Con Spoor – The Pioneer Preacher

Cicero has said, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things”.

Within my memory lies a treasury of people’s lives lived with such devotion, passion and sacrifice for the cause of Christ the thoughts of which have been a challenge to my life.

In recent years it has been said at church conferences that the community of faith in which I have served has been built on the shoulders of our pioneers, and for this reason from time to time it is my intention while I still have memories, to highlight some of our church pioneers in my monthly blogs.

We have a relatively young Australian church history and this month I will go back to 1912 when a Dutch family immigrated to Queensland and settled in Mundubbera.

There were 10 children in the pioneering Spoor family and I am proud this month to honour one of the sons, Pastor Con Spoor.

The Spoor family was devout with a background in the Dutch Reform Church and in Australia, The Gospel Brethren.

Con and his sister also attended a Methodist church in Mundubbera where they often sang and performed comedy at concerts.

Con had a deep hunger for God and as he travelled with his brother from town to town to show their cattle, he decided to visit as many churches as possible in search for what he could see from his study of the scriptures was a deeper revelation of God.

He stumbled on a church in Rockhampton with an overflowing congregation and as he was late he was unable to enter.

In conversation he found that there was a special speaker, evangelist Frederick van Eyk preaching and that there was an assembly of these people in Townsville.

He looked up the people in Townsville because he had a strong desire to be water baptized before he returned home.

It was here that he encountered old brother Enticknap who gave him some “tracts” on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and divine healing. Con was very interested in healing as he had two sick sisters.

There was a baptism service scheduled for Sunday but unfortunately he had to travel on with the cattle but he prayed earnestly about being baptized before he returned home.

As it turned out when the cattle were being spelled in Maryborough he found the assembly and they were warming up water. “What is going on here?” he asked. “We have a baptismal service here tonight,” the man replied. “We usually baptize on Sunday night but there is a young man who wants to be baptized on his 21st birthday. Con replied, “I like to be baptized too”. The pastor was called and after questioning Con on his understanding of baptism, Con was baptized in water.

Two old ladies were in attendance to pray for the young men and as Sister Hetherington laid hands on Con in prayer he was touched with the memorable mighty power of God.

With the cattle back on the train Con settled himself above on the port- rack and called on the Lord to heal his injured eye, which would continually water and blur when he read the scriptures. That blurry eye became clear.

Soon after, a pamphlet was received in their family milk can, advertising a Gospel healing crusade in Biggenden. Con took his sick sister to those meetings and she was wonderfully healed.

Con had studied the scriptures on the Holy Spirit and when the pastor laid his hands on him the power of the Holy Spirit engulfed him and he was fired with a new love for God. It was a very noisy meeting!!

This story written by Con’s sister goes on to tell of the move of the Holy Spirit at that time and ends with the words, “ And that was the beginning of the Mundubbera Assembly of God.”

Con’s story continues from his son, Pastor Tim Spoor’s memories.

Con was an athletic young man exhibiting acclaimed ability with animals especially in training horses.

The pioneering families of Australia developed strong acumen to make do, fix up, and find a compromise for equipment required to develop a farm in the harsh outback-Australian environment. Con became a master of invention that served him well as a pioneer pastor.

Con married Elena May Schmidt a widower with a teenage daughter in 1936. They later had two children, Beryl and Timothy.

Found hand written in the front of Con’s loose leaf old King James Bible is the following, as it is written:

1st Anointing about 8 or 9 years old.

13th July 1924 Accepted Christ as Saviour by faith.

28th August 1928 Baptized in water by G.E.Burns.

29th September 1928 Holy Spirit Baptism.

15th March 1944 Left NSW for Mundubbera ministry.

22nd November 1944 mission in Gayndah.

22nd July 1946 Arrived in Yungaburra for pastor work.

8th December1951 to February 1953 Ministered in Halifax and back to Yungaburra,13thMarch

1961 Left Yungaburra for Imbil.

Con and May answered the call to fulltime ministry in 1946 and left Bellina for North Queensland in their 4 cylinder Ford. It had a gas producer sitting on a rack at the rear of the vehicle. There was a full-length hood rack on the roof to carry the large bags of charcoal, which was the fuel.

Coming upon a paddock that had been burnt out by bush fire, young Tim remembers climbing through the fence with bags and shovel which were employed to harvest the next load of fuel to get a bit further along the Bruce highway.

Telling the story yeas later Con says, “We didn’t have a lot of power but at least we got there!”

The little family arrived at their destination on the 22nd July 1946. They were greeted by Brother Coulters who had set up a neat weatherboard building on Mc Kewan road at the foot of the flat top seven sister landmark on the Atherton tablelands about three miles from Yungaburra.

Pastor Spoor purchased a farm and surveyed off a number of allotments which included the church allotment, and these were placed in the name of the Assemblies of God fellowship. The allotments were then leased to indigenous individual families.

There was no electricity but a large timber phone with a crank handle to generate power for a ring tone. The mouthpiece was a part of the phone with a movable earpiece. The phone number was 80 Yungaburra.

One of the first converts was Granny Rosas. They met Granny Rosas when she was living in a smoke-filled Gunyah. She was emaciated and very ill and it appeared that she would soon die.

The gospel message that Jesus loved her that he had died on the cross to save her life from hopelessness and to give her a purpose to live.

She readily accepted this simple message of salvation and Jesus transformed her life. She lived a happy healthy life for the next 20 years or so. Granny Rosas was a faith filled prayer warrior of the Pinnacle community.

Con Spoor had received a strong revelation of the love of God, which featured centrally in his preaching.

It was often the case that there would not be a dry eye, including the preacher, in the congregation when the love of God was the topic.

Pinnacle Pocket was registered as an Assembly of God Church, and the 24th in the fledgling movement in Australia.

It was indeed a Pentecostal church with prayer at its core.

Pastor Spoor did not officially conduct a Bible School but on a discipleship basis he reproduced his ministry in the lives of at least eleven indigenous men.

For many years these 11 men were worthy ministers of the Gospel. One day you may read the exciting stories of their exploits for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Spoor spent a short time in Halifax after which he returned to Pinnacle Pocket. After 16 years at Pinnacle Pocket the annual church business meeting once again came around and the congregation voted in a worthy indigenous man Ps Sterling Minniiecon, who was one of Pastor Spoor’s disciples.

Here for posterity is brief edited audio of Pastor Con Spoor preaching in North Queensland in the 1940s

It is hard to put in words the impact of Con Spoor’s ministry and the caliber of the man.

He was inventive, humorous, generous, sacrificial, faithful, and full of faith, spirit filled, prayerful, and passionate for souls to be saved and to know and love God as he did.

Pastor Spoor continued his Pastoral ministry in Gympie and died in office at the early age of 61. He went to be with the Lord on the 6th February 1962.

Apart from his children, the spiritual legacy that Ps Con Spoor left, is probably measured and reproduced by the ministry of some of our best indigenous pastors who have served the Lord in many parts of this great land.

My readers may not have heard of names like, Arnold Congoo, Peter and Eva Morgan, Billy Rosas, Joe Allia and many other indigenous pastors who have been pioneers in our fellowship, but I have, and for that I am blessed.

The video below produced by John Blacket of Khesed Ministries tells the story of one of the men he trained to be a missionary, Pastor Arnold Con-Goo.


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2 Responses to “Con Spoor – The Pioneer Preacher”

  1. Annette Henderson Says:

    What a truly inspirational account of a faithful Godly man, his family and his ministry back then and the ongoing work of those who have continued on with the ministry. May God continue to lead and bless His people as they minister to the generations to come. We pray for revival in our land and throughout the whole earth.

  2. Joan Cansdale Says:

    Oh, How I remember visiting Pinnacle Pocket with my mother (Lena, Con’s sister)and brother. we stayed at Aloomba with Aunty Wietske (another sister and her husband David Bell, Betty and Sam (the Bell’s).
    I remember Uncle Con driving us up the Gillies Highway when it was still a one way traffic road.
    The last time I passed through Yungaburra, the church that Con built was still there with a large hall built behind it.
    Later in Darwin I met Bill Rosas and Mary who were preaching at the AOG here in Darwin and discovered that Bill had been mentored by my Uncle Con.
    Both Beryl and Tim have continued on in God’s work and are still faithful servants.
    God Bless you all.

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