Today we meet Real Pastor Russell MacKenzie
Russell is the children’s pastor at Legana Christian Church. I love any pastor or volunteer that is willing to sow into the next generation. They are very special people.
I always used to tell people that I loved children and had 5 to prove it. Years later, from my favourite saying, I have been blessed to work with over 1000 different children, in schools as a chaplain, helping in local communities and now as a primary school teacher at Newstead Christian School and Children’s Pastor at Legana Christian Church.
Psalm 145:3-5 says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Matthew 19:15 says ‘…Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”’
Matthew 28:19 to 20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
These scriptures combine to tell me, that to take on the call of telling children about Jesus is a great and wonderful calling. Verses like these inspire me to serve God with kids. They remind me of the power of God to save all people. They tell me that regardless of who, what, how, when and the where of a person’s life, Jesus is their answer.
It is my privilege to work with kids. I love their honesty, their passion for life, their willingness to listen and their smiles. Working with kids is a mission partly carried out on your knees and requires learning from a child’s perspective and to know who they are and what is important to them. I love building relationships with kids.
Kids lives haven’t always been so complex, but today they are facing battles they don’t always understand or choose to be in, living with the consequences of the decisions of the adults in their lives. However, Kids’ Ministry is about teaching them about a God whose greatness is unsearchable, who can meet every need they have and especially their greatest need.
In working with kids my vision is to help kids “Discover and Follow Our Great God: Jesus.” This means I need a little bit of an idea what this looks like and model this journey myself. Discovering more of Jesus every day is such a wonderful and inspiring part of life. Getting into God’s Word and seeing the truths in it never seen before is amazing. That’s why in my ministry to kids in church, or school, the Bible is central. It is from here all other material and teaching is based. Above all kids need to know about Jesus and the Bible reveals Him. We present this in a fun way, rather than seeking to have fun and add bits of the Bible to it. We need a Kids Ministry that champions the God of the Bible!
One of the greatest dangers for all Christian leaders is to assume that children in Christian homes, Church or Christian schools know who Jesus is and what the Bible tells us about Him. I pray that God equips leaders everywhere to love the Bible and use it to help children discover who God is and allow this knowledge to transform them and the children in their care. I pray that God equips me to lead my team to do this effectively and that the kids entrusted to us will discover Jesus, who loves them unconditionally.
Keep smiling and may God bless you,
Legana Christian Church
Today we introduce to you Pastor Steve Pidd.
Steve pastors with his wife Evelyne (Em), and three children Kass, Daniel and John.
They pastor the Covenant Family Church
Why did you became a pastor
I have a passion to see people receive all that Jesus paid for and be equipped to minister it on.
What’s your highlight in ministry?
I honestly struggle to find a highlight, every time I see God heal or free somebody it is such a buzz…. if that is not too spiritual sounding!
What are your hobbies, favourite food and favourite film.
I really like playing tennis or table tennis but haven’t had time the last few years. Maybe later this year?
I have a real weakness for a good pizza but probably only indulge 2 or 3 times a year as I am trying to avoid being too FULL gospel, if you know what I mean.
The original Matrix film is hard to go past with its picture of a takeover of the Earth, its people going mindlessly through life in a program that is not reality, John the Baptist figure, Judas and savior who goes through a journey of faith growth into realising who he is and what is really possible. Throw in a prophet, a resurrection etc. etc. it’s hard to go past!
What are you currently reading
At the moment I am Snacking. Re reading a number of books. Probably right now God’s Generals tops the list.
What is your vision or hope or dream for 2016
In 2016 we are relaunching our School of Healing and Freedom under the new banner of 418 Centre. This comes from Luke 4:18 where Jesus announced that the Spirit of the Lord was on Him and what the outworking of that anointing would be. Clearly the Holy Spirit is now on the church to meet the needs of mankind in the same way. We are hoping to see 418 Centre’s pop up in churches all over the place. We have the privilege of training Pastors and leaders overseas this year and we hope this results in ‘seeding’ these places with more ministry tools to bring the good news. The 418 Centre website should be running by the middle of April.
I love it when those who are far from Christ get raised into a new life with him. Taylor is one pastor that was far from Christ who is now living a radical life for Jesus.
Real Pastor Taylor Forward
Hi, I’m Taylor Forward and my family has only just begun I have been married for almost 4 years to the amazing Danielle Forward, and hopefully in the next few years our Forward family will grow.
I pastor the rock community church (the one in Tas) with my mother in law Louisa De Bruyn
Why did I become a Pastor?
I ask my self the same question quite often hahahaha.
There are a few big contributing factors to why I decided that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The main one (super corny) is that I truly feel like it is a calling on my life + I just LOVE seeing young people make good life decisions weather that be to follow Jesus for the 1st time or to continue to follow him.
I have had A LOT of amazing moments in ministry but its really hard to top the moments when the Holy Spirit shows up and lives get changed in a physical, mental and spiritual way. Camps and special events are a good one for this!!! We have a youth camp coming up in the next few weeks and I’m believing of this one to be the biggest highlight to date!!
Favourite spot, hobby, movies or food?
By far my biggest hobby is drifting! (If you don't know what it is google it, but its a form of motorsport.) If I'm not doing something to do with church or youth the chances are I am doing something to do with drifting, whether it be working on the car or racing the car!
– I like all kinds of movies and all kinds of food.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am currently reading a few books (I just need to finish some haha). I’m reading a book on Paul from Beth Moore. Paul is by far my favourite bible character (apart from Jesus obviously), and Counter Culture by David Platt and the Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton
Taylor , What is your vision or hope or dream for 2016
To stick at it!!! I just want to continue to facilitate an environment where leaders can be bought up and new believers can grow, where people that are far from Jesus can meet him for the 1st time!
I have a crazy dream to see 1000 young people per week coming through one of our 3 youth ministries, and as I type that it still seams like a some what stupid dream but one thing I have learnt with God is that I can never set the bar too high for him!!
Tim pastors at the Tailrace Community Church in Launceston, Tasmania with his wife Sharon.
Let’s meet Real Pastor Tim O’Neill:
I’ve just celebrated my 28th year of marriage with my wife Sharon. It was Sharon, a former missionary kid, that resulted in me coming to faith 30 years ago. Sharon is not only my wife, best friend and inseparable soul mate, but my invaluable ministry partner.
We have three wonderful children Jono (25), Michael (24) and Rachael (20) with Erica a precious daughter in law, married to Jono.
Our church is called Tailrace Community. Until recently it was known as New Directions Community Church.
The church is named after the geographical location where we are located (the Tailrace) and the building that we own and have met in for nine years (The Tailrace Centre). We built the Tailrace Centre as a way with connecting with people from the community who wouldn’t normally go to church.
It’s a church that Sharon and I (along with a few others) started in Launceston Tasmania 22 years ago. We had a burden to establish a church that would reach out to people who didn’t have the incredible and eternal blessing of knowing Jesus in a way that made them part of God’s family.
This was brought home to us in the year that we started the church when we knew seven people who took their own lives. We so much wanted them to find the peace and the transformational faith that we had and that I not long before had discovered. This faith had changed my life, and given me hope and purpose and we desperately wanted others to be assisted in going on their own faith journey.
I never intended to become a pastor. I was an ambitious, young Chartered Accountant who was embarking on a successful business career. But God did two things that I didn’t expect.
The first was to call Sharon and I to pioneer a church to reach the unchurched, which we did in April 1994. I was going to be the business person who helped fund it and help with leadership. And so we set Sunday April 17 1994 as the date for the church to be started. We started looking for the pastor God surely had for us, but the the trouble was that we didn’t find one! And so I, along with Sharon, ended up being “it”!
The second thing that God did was to change my heart. A few years before starting the church I had walked away from the opportunity of being a partner in an accounting firm. Then some years later (after we had started the church) I felt the very clear, very precise and very compelling call of God to devote myself fully to the work of the ministry.
I loved my work in the business world.
It stimulated me, it taught me much and it was very good to us, but I had been listening for the call of God, placing my future in His hands even if it meant something other than pursuing further business success. By the time I heard that call, my heart was already there.
What’s your highlight in ministry?
That’s a simple one. It’s seeing someone come to faith, seeing their eternities and their lives being transformed, and seeing them walk into the fullness of the call God has for them. It doesn’t get any better than that! That’s the focal point of everything that I do.
God doesn’t call us to build organisations or ministries, but to see His Kingdom expanded by every person who identifies themselves as being a Christian growing in the way that they follow Jesus, and then seeking to reach others and help them grow as disciples. That’s got to be the WHY behind why we lead and serve churches and ministries.
My focus is not to build the church I lead; it’s to nurture, build, equip and mobilise the people who I meet and who become the church.
I love seeing how a number of people we have discipled have gone on to start churches that then repeat the process. I also love seeing how people of influence, whether politicians, business people or leaders in other realms have gone on to bring a godly influence to their spheres of influence. I want to do all that I can to cheer them on and to help them however I can.
What are your hobbies, favourite food and favourite film?
My favourite hobby is fly fishing. I’m an introvert who loves getting away and surrounding myself with the beauty that nature provides. For me there is nothing better than being on a river somewhere, surrounded by beauty, having time to contemplate and at the same time being focused on finding trout and tricking them into taking my fly.
I also love the beach and am blessed to have a holiday place on the coast where we can retreat to and where I can take long walks with Sharon.
My favourite food would have to be steak that I cooked over a BBQ, but there are also many other foods I enjoy.
As to my favourite film, I’m not sure about that. I generally prefer to read novels than watch a film. I really enjoy historical novels.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve recently finished 2 magnificent books that are both inspiring and equipping. They paint a picture of what church can be like; not what the current forms of church in developed countries look like.
I’m also privileged to have been involved in the leadership of a movement for 14 years (similar to those described in the books), where we have seen approx. 20,000 churches planted mainly amongst 172 previously unreached people groups. Going there is like going back to the book of Acts, and brings me to ask “why can’t this happen in Australia”, and to realise that it can!
What is your vision or hope or dream for 2016?
2016 is a year of transition for me. It’s an exciting time as later in the year I’ll formally take on the leadership of A2A as President.
It’s a time for building on the great foundation that has already been established in A2A by Phillip Mutzelburg the founding leader of A2A, by Trevor Chandler who saw CLCI birthed, by the National Leadership Team and by the leaders of the churches in the movement.
The mission of A2A is to raise enduring leaders to build prevailing churches. That’s my focus. Why? Because our country needs this to happen!
There is a mission field on our doorsteps that is waiting for the love of Christ, His wisdom, His forgiveness and His leadership to be released so that people can be brought into His family, experiencing His grace and transformational power.
The starting point is looking for young people (and not so young!) with the potential for ministry and leadership on their lives; to envision them, to equip them and to stimulate them to seek God not as to whether but what He is calling them to be and do. And then to assist them to walk in His call.
2016 is a year that we will be building fresh foundations upon the foundations already so carefully laid. We will do this, with the hope and desire of seeing leaders raised who will see new churches pioneered as well as existing churches revitalised, so that we become a movement of healthy churches that reflect the church in Acts 2.
The end result that we wish to see is that multitudes throughout our country and beyond will come to discover Jesus and become authentic followers of Him.
Who can’t help but love this bubbly warm couple who Pastor at New Hope Brisbane.
Let’s meet Real Pastors Matt & Carol Prater.
Why did you become a pastor?
I felt called to become a youth pastor in my late teens, and after about 10 years as a youth pastor, I thought I’d be one forever. Then when the opportunity came up to Pastor at New Hope, I was really shocked. I thought maybe one day I might be able to do that, but I didn’t feel equipped. I’d done Bible college, and I’d worked in Christian radio, & I thought I was way too under-qualified. So Carol & I sought the Lord, & threw out fleeces, and everything pointed towards Pastoring. And even though I didn’t feel ready, sometimes the best training is on the job training. And what a journey the last ten years have been.
What do you love about the church you are pastoring?
I love New Hope. We are an inner-city church with a great mix of people. We have over 35 nationalities, heaps of Uni students, families, and homeless people. One of the favourite things we’ve launched is a weekly Soup kitchen, I go around & pick up people from the homeless shelters & we give them a 3 course meal & some clothes and a bag of goodies to take away with them. We’ve seen a lot of people come to Christ, & we just saw 6 baptisms from this group last week!
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are going to the beach & the pool with the kids. Walking along the creek near our house, searching for treasure with the kids, watching movies and date nights with my bride.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading “Positioned for Miracles,” By Dr Jerry Stott (Area Missionary, Foursquare churches) “Faith Under Fire” By Andrew White – Vicar of Baghdad, & “A Joyful Pilgrimage” by Emmy Arnold about the Bruderhof Christian community in Inverell.
Eggs Benedict with Salmon.
What is your 'Why'? What gets you excited?
What gets me excited about ministry is to see souls saved. The Lord challenged me about the Parable of the Kings Banquet. We need to go out to the highways & byways & compel the lost, the sick, the crippled and the lonely to come & be saved. I felt challenged a few years ago, that if New Hope was taken out of our city, who would notice? We need to impact our community, we need to shine a light in this dark world.
What is your hope for 2016?
My hope for 2016 is to raise up more connect groups to disciple our new converts. We went from 3 connect groups to 7 last year, & we want to raise up more this year. Every believer should be discipled in a connect group, and each connect group should raise up new leaders, to launch new groups. This is one thing we are focussing on now.