Full Video Highlights

Groundswell Conference 2016 was a phenomenal week filled with as much fellowship, worship, training, surfing, laughing and loving as could possibly be fit into such a short period of time. We wish you all could have been here with us! Feel the love in this full recap from an amazing conference.

Special thanks to video genius Taylor Brant / Mistaken Productions

Day Five - Photos and Report

Young leaders have framed history, been profiled in Bible history and mobilised for evil; Hitler and Mao Zedong to name two. These men knew the value of harnessing youthful enthusiasm, energy, naiveté, creativity and courage – for a cause – despite it being evil.

Guest speaker David Wraight unpacked another of our CS Big Ideas – Equipping – with the mindset as a movement of ‘growing younger’. He reminded us that an unmarried teenager named Mary accepted God’s will for her to have a baby. Young Queen Esther was willing to risk her life for the sake of her people and the disciples were all in their 20s when they were called by Jesus and engaged in establishing the early church. David then challenged us, as leaders, to be a ‘caddy’ for and to equip those with Godly character, calling and competency. He called us to equip for maximum effectiveness through the empowerment of young leaders and create a safe space for them to learn, grow and make mistakes. As a caddy, to hand over the right iron at the right time. Where might a movement that’s ‘growing young’ go in the next two years? We’re keen to see where we’ve travelled when we gather together again as a tribe, as a family on a mission, in France in 2018. Yew!

It’s been a big week of family fun! We’re grateful to God for His grace, for fun waves, for an incredible week and for each person who invested time and money to join us Down Under. We also want to give a big hand-clap and say “thanks” to the staff at The Tops Conference Centre, Stanwell Park, for taking such good care of us. Thank you also to every volunteer who gave of their time, especially the Conference Committee who invested months of time and energy to host this 12th Groundswell in Australia – you’re legends! 

Keep connecting, partnering, discipling, serving and equipping for God and we’ll see you in France!

Day Four - Photos and Report

Day four was an extra-ordinary day with our family on a mission. We began with breakfast, bundled into cars and converged on Headlands Beach for our first ever international paddle out. We stood on the beach, sang together, then Old Salt, Michael Croft, encouraged us from Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."

Then the cheers were loud and the stoke was high as Australia National Director, Steve and YWAM Surfers DTS leader, Terry, led three young members of the CS family into the water to be baptised. It was beautiful to witness them demonstrate their faith in Jesus.

CS Australia then led the way for “one of the most memorable, incredible and remarkable things I’ve ever witnessed,” as almost 200 surfers from 26 nations paddled out to form a cross, pray for their local beach and pray for Australia. The cheers could be heard from the beach as the prayers ended and a wave swept through the cross, sending a few on their first wave of the day. Many stayed on to catch a few waves, forming potentially the biggest instant-crowd a lineup has ever seen. Thankfully no one else was out for the invasion!

In the afternoon, guest speaker, David Wraight, shared a Biblical perspective on another CS Big Idea – Serving. He asked the question, “What does it mean to be a servant to others?” and challenged us to consider what prevents us from serving others. Is it wrong motivation, or fear of rejection, not loving ourselves or lack of intentionality? He left us with this prayer: “Lord, I know there is someone you want me to bless today. Please help me to be sensitive enough to your Spirit to know who that is, courageous enough to action on Your direction and willing enough to sacrifice what is necessary to bless them.” Amen!

Day Three - Evening - Photos and Report

This year’s Regional Reports were hosted two CS Board members, Mark Edwards and Mark Chu, and our trusted Regional Coordinators kicked off the night with a jaunt down the catwalk in unique outfits. Fun. A little bit scary. And just what we’ve come to expect from these guys.

North America RC, Dustin, mesmerising in a kangaroo suit and jacket, told of six international missions trips from the region this past year; the most recent to Haiti. CS, in partnership with a surf school, successfully hosted the first surf contest in the history of the country – yew!

Europe RC, Phil, resplendent in a wig and striped shift dress, showed images of the first commercial inland wave in Wales and suggested that the challenge we have as a movement is to consider how we connect with this inland surfing community.

Recently appointed Africa RC, Alex, in a high-collared jacked and stylish skirt, shared his story of being equipped and growing in faith through his time at CSALT. An initial commitment of six months became two years, resulting in his appointment as RC and equipping him for his current job with the ISA.

Richo, RC for Australasia, rocked a tight vest, skirt and feathered head-piece. He shared about irresponsible tourism in the region, especially in Bali and Thailand, and reminded us that money + poverty can = compromising choices for locals. Richo profiled Mercy Huts (a registered NFP) who are intentionally giving back to the community through education, hospitality, tourism, hygiene and a partnership with a children’s home – a great example of responsible tourism. Check out their Surf Retreat and have a holiday with a purpose. 

Nev, newly appointed Pacific RC, looked fabulous in lycra and told the tribe about the latest in a new surfing nation – Vanuatu. He honoured John, who serves there with CS, for his ministry to kids. The goal this year is to get a team to Vanuatu to help John complete building his home. John is saving for and building, one brick at a time.

An Aldo impersonator representing South America and rocking purple velvet, shared of the heartbreak recently seen in his region as a result of the April earthquake in Ecuador. The impact has been felt in the surfing community with a surfer on tour losing his child, wife and parents. He spoke of the opportunity to partner in crisis relief and management and reminded us that, despite the heartache, it’s also an opportunity long term to show love to those affected and to minister in Jesus’ name.

Finally, Jodene, CSA Girls Coordinator, spoke of her passion for women to hear the ‘good news’ and to find their purpose and calling in life with God. Her heart is to see women – and men – partnering in ministry together, truly representing the image of God. A fun night of hearing about what God is doing in the nations.

Day Three - Morning - Photos and Report

This song is quickly becoming the conference anthem: “You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are. And I’m loved by You. It’s who I am.” And singing it as one, big family on a mission is super special.

Day three saw us look at a Biblical perspective on Discipling with David Wraight. He challenged us to consider what Jesus wants for those we have been called to disciple, and asked us if we truly believe Jesus can transform someone’s life. We were reminded that God doesn’t want to change who we are – he simply wants us to be everything He created us to be. The serial ‘advice-givers’ were given a recommendation – to pray and point people to God’s Word. We were also encouraged to listen; coach; model (lead by example) and develop relationships of trust. During the reflection time we considered how we’re discipling and evaluated what’s been effective and ineffective practice. What discipling practices are you being challenged to Stop. Start. or Continue. today?

The afternoon was filled with excitement as the largest swell to hit this stretch of coast in a few years arrived, providing some great opportunities to watch big waves, while the brave few took on the big drops and even bigger duckdives!

Day Two - Evening - Photos and Report

Who would have imagined that a group of teenagers meeting in Cronulla back in 1977 would have birthed a world mission movement to reach surfers? The first ever conference for Christian Surfers was in 1983, at the Tops Christian Centre - where we are right now! For that reason, it was only right to extend the invitation to celebrate our history and hear about the future with those who have partnered with Christian Surfers from the beginning until now.

More than 100 long-term supporters, former CS leaders, key church and mission leaders and friends of the ministry joined with us to commission BD into his new role and hear International Director, Roy Harley, share future vision.

Geoff Thompson who was with BD in 1975 and started the ball rolling as the first ‘Christian surfer’, was present and shared his story. Representatives from Gymea Baptist Church who, as BD said, “believed in a 23-year-old waxhead and his vision”, were honoured for more than 30 years of partnership, prayer and support. Awards were also presented to many national leaders and board members who have served Christian Surfers for over ten years.

The evening culminated with six creative performances; one from each region. The winners were the Central Americans with a skit based on Aussie conference slang – pure gold! 

We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every person and organisation who has been part of Christian Surfers history. Grateful too for those continuing to invest in its future.

Day Two - Morning - Photos and Report

Lucas Bartlett and the worship team started the day leading us into place of complete focus on and celebration of the One we love. It was an incredible privilege to sing and praise God together as one tribe in many languages.

David Wraight continued unpacking Biblical perspectives on our CS Big Ideas, today’s being Partnering. He spoke of our most importance partnership; partnering with God through prayer – communicating and communing with Him. David spoke about calling and purpose, encouraging us in consultation with God and fellow believers, to:

  • Discover our purpose
  • Determine our values
  • Define our strategic priorities
  • Consider our non-negotiables

David called us to align with others and other organisations that are aligned with our core purpose and vision. As a tribe we finished by sharing what God had highlighted to us then took time to hear what the Spirit was saying to each one of us through Psalm 139:23. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Before lunch and an afternoon of fun waves, each of the six regions took time to meet, pray and discuss how to best apply the big ideas to their local community and mission.

Day One - Evening - Photos and Report

Celebration of the Nations was the theme of the night and an excuse for crazy games, crazy fun and crazy national costumes! Our spectacular MC’s, Sera and Tim, hosted the night and ensured that we connected as a tribe, competing in dance-offs, tyre-pulls and pass-the-orange, culminating in one, giant tribe selfie.

Between each game, International Director Roy Harley, shared a story from his recent nine months of global, family travel – of people who quietly, effectively and passionately serve their local tribe. He finished with a salute to a group of secret heroes. He told of their passion for Jesus and commitment to serve, often without recognition.

Roy completed the story with the tribe ‘selfie’ we’d just taken stating, “Those secret heroes are you. Each and every one of you who love Jesus and serve His people – serving those who follow Him now and those who are yet to follow Him. Thank you, tribe, for the way you connect daily to see every surfer in every surfing community having the opportunity to know and follow Jesus.”

Day One - Morning - Photos and Report

It definitely feels like the family has gathered in one, big living room to connect and celebrate what God is doing in the world. Em Flowers and the creative team have done an incredible job creating a space that feels like a friend’s living room.

Guest speaker, David Wraight (International President/CEO Youth for Christ, kicked off our teaching sessions with a Biblical perspective on one of the CS Big Ideas – Connecting. We were challenged to consider if those we connect with encounter the Kingdom through us. What happens – or should happen – when the Kingdom of God truly comes in us, in the church, in our local community and in the world? So often prescribed theology and behavioural expectations are put forward as prerequisites for community ‘belonging’.

David suggested that a Kingdom encounter is primarily about: Bless, belong, believe and become. People should be ‘blessed’ by their encounter with authentic Jesus followers. The truth that Jesus died for all reminds us that all ‘belong’. We want people to ‘believe’ in Jesus, not our way of doing Christianity. And our ultimate desire should be that all ‘become’ all God designed them to be. We need to steer away from the temptation to recreate people in our own image.

Having heard God’s words to us we ended the session with a time of reflection, asking the Spirit to show us what he knows about us and how we connect with others. A great morning and start to conference followed by fun little waves around the local beachbreaks.

Welcome and First Day - Photos and Report

The 12th biannual Groundswell International Conference kicked off with an epic introduction to Australia for more than 200 delegates representing 26 nations. Our indigenous brothers welcomed us to country, called us to respect the land, the past and the future under God, and reminded us of the great hope of reconciliation through Jesus.

The band pumped out a melody of classic Aussie tunes, we were introduced to some of Australia’s unique wildlife, and were given a lesson on how to speak ‘Strayan’. We also celebrated the sharing of the sands ceremony that has come to be a staple of our international conference.

The most incredible part of the evening however is difficult to describe. It needs to be felt. It’s the energy of a tribe – of a family –  as it comes together with one heart and voice to celebrate its Maker. With so many nations together, it’s a taste of heaven on earth. And we get to experience this for the rest of the week... yew!