She selects a group of buff parishioners and members of the band to line up on stage. Each takes turns flashing the crowd the actor’s signature raised eyebrow, to approval and gushing laughter.
Pastor Pingel then leads the congregation in prayer, the band plays anthemic rock music and the big screens either side of the stage light up with suggestions for what people can pray for.
The suggestions include financial stability, luck with job applications and visa approvals.
Pentecostalism is not just about rock music and laughs, it also promises the Holy Spirit can help you in this life, in practical ways, not just in the afterlife.
This “prosperity doctrine” is key to how Pentecostal Christianity is attracting new demographics of worshippers, particularly migrants and young people.
How popular is Pentecostal Christianity?
The Pentecostal church has succeeded where other Christian denominations are struggling.
“Australia’s largest churches in every capital city and in the regions are all Pentecostal churches,” said Andrew Singleton, an associate professor of sociology and social research at Deakin University.
“Starting with Hillsong in Sydney and churches in Melbourne and Adelaide like Planet Shakers, Riverside Church, Paradise Church are all Pentecostal.
“More people are attending Pentecostal churches than any other Christian denomination, they put bums on seats.”
The last census showed a marginal increase in the number of Australian Pentecostals, from 220,000 in 2006 to 260,500 in 2016, while other religions declined.
It is also polling well with young people, with people under 30 making up a large section of the congregations.
WallMart religion and the props of a Pink Floyd concert…..and Jesus is ready to Boogie.