From Klemzig to Paradise 1982 – 1986 (Part 2)

What caused the Church to Grow?

One of the defining features that was significant in the church’s growth, was the weekly Cooperate Prayer meetings of the Church and its Leaders.

Unlike many churches of today who seek growth through secular marketing, community care programs or health & educational institutions, which personally I have found very expensive to operate and the results as far as souls are concerned very disappointing.  

While modern methods & institutions have their place, it is prayer that provides the spiritual power to draw people to the House of God.

I recall talking with a prominent self promoting church leader, who happened to be visiting Adelaide while we were in the midst of the building program of the Paradise church. In a somewhat patronising manner he expressed amazement at the success of my brother’s ministry.

Not known as a narcissistic leader but a humble servant of God, my brother Andrew confounded them all in their quest for church growth success and the status that it brings, by simply going about his calling doing God’s will and living a committed life style of Prayer, Faith, Humility of Spirit, and careful Financial Management.

Team Ministry was another significant factor. The amazing unity that prevailed amongst the Ministry team and the Board of the church was palpable. The unspoken ethos that was demonstrated by the ministry team was focused on doing the will of God.

Few if any wanted to promote their personal agenda, focusing rather on what was best for the church and without engaging in conflict. The church board were very supportive of the pastors and were a great encouragement to us all.

Andrew of course created this by his inclusive leadership style. The Board had confidence in his steady leadership and non big spending tendencies.

He chose his team wisely and encouraged his Board regularly.

A newly graduated Commonwealth Bible College student by the name of Paul Newsham joined the team in 1973 as an assistant pastor.

Paul was a capable worship and song leader and a good preacher having learned the craft of preaching on the streets of Brisbane during the days when ‘openair’ preaching was a popular means of evangelism.

Paul at the very outset of his ministry felt called to serve Andrew and became a much valued long term personal assistant.

Paul was a great asset to Andrew & greatly appreciated. He served faithfully on the team for over 25 years. Today he is Senior Pastor of  www.saltchurch.com.au/ Gawler, South Australia.

A young professional by the name of  Harry Leesment joined the team in 1976.

He was uniquely gifted in the area of discipleship training.

He wrote a Counsellor Training Manual for local Church counsellors and Home fellowship leaders which was widely circulated throughout the Assemblies of God fellowship in Australia.

As a result of his input, a high percentage of new converts connected with the church & were baptised.

In my opinion his work of setting up and training leaders to care for new converts was the linchpin of the success of retaining new converts in those days.

After leaving the Paradise ministry team in 1988 Harry & Jackie Leesment went on to Pastor a Church in the city of Canberra, before turning their considerable talents to Missionaries service in Estonia, which was his place of birth.

Then a young dynamic Art teacher by the name of Tim Hall was converted in a Sunday night service at Klemzig in 1974 under Ps. Andrew’s ministry.

A few years later Andrew saw the potential in him and invited him to join the Youth ministry team in 1978.

For the next three years Tim’s charismatic personality, leadership and team grounding prepared him for his life’s calling.

The rest is history as Evangelist Tim Hall went on to pioneer churches in Bendigo, Murray Bridge, Geelong & Life Point Marion in Adelaide, before following the call on his life and became one of Australia’s foremost Pentecostal Itinerant Evangelists.

He travelled the world conducting Crusades in many countries resulting in hundreds of thousands being converted to Christ under his Pentecostal anointed ministry.

His recent published book “Giant Killers” may be purchased through his web site. see Tim Hall Ministries

Pastor Danny Guglielmucci is another leader birthed out of Paradise.

He came on staff in 1984 and commenced as the Youth leader in 1985. Under his leadership the youth group grew expeditiously.

At its peak over 500 young people gathered each week. For ten years Danny served as Youth Pastor, a record.

He was a dapper young Italian who worked in the clothing industry or “rag trade” as it was called.  I would often visit him to encourage him to consider the Ministry and at the same time buy my suits from his clothing store.

Danny was much loved by the youth and the church in general. His formative years were in the church being the son of a pastor.

Before he was appointed Youth Pastor he actively participated in the music of the church and graduated from the Adelaide Bible College under Pastor Bill Hilbig’s leadership.

In June 1994 Pastor Danny resigned from Paradise and commenced what is now known as the Edge Church. Today Pastor Danny is one of Australia’s formost Christian Leaders and is Senior Pastor of the largest church in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. (see www.edgechurch.com)

Phil Ward was another valued member of the team who joined the pastoral staff in 1982 from a Baptist/Brethren background.

Phil had been wonderfully Baptized in the Holy Spirit and significantly had great faith to pray for others to receive Acts 2:4.

He was instrumental in seeing hundreds of new converts being filled with the Spirit and speak in other tongues.

He was given the portfolio of ministering to New Christians. Today Pastor Phil Ward is senior minister of www.gatewayinternationalchurch.com in Geelong, Victoria.

In 1973 I spent 3 months of my furlough supporting Andrew at Klemzig, before eventually resigning as a missionary and joining the team in 1976 with my young family.

Under my brother Ps. Andrew Evans’ leadership, each one of us on the ministry team felt greatly valued.

We counted it a privilege to be a part of what God was doing in the community through the church. Personally I felt empowered and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of preaching and teaching the Word of God.

I guess because of my love for music I enjoyed leading the congregation in a symphony of praise & worship each Sunday.

I believe positive Worship, supported by spirit led Music is one of the key elements that attract people to a church. At Klemzig & Paradise the music and worship just flowed together.

Thea Kreik was a great blessing to the church in this department. Her free flowing style and sensitivity to the moving of the Holy Spirit, along with her ability to change key and direction at any time was an enabling factor in creating a spiritual atmosphere of faith and love.

I for one will never forget her brilliance in departing from the agreed script to follow a song of the Spirit that I felt we should sing.

Without missing a beat she would extemporise and make it happen. It was wonderful even though it had not been planned or practiced.

I honour her and thank her for the years of voluntary service she gave to the church! They were happy days indeed!

One hymn that I give her credit for making very popular was called ‘O Happy Day’. Somehow through her piano playing she could bring an atmosphere of joy into a song.

The last video on this page will give you an idea of the powerful hymn singing and worship that was common in those meetings.

The friendship amongst the music staff and the cooperation that could be called upon, helped created a dynamic atmosphere in the church services.  

I believe it was a significant contribution to the Church’s growth. Not only was there great Worship but Solo & Choir items were delivered in a professional and spiritual manner.

The  ‘Charisma’ choir along with solo artists like Winston Kay were all class and brought an atmosphere of spiritual worship as they sang under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

All this took place prior to this digital age of high tech instrumentation and accessories.

One of my favourite Gospel artists was Winston Kay who regularly sang in church services and our TV broadcasts.

At the height of the revival  a TV programme called “It’s A New Day” was broadcast each week.


The Charisma Singers were also a great blessing to the Church, particularly at Klemzig.

Their songs of praise were not a performance but rather an act of worship, which brought with it a powerful presence to bless and heal.

It was not uncommon for people to be physically &  emotionally healed during the worship services, such was the manifest presence of God.

As you view some of the old video clips on this page you will notice the style in our praise and worship has changed. The congregation usually sat for Praise and stood for Worship.

The Worship leaders in those days were far more animated (in the Billy Graham Crusade style) than they are today.

Andrew was the preacher and I or Paul Newsham were the presenter.

It was fun, but nerve racking at the same time trying to remember my lines.

The  TV program certainly gave the church a higher profile in the community. If we had the resources to buy a better time slot it could have targeted even more people with the Gospel.

It became a “lightning rod” to some degree in adding excitement  & interest in the public persona of the church.

As  the church continued to grow under the blessing and anointing of the Holy Spirit, it  attracted the attention of the media.

As a result, on the 29 August 1982 the Klemzig Assembly of God Sunday morning service, was televised nation wide, free of any cost to the church on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission.

It was an historic occasion and the first time a Pentecostal church in Australia had received nation wide coverage.

As exciting as that was the fact  remains however, that the old fashioned way of personal evangelism still remains as the most effective means of converting souls to Christ.

In the late 1970s a visit to Adelaide by American Evangelist Arthur Blessitt  brought a great deal of renewed enthusiasm  and excitement in personal evangelism.

Young people and children in particularly were captivated by his unique style of evangelism as he carried a large wooden cross around Australia witnessing as he went.

His stories of personal encounters in different countries of the world brought to life the enormous privilege to be a witness for Christ in this world of sin.

The growth of the church at Klemzig rapidly increased which  necessitated that four services were conducted every Sunday to meet the need of the growing crowds.

Over 1800 people considered Klemzig their spiritual home.

As a result it was decided by the Church Board to find or build a larger facility to cater for the crowds.

After much prayer and at the right time a large parcel of land became available for $400,000 at the appropriately named suburb of Paradise.  

A huge step of faith was taken to borrow $1,000,000 to build the church. Just one year and eleven months after the opening the debt was completely paid off. The excitement and unity in the Church family was incredible to be a part of.

The opening of the Paradise facility in 1983 was something else to behold!

With little or no publicity over 3000 people attended the grand opening service and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement.

News paper articles in the Adelaide Advertiser appeared overnight, reporting of things that happened. Here in this City of Churches the largest church building in its history was completed.


There is so much that could be written about those wonderful days, but suffice it to say Betty & I counted it a privilege to be a part of the core ministry team that worked together with Pastor Andrew & Lorraine Evans for ten years, to build something great in this City of Churches.

To GOD be the Glory and all the Praise

 



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