another session will be a roundtable hosted by Daystar, a Christian TV channel. It will include Theo Zurenuoc, speaker of the PNG parliament, Maimane, and other Christians influencing their nation. “We believe discipling the nations is a key mandate for the church,” says Evans. “I am pretty excited about that session.”
Planetshakers are serious about their name. “I believe we should impact every part of society,” says Evans. “We are called the light of the world. We are called to bring light, not to bring darkness. If the light does not shine, darkness will prevail – so we do need to make an impact on every part of society.”
Evans was youth pastor at Paradise Community Church (a large Pentecostal church in Adelaide, now called Influencers). “I was in a meeting one day, and had an encounter with God. I felt God speak to me and he said, ‘Start a conference called Planetshakers,’ and I said ‘God, what is that?’ I have discovered that with God – he does not tell you the ten-point plan; he tells you the first step.”
“…how to see God move in your life is to love him with all your heart and obey him with all you can.” – Russell Evans
The first conference was in Adelaide, 20 years ago. About 1000 people attended, with many more to follow. “It grew to 30,000 young people attending around Australia. Music came out of that; millions have been impacted through our worship around the world.
“I was in London and the Lord spoke to me saying leave Adelaide, go to Melbourne and plant a church – called Planetshakers – twelve and a half years ago. So we are just following a mandate from that encounter with God.
45,000 people have made public commitments for Christ at Planetshakers.
“That encounter then defines your life as you live out what God tells you to do. I tell people that how to see God move in your life is to love him with all your heart and obey him with all you can.
“Out of our encounters with God … he then empowers us to a life of destiny, to make a difference and not live for ourselves. Rather, to live for something greater and that is the cause of Christ. And laying your life down to serve. Jesus was not the king servant, he was the servant king.
“We are not here for ourselves but to bring the love of Jesus whether that is through kindness, through prayer, serving our community – if we did all those things the world would be a better place.” – Russell Evans
“That’s what Planetshakers has always been about. The church is the bride of Christ; what the bride looks like is what people will think the bridegroom looks like. So, the church should look like what Jesus looks like.” For Evans that means bringing to non-Christians the hope, love and the possibility of what life could be like with Jesus.
“If we are to shake the planet, we need to serve our communities, and the cities and the people we are around, for the love of Christ. We are not here for ourselves but to bring the love of Jesus whether that is through kindness, through prayer, serving our community – if we did all those things the world would be a better place.”
Since Planetshakers church started in Melbourne in 2004, 45,000 people have made public commitments for Christ at Planetshakers. Some are in other churches, says Evans, and others have gone their own way. “The number and largeness is nice but it is the individual stories that actually excite me,” says Evans.
“It’s exciting when young people come to Christ. But it’s exciting when a 50-year-old atheist has one of his friends who is an atheist get saved in our church.” – Russell Evans
“What excites me is families that have never heard the gospel, walk in to a church or encounter a Christian who shows them the love of Christ … and their children come into a relationship with Jesus and, then, their parents come in.
“There is a gentleman in my church and he would be in his seventies. He is a doctor, and his daughter is also a doctor; they came into our church because a patient she had been looking after for 20 years had had depression for a long period. She (the patient) gave her life to Jesus and there was a dramatic change. This doctor was so impressed with the change that she, in turn, came and looked for herself. She gave her life to Christ and then her father who is a doctor, was impressed with what he heard, so he came and looked and gave his life to Christ.
“It’s exciting when young people come to Christ. But it’s exciting when a 50-year-old atheist has one of his friends who is an atheist get saved in our church. He kept inviting the 50-year-old. He saw the change in this guy was so powerful that he came to one of our campuses and the other week, he gave his life to Jesus.”
Some prayer points to help
Thank God for the ministry of Planetshakers, and pray that many will come to know Jesus as Lord through their ministry.