27 June 2018


By John Ollis


We returned to Australia at the end of 1999 and not having any ministry options initially open to us. We couldn’t  immediately get back into our home either and were living with our son and his family for about three months.
I received a phone call inviting me to teach a class in a local church Bible School which I accepted, this led to involvement in that local church as well, UNTIL I was invited to join the Faculty of Hillsong International Leadership College on a contractual basis a few months later. I was free during the College breaks to minister on the Mission field. This was a double bonus to me as the student body at that time was around 600 strong, with 50% being overseas students.(the mission field was coming to me) So daily I was interacting with students from many countries in the world. We sold our home in Western Sydney and moved to Norwest Sydney, our home was just minutes away from the College.
To have 100+ students in a class was a new challenge (not thinking that one day I would have 300+ classes). I offered to take teams to the mission field which I did on a couple of occasions to Jakarta, Bali and Kupang West Timor. Some of the students were Indonesian and it included a young man who had migrated with his family to Australia, he had an awesome conversion, and I had the privilege of mentoring him for a while, he now leads the Hillsong ministry for Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, Chris was one of many young men I have the privilege to walk with. I also made numerous trips to Vietnam during the College breaks
Sydney is one of the major multi cultural cities in the world, so it wasn’t long before I was ministering most weekends in an ethnic church somewhere in Sydney.
Because of my Pastoral ministry, (after a couple of years) I was invited to become the Dean of Pastoral Care,  and also to assist in  College administration including student enrolments. Margaret also began to work part time in the College Library, her creative skills were again made much use off.
I guess in many ways I was carrying a two fold burden, preaching and teaching in the College, and living every day with the constant burden of the mission field. How the burden was birthed will be told in another chapter, I guess in hindsight the practicality of continuing to carry such a two fold burden had to come to an end.
Brian & Bobbie Houston go on holidays in January, so other Pastoral staff handle the preaching. Two Sundays running the preaching was really all about “new year resolutions”. I sat in church and was led to pray which I now see was a very dangerous prayer, I prayed “LORD I WANT TO LOVE YOU MORE THIS YEAR, AND HAVE AN EVEN GREATER BURDEN FOR SOUTH EAST ASIA”. This prayer was answered in a very remarkable way.
Each year Hillsong church has a Staff camp usually in April (actually held in a hotel) there were 300+ staff there plus husbands and wives. In one of the early sessions Brian Houston was preaching, he stopped and pointed to me and said “John you have a dream in your heart, it is now time to fulfil it”. You can appreciate I was blown away,  I had know Brian for over 30 years, he had come with his father who conducted an evangelistic crusade in my church in Sydney in 1974. Brian naturally speaking knew little of where I was at, I was almost 64, he could have thought I wanted to wind down not fulfil a great Missions dream. On our return home, and after much prayer and discussion with Margaret, and with Margaret’s full support and encouragement I resigned my position at the College after almost six years, I would conclude at the end of term two at the end of August 2005. We both knew I could be away for up to three months at a time which was a big sacrifice for both of us, the Lord had clearly spoken to Margaret’s heart and she was willing to release me, she continued to work part time in the College Library.
I didn’t really have any specific plans nor how the ministry would be financed, but an invitation came soon after I resigned that again blew me away, that took me to a new level of ministry and responsibility and more than ever I was living the dream.