20 Years & the Legacy Continues
Q: How do you think growing up in a missionary family affected your perspective on church and evangelism?
A: My grandparents were missionaries in India for 25 years, and my parents were missionaries in Papua New Guinea for about 10 years. So I was raised in a family that believed in missions, believed in laying your life down for cause of the Gospel because your life isn’t your own – it is about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus!
Q: Who has made the biggest impact in your walk with the Lord?
A: I would say my Dad had the biggest impact. He was a very influential Christian leader in our nation. His constant humility and hunger for God and for lifting up Jesus impacted me. And what he was behind the pulpit is what he was at home. Growing up, my Dad was my hero.
Q: What is the most powerful encounter you have had with the Lord?
A: I have had five defining encounters with God:
When I was 15, I had an encounter with God that was about my future. A prophet prophesied over me that I would be a spokesman to the nations. And really, that is what I’m doing through Planetshakers now.
When I was 18, I had an encounter with God that helped me deal with my insecurities.
When I was 27, I had an encounter with God where God told me to start a conference called Planetshakers, which birthed everything that has happened since.
When I was 37, I had an encounter with God where he told me to start a church, and we’ve done that.
And when I was 47, I had another encounter where God spoke to me about “Chapter 2” of what God was going to do on the earth through our ministry.
Those encounters are what set us up.
Jesus said He had authority and power. The authority comes in the commission, but the power comes in the encounter. So I believe that every person should have daily encounters, but also defining encounters that provide direction to their life.
Q: How did Planetshakers Conference begin?
A: Planetshakers Conference began through one of those defining encounters with God. I was sitting in a conference, and the fire of God came on me so strong. The Spirit of God spoke to me and said, “Start a conference called Planetshakers.” I said, “God, what’s that?” And He said, “You’ll see.”
I’ve discovered since that, God never tells you the 10 point plan; He just gives you the first step.
So out of that encounter I had with God, I started a youth conference called Planetshakers. We started with 300 young people; and then it grew and grew to 30,000 young people across Australia. We started our church out of that, and our music obviously came out of that, and now millions of people are impacted around the world. We’re just amazed at what God has done.
Q: How do you hope to see the vision of “empowering generations to win generations” fulfilled?
A: Planetshakers is all about Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you to be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the outer most parts of the earth.” That word “power” means ability, efficiency, and might.
Planetshakers really is about creating an environment for people to encounter the Holy Spirit, Who then empowers them to change the world. This world is in a mess, and it needs people to bring change. It will be God’s people, who have encountered Him and have His power, who will literally change the world one city, one street, one neighbourhood, one house at a time.
Q: Your ministry has been marked by freedom in the Holy Spirit. How did this begin for you, and what’s the importance of the baptism in the Holy Spirit for believers?
A: The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I think sometimes we allow our culture to define who we are, rather than letting the Kingdom of God define who we are.
The Bible says that we are ambassadors of Heaven. I am an Australian citizen, but an ambassador of Heaven. So am I going to allow my culture to define me, or God’s Kingdom? The atmosphere of the Kingdom is the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit.
If I am going to be a person of the Kingdom, I need to be free in the Holy Spirit. At Planetshakers, we are passionate about allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to be free in worship and praise.
When you get saved, you receive the Spirit of God. But in Acts 2 we see a second experience, which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where the Holy Spirit comes upon you to empower you to do the work of God, and He enables you to be who God has called you to be and to do what God has called you to do.
Q: How is the environment cultivated for the Holy Spirit to move within a church or conference setting?
A: Obviously, there are Kingdom principles – like praise and worship. If you look at what Heaven is like, it’s full of praise and worship. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. So we are passionate about being praisers; and we praise God with our bodies which creates an environment for breakthrough to happen.
At Planetshakers, we have a service plan, but the service plan doesn’t have to run to the second. It actually is there to guide us. So if the Holy Spirit begins to move in a certain way, He is the conductor. It’s His meeting. And it’s simply our job to flow with where He’s going and what He’s doing. Yes we have plans and structures, but they are flexible to what God is doing and where God is moving in any moment.
We are excited about seeing Him do what He does in our services, because our services are all about encountering Him and letting Him work. We are there to host Him and honour Him, and as we do that, He moves and does amazing things.
Q: Planetshakers music is automatically associated with joy, dancing and freedom. How did this begin?
A: It began because it actually represents what God is like. He’s full of joy; He’s full of freedom. We decided to look at what the Bible says about how a Christian should worship and how a Christian should pray. The Bible says, “Clap your hands all you people,” and, “Shout to God with a voice of triumph.” The Bible talks about dancing and shouting. There are so many Scriptures on celebration. If you look at Heaven, it talks about trumpets blowing.
The sound we release should be the sound of Heaven on the earth.
Heaven is a place of joy, celebration, and freedom, and at Planetshakers we are passionate about getting our bodies to come into line with what our Spirit man is doing – and our Spirit man is a praiser and a worshipper.
Our hands, feet, and mouths were all created to praise God. Really our body is an instrument of praise. So we engage our body to praise our Creator. That’s what we want our expression of worship to be like.
Q: This year marks the 20th annual Planetshakers Conference in Melbourne, Australia! Do you have a favorite Conference moment from the last 2 decades?
A: There are so many moments that have been impacting. Going back in the years, Pastor Rich Wilkerson from Miami preached a sermon titled “I Want the Cross” which was a defining moment in the conference. Young people cried out, “I want the cross!”, expressing that they wanted to lay their lives down for the cause of the cross. It was in our second year, and it literally shifted something in the Spirit and in the atmosphere. It brought change to the lives of so many young people and created a great momentum.
Pastor Glen Berteau from Modesto, California, preached a sermon on praise. Praise exploded in the sermon, and people began to praise God for the next 30 minutes at over 120 decibels. Glen couldn’t finish his sermon. It was a supernatural praise.
There are moments as Reggie Dabbs ministered to people; Tommy Barnett talking about reaching cities; Chris Hill preaching a sermon about the seven steps of praise; Bishop TD Jakes bringing words straight from God. There are so many moments.
I remember Robert Morris preaching on worship, and after his message we went into a moment of worship that was the literal awe of God. It’s hard for me to say what would be the greatest moment, because there are hundreds of moments.
What is exciting to me is that everywhere I go, I meet leaders who say things like “at a Planetshakers Conference, God told me to start my ministry,” or “I got called by God to be a preacher at a Planetshakers Conference,” or “I had a dream to start up a business, or an NGO, or NFP at a Planetshakers Conference.” In the environment of Planetshakers, there is an impregnation of dreams and visions that occurs. So many people’s lives have been impacted. And really, that’s what it is all about. It’s not about the music and songs that have touched millions of people – it’s actually about the lives that been changed.
My favourite Conference sessions are my wife, Sam’s, because they always shift the atmosphere at the Conference. Always.
Q: The theme of this year’s Conference is “after 20 years, it’s still all about His presence.” What does this mean to you?
A: It’s an encounter with Him that makes everything different. It’s not about the lights; it’s not about the sound, or the name. It’s not about anything but His presence. All we want is for a generation to encounter Him. Once they encounter Him, they’ll take His presence everywhere they go – and it’s His presence that makes a difference.
Q: This year Daystar will be broadcasting the conference. Tell us about this partnership and what Daystar brings to the table.
A: We are so honoured that Daystar have put their vision and their ministry behind Planetshakers and partnered with us. Daystar is a global ministry that is touching millions and millions of people. It takes what we do in Melbourne to a global audience so that people all over the world can encounter God.
It’s like a megaphone on steroids. Through Daystar’s platform, they have the ability to take the message of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. And we are so honoured and grateful to have them a part of Planetshakers. We love Marcus and Joni and all our family at Daystar!
Q: Why are you excited to be bringing this conference and its message to the Daystar viewers around the world?
A: We are excited because we believe that, in this season and this hour, an encounter with God is the only answer. We are a part of the most educated, nurtured, and technologically savvy generation, but we have more problems and more issues than there have ever been. It’s an encounter with Jesus that will bring change to nations.
The partnership between Planetshakers and Daystar enables the message of Jesus to get into the hearts of millions, and potentially billions, of people around the world. And as the message of Jesus goes into people’s homes, bringing hope and life and love, people can encounter Him. And out of that encounter, those people can change their world. Then, we can see our world literally change for the glory of God.
Q: One unique thing that’s happening is Daystar will be doing some live Marcus and Joni and Table Talk shows at the conference. Tell us about that. And are you excited to be adding this element to the conference?
A: Yeah, that’s an exciting feature that we are having this year.
One of those shows will be looking at the 20 years of Planetshakers Conference, and what has happened out of that. It will include an exciting story of what has happened, but also what is going to happen. It’s going to be a great session, and a little bit different format.
We then have another “Joni Table Talk” session with Mmusi Maimane, who is the opposition leader in South Africa. The whole segment will be on ‘discipling nations,’ which is one of the things that we feel called to do. It’s going to be really interesting to talk about how we as the church are called to disciple nations. That is one of the sessions that I’m really looking forward to. It has a very unique twist to it. Marcus will also be speaking and sharing with our business people. It’s going to be awesome.
Q: People will be watching Planetshakers Conference 2017 LIVE on Daystar from all over the world! What do you hope they will experience?
A: Planetshakers’ vision is “empowering generations to win generations.” Our dream and our prayer is that everyone watching will have an encounter with God. That encounter with Jesus will empower them – give them ability, efficiency, and might – to go and change their world. And this world needs changing.
To learn more about Planetshakers Conference on Daystar, or to find ways to watch in your area, click here: Daystar.com/Planetshakers!