Craig leads Plentylife Anglican Church, based in Melbourne, Victoria. With a Bachelor of Education, a Masters in Divinity, and a Graduate Diploma in Bible and Ministry, Craig is passionate about helping others become all they’ve been called to be in Christ. Don’t doubt Craig’s enthusiasm and positivity; he genuinely is like that all the time (just ask his staff team!). In his spare time, Craig can be found spending time with family and friends, listening to live music, going to the gym, and going to the movies.
Maria lives and works in the UK with her family. She looks after our accounts. Generally speaking, we would all be a complete mess without her. In her spare time, Maria likes kicking back with a glass of wine and good friends!
Anne lives and works in Melbourne, Victoria with her husband and two children. She is passionate about discipleship along the way with her family and extended MC family. Anne is enthusiastic about her role at Plentylife Anglican Church both on the staff team and leading a missional community with her husband. In her spare time, Anne can be found spending time with her family and good friends!
Gabi lives and works in Launceston, Tasmania. Gabi is finishing her undergraduate degree in psychology and hopes to continue on to write a thesis in 2019. She’s a part-time chaplain, part-time psychology student, part-time leader at her local church, and part-time operations manager working on leadership consultancy. She is passionate about working with young people in the mental health sector, and helping people live in alignment with their calling and values. She drinks too much coffee, she’s a passionate advocate for the environment, and she’ll talk your ear off about waste reduction if you give her the chance.
Steve lives in Melbourne and is currently Senior Pastor at Heathmont Baptist Church where he has served since 2009.
One of Steve’s life orientating scriptures is from the Gospel of when Jesus said “I have come to bring life and life to the full” (John 10:10 ). Steve loves sport, is particularly passionate about the Carlton Blues in AFL, (where he is on the journey of humility!!) as well as being keen on the other football (soccer) and other sports. He loves theatre and film, and enjoys good food, good wine and good coffee!
Steve holds a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary focus on Leadership & Church Engagement in Discipleship and Mission. In addition to ministry at Heathmont he is active in Training, and Consulting Church and Mission Ministry staff & leaders around discipleship, mission and leadership, and speaks at Churches and events
BEN JOHNSON – COACH & PRESENTER
Ben lives in Melbourne, Victoria, with his wife, four kids, one lovely housemate and their German Shepherd. He leads Harvest Church in Officer, which operates as a collection of Missional Communities. Ben’s passionate about all things outdoors, whether that’s hiking, camping or 4wd’ing. Ben is also a chaplain in the Army Reserves, serving in a local Engineering Regiment (he tells us that Engineers spend their time building things and then blowing them up). He’s also a blue belt in jujitsu, and could take out our entire team in a fight if he wanted to! OK… Maybe he didn’t actually say that. In his spare time Ben can be found enjoying a good book, or studying a Masters in Missional Leadership. That’s right – Ben is a Master Missional Leader!
Hannah Whiting is busy learning what it means to be a part of a young family on mission. With two toddlers life looks dramatically different to how it did several years ago when she worked as an English and Literature teacher. Now an MC leader at Plenty Life she and her husband, Leigh, lead a Missional Community called Balance that hopes to love and care for young families in their local neighbourhood while encouraging their community to prioritise rest, discipleship and play. In this highly changeable season of life her family wakes up early, rides bikes, flies kites, changes nappies and hopes to encourage each other to love and serve the Lord as they seek to understand what it looks like to be a family on mission.
Dave lives and leads Connect Baptist Church-Deagon on the northern bayside area of Brisbane. Dave has been leading Connect (and previously Sandgate Baptist) for the last eighteen years. Dave is married to Leanne and has three adult children and one small dog. Connect Baptist has been on a journey of relational discipleship and local mission since 2013 and is transitioning an existing church to embrace local mission as an effective vehicle for outreach.
Dave also has a second role mentoring Christian leaders from churches and the not for profit sector. This role takes him all over a large area of western and metropolitan Queensland throughout the year. In his spare time he likes to ride motorcycles, road and dirt, and remote area camping and 4wding. The best holidays are the ones to outback Australia. His biblical studies were at Queensland Baptist College of Ministry (now Malyon College) and has a Bachelor of Ministry and Graduate diploma of ministry.
Mark lives in Hawthorn – home of great coffee the (once) mighty fighting hawks. He works bi-vocationally in engineering and spends rest of his time investing in mission and discipleship. Mark is married to Fiona and has three great kids and loves getting out in the great outdoors whether it is the surf or the mountains.
Colin & Sue live in Brisbane and work for The Salvation Army. As members of the National Local Mission Delivery team they give support to Salvation Army leaders across Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory. Prior to this they have been local church leaders for over 30 years and have a heart to see the church in Australia being effective in the commission to make disciples and to grow healthy faith communities.
They have four adult children, 2 beautiful granddaughters and Levi, their small but effective guard dog. They love holidaying at the beach and catching up with family and friends.
Bree is the Senior Associate Pastor at Glen Waverley Anglican Church, overseeing the Next Generation Ministries and Missional Discipleship. She has recently completed a Masters of Missional Leadership, focusing on missional revitalization in existing Churches. She is passionate about catalyzing change, raising leaders, and engaging all generations in contextualised mission. She is married to Brian and they have three children spanning primary and high-school. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going for long walks, and watersports including wakeboarding!
Youth & Young Adults Pastor Glen Waverley Anglican Church
Catalyse Change is a charity led by Rich Robinson, which empowers leaders to realise their personal vision, bring significant transformation, and see lasting impact in the communities and organisations they lead.
Founded on an approach of integrity and intentionality, Catalyse Change coaches a wide range of churches and organisations around the world in the principles of discipleship, leadership, community and mission.
The Good Soil Collective / Te Waka One Pai is a whanau of diverse Christian leaders who share a passion for mission and discipleship. We’re made up of church pastors, pioneering leaders, and everyday followers of Jesus, from different denominations and organisations. The Good Soil Collective are commited to learn from the experiences and processes that people beyond our shores have found to be fruitful in discipleship; but we also feel that for Aotearoa to see a far-reaching discipleship movement take root in our land, that we need to have deep indigenous and home-grown roots. That means we will take Maori perspectives seriously in the way we work, we’ll take into account the history and whakapapa of this land, and we’ll be attentive to any issues that are specifically “Kiwi” in nature.
A waka is a kind of Maori Canoe that requires all of those on board to pick up their respective oar (“kaihapai”) and each do their part to get the boat moving. This is exactly how we see the Good Soil Collective becoming a movement.
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God and inerrant in the original writings. We believe that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe that the lost and sinful man must be saved, and that man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We believe in and practice the holy ordinance of water baptism, which signifies the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection into new life with Christ Jesus, and the regular celebration of Holy Communion as commanded by our Lord.
We believe in the present ministry and baptism of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; those that are saved into the resurrection of life and those that are unsaved into the resurrection of damnation.
We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
In recognition of the tremendous growth forecast for the Plenty Valley, Bishop Stephen Hale set up a Taskforce in 2007 to investigate the possibility of establishing a new Anglican community in the area. With representation from local churches and Ivanhoe Grammar School, this Taskforce developed a plan that included the need for a point person to further the work. In response to this, two years ago St John’s Diamond Creek took a great step of faith by employing a staff member to not only serve its own congregation but to focus on establishing a new parish for Mernda. Craig spent his first year getting to know the area, building relationships and discerning what God was already up to in His mission of reaching residents and retailers with His love. Throughout the following year a core team began to form around a vision that arose again and again through prayer, of a red gum taking root in the heart of Mernda and growing while the roots reached out to every corner of the community. This vision of being organic church integrally connected to local community found a means of expression through the “Sheffield Model”, which was first developed by St Thomas’s in Sheffield (UK) nearly 15 years ago.
With a focus on “missional communities” the Sheffield model emphasises the need for Christians to meet with people in their own world rather than expecting them to enter ours. After spending time with the staff of St Thomas’s, Craig and the team began work on adapting the model for our own local context and subsequently launched two playgroups in the second half of 2010. A missional community has also begun forming around crafts and the creative arts which runs a stall at the Laurimar market to raise money for various causes. Three preview services were also held as God continued to draw people into the Plentylife community.
We now launch with a much clearer vision of who God wants us to be, a five-strong leadership team with responsibilities for missional communities, youth, families, and administration, and leadership for three missional communities focused on families, crafts and the creative arts and the outdoor life. And it’s true that we wouldn’t be at this point today if it wasn’t for the generous support of the Diocese, St Johns and other supporting churches! So now together we look forward to what else God might have in store for us according to His grace.