Our keynote speakers from our previous conferences have each added to our understandings in their own ways. Delegates have wonderfully and respectfully engaged with the topics; agreeing & disagreeing in ways that sharpen our perspectives; adding fuel and passion to our ministry journeys. Thank you to each of them.

2013

This conference was held at The Tops campsite, south coast NSW, and featured the following speakers.

Leadership

with Andrew Ball
Under the Microscope – The Ethos of Leadership

Would someone help me learn to be real without compromise!
There are so many pressures on leaders to perform to so many expectations. Our church world is full of pragmatic approaches or methods for leadership. But what if you were to simply model leadership from who you are called to “be”. Real leaders don’t pretend, don’t perform and don’t fudge – they simply function from a genuine foundation. Our nation has quite rightly critiqued the church, and we have been found wanting. A new era is emerging, where leaders must embody what it means to be a follower of Jesus for the cause of His kingdom. The real question is are you up for that?
Andrew is the Executive Ministry Director for Churches of Christ in NSW, Chairman of Churches of Christ in Australia, and Network Director of Southpoint Australia
For over twenty-two years, Andrew has been ministering in Churches of Christ across Australia. He is married to Wendy and has three awesome children, who enjoy family life exploring God’s creation together. Andrew trained initially in Chemistry and Pharmacology and has a degree in Divinity and is soon to finish a Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in the USA. His initial career was as a consultant to the Victorian Parliament and Health Department as well as working in the chemicals industry.  Andrew’s call to ministry was evidenced by his first love for youth ministry. In the late 80’s he pioneered Youth Vision across Churches of Christ and then went on into local church ministry for nearly 15 years. Andrew’s primary passion currently, is to see the movement of Churches of Christ resource the local church. In NSW he has led a dramatic turnaround in the financial viability of the movement and launched an initiative called the “synergy project” which has given away approximately $1 million to affiliated churches over a 5 year period. Implicit in this approach are new resources to help churches major on spiritual leadership rather than programmed or corporate approaches to ministry. Andrew launched the Southpoint network in 2011 which focuses on promoting God’s Agenda in the Australasia region. His doctoral thesis is exploring the notion of healthy spiritual leadership teams as it relates to ministers and elders working in teams.

Evangelism

with Mike Frost
Out of the Aquarium … Much youth and children’s ministry seems to be aimed at keeping kids “out of the world.” Our church-based programs for young people make the assumption we can create safe alternative “Christian spaces” that protect them from the dangers and influences of the world. It’s like raising fragile tropical fish in an aquarium where the water temperature and Ph balance are carefully monitored. We all know if tropical fish were released into the ocean they would die almost instantly. This presentation will question whether our ministries are like aquariums and whether we need to foster a more robust missional spirituality among our young people so we can release them into the world younger and stronger.
Mike is the Vice Principal of Morling College & founding Director of the Tinsley Institute, a mission study centre located at Morling College in Sydney, Australia
Dr Michael Frost is an internationally recognised Australian missiologist and one of the leading voices in the missional church movement. His books are required reading in colleges and seminaries around the world and he is much sought after as an international conference speaker.
He is the author or editor of twelve theological books, the most recent of which are the popular and award-winning, The Shaping of Things to Come (2003), Exiles (2006) and The Road to Missional (2012). These books explore a missional framework for the church in a postmodern era. Frost’s work has been translated into German, Korean and Spanish. Their popularity has seen him regularly speaking at conferences in the US, the UK and across Europe, and as far afield as Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.
He was one of the founders of the Forge Mission Training Network and the founder of the missional Christian community, smallboatbigsea, based in Manly in Sydney’s north. He is the weekly religion columnist for The Manly Daily and helped establish Action Against Poverty, a localised micro-financing agency, linking the cities of Manly and Manado, an impoverished Indonesian community. He was instrumental in launching Street Pastors Manly, a church-based initiative aimed at curbing alcohol-related violence.

He lives in Manly with his wife Carolyn, the director of an incarnational ministry among the poor, and their three daughters.

Advocacy

with Paul O’Rourke
Speaking up for the least, the lowest, the voiceless, broken and unseen children of Oz

This keynote contains several parts:

  • The harmful, evil and unhealthy forces at work against our children.
  • An overview of the issues affecting Australian children and families: These include abortion, abuse and negelct, poverty, family breakdown, the sexualisation of children and self esteem and mental health issues.
  • An understanding of what it means to be an advocate for children: Why should we care? How should we engage politically, practically?
  • Practical examples of how to advocate for children, as an individual, as a congregation and as the Church
  • The role played by agencies such as Forkidsake in educating and mobilising the Church

As part of our discussion, questions to be considered include:

  • How do we awaken the Church to the needs of children outside the Church?
  • What role should agencies such as Forkidsake play in this regard?
  • What are some practical ways our congregations can serve children and families?

Paul is the CEO of Emily’s Voice
Emily’s Voice id a ministry using social marketing, including television advertising, billboards, bus-backs, radio and direct mail to help Australians fall in love with the unborn and warn of the risks and dangers to women of abortion. It is a fresh and positive approach to the 80,000 annual abortions in Australia.
He chairs the inter-agency team, Forkidsake, established by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) to awaken, educate and mobile the Church to the many issues facing children and families. Forkidsake is also the name of an ACL-commissioned research report undertaken by Professor Patrick Parkinson from the University of Sydney.
He is the former CEO of child development and advocacy ministry Compassion Australia. Paul has a Master’s Degree in holistic child development and completed theological studies through C3 Victory’s School of Ministry. Before joining Compassion, Paul worked in print journalism, including as Editor-in-chief of the Newcastle Herald.
Paul has authored five books, incuding Why Satan Hates our Kids: How Children are Suffering and Why the Church should Care (2011), and The Spirit of Oz (2012), profiles on Australian Chrisitan leaders from among church leadership, sport, the arts and business.
He is a passionate advocate for children, having seen first-hand the effects of poverty, abuse and neglect and family breakdown on children in the developing and developed worlds, including in remote indigenous communities.
Paul and his wife of 31 years Janine attend Lift Church Newcastle. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.

Discipleship

with Terry Williams, Tammy Tolman & an expert panel
Lost in Transition … Strategies for helping children to stay with their faith &/or church and not leave it.
Our current ‘TGIF generation’ of young people (Twitter, Google, iDevice, FaceBook), which is more connected and more isolated than generations before them, is walking away from church and/or faith in their early adolescent years. “This drop out problem is, at its core, a disciple-making problem. The church is not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ faithfully in a rapidly changing culture.”(David Kinnaman in ‘You Lost Me’)
The Leaders To Go Conference is committed to reversing this trend. Join eminent speakers, intentional conversations and constructive collaborations to be part of the solution discerning God’s wisdom and direction for the future of our children.
Terry is the Children’s Ministry Specialist with SU International.
Terry trained and worked as a teacher in primary and secondary schools before joining the staff team of Scripture Union Queensland, Australia, where he has worked for 29 years as a specialist in children’s ministry. In 2008 Terry divided his time to join the SU International staff team in a part time capacity where part of his role is to serve on a small global training team helping to multiply trainers across the world. Terry is married to Margaret and they have three adult children and one grandson.

Tammy is the lead pastor of ICentral 3:16
Tammy is a a trained teacher, has a degree in Theology and is currently the lead Pastor of a Intergenerational Creative Arts Community in NSW, Australia. Tammy has been actively involved in Children’s Ministry for 24 years. She has been married for 24 years and has two children aged 15 and 12 years. Her programs and worship music, effectively reach children aged 8-12 years. Tammy speaks at Conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand and the world. She has written a children’s ministry resource book called “Piece By Piece”. Tammy, with her husband, David have just launched a new ministry called “Collide”, where they aim to create environments where the generations can collide.

2011

This conference was held on the Sunshine Coast and featured the following speakers.

Leadership

with John Sweetman
Mentoring Leaders: Leadership involves investing in and developing leaders. The ability to develop leaders marks the difference between those who can run a ministry and those who can multiply a ministry. This session will tackle key issues in mentoring including developing the relationship, deciding on the approach, dealing with personal issues, and knowing when your job is complete.
John is the Principal and Director of the Leadership Centre, Malyon College
John has been involved in vocational pastoral ministry for over 30 years. He has been a youth pastor (at Kenmore Baptist) and a senior pastor (at Bracken Ridge Baptist). In 2002 he became Principal of Malyon College – the theological training college of Queensland Baptists. His doctoral thesis explored the development of leaders by mentoring and he has a strong commitment to investing in the next generation of Christian leaders through mentoring and facilitating networks. John also enjoys completing Sudoku puzzles, but he tries to keep this quiet.

Evangelism

with an expert panel
Connecting to and engaging with our nation’s children.
“I had no idea as to the extent of the issues our children are dealing with everyday!” The young generation of today are being shaped by strong influences from the media, the instability of their family, fears about global issues, technology, social networking, educational settings, and the list goes on.
How accurately do we know the world of the children in our context in order to connect into their world?
How effective are we in engaging with the culture of an often lost and searching generation so as to seize the opportunities that exist for the exploration of the Gospel’s message of hope with children and their families?
Brief presentations by our panellists will be followed by questions from the floor and interaction with other panel members to explore this topic together and reflect in small groups on some of the implications.
Terry (panel leader) is the Children’s Ministry Specialist with Scritpure Union Queensland and Scripture Union International.

Advocacy

with Tim Hanna
Children are so often undervalued in terms of their place in the Kingdom of God. This session will look at the biblical place of children and will explore issues of; children, church and worship, children and mission, children – the most vulnerable, and thus build a basis for a strong advocacy for children as not just “junior church” or the “church of the future” but intrinsic to kingdom ministry today.
Tim is the CEO of Compassion Australia
Tim has been in pastoral leadership in Australian churches, in a number of states, for 30 years – most recently as senior pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Brisbane for 10 ½ years. He has also lectured with the Australian College of Ministries, and gained his Doctor of Ministry along the way. He has a love for the church and a passion to see it become all it can be, both relationally and in impact. Consequently he loves to be involved with the training and equipping of leaders to this end.    He also has a passion to make a difference in the lives of those who find themselves without resources, choices and hope, and thus his journey with Compassion. In 2008 he began a new role as National Director of Church and Mission with Compassion Australia and then moved into the role as CEO of Willow Creek Australia, a ministry committed to equipping, developing and resourcing Christian leaders throughout Australia and around the world.
Tim has now been in the CEO role at Compassion Australia, since mid June 2010. Compassion is a ministry whose mission is to release children from poverty and works in 26 under-resourced countries, in 3 continents.
Married to Chris,  they have nine children (yes you read correctly) and twelve grandchildren (so far!). He loves family times, travel, reading, visiting coffee shops, jogging and gym, and is a sports tragic, especially AFL, cricket and tennis.

Discipleship

with Margaret Spicer
Our kids can have everything, but if they don’t have a personal faith in Jesus they actually have nothing.
Discover opportunities that exist when home and church partner together to:

  • engage the heads and the hearts of our kids;
  • equip their parents;
  • inspire and motivate the local church.

Change for kids is not only possible … it should be natural.
Margaret is (as of late 2010) the Children’s and Families Pastor at Crossway Baptist Church
Margaret passionately believes that when Jesus said, “Let the children come to me” he meant everyone – without exception. “We must do all we can to ensure that we do not hinder children discovering Jesus for themselves.”   Over the past 30 years Margaret has been involved in leading children’s ministries, training volunteers and developing leaders; both in New Zealand and around the world. She is a consultant to churches, helping leaders and their teams to maximize their potential to impact kids and their families; seeing them connect with and become established in a local church.

Margaret, a registered Primary School Teacher, has served as a pastor in NZ and, more recently, as the Executive Director of The Willow Creek Association NZ. She has passionately pursed leadership development as a way of strengthening the impact of the local church. She is the author of the monthly children’s ministry training tool – JUMP. Margaret has now taken up the position of Children and Families Pastor at Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne.

She is a wife to Brian and a mother to Rochelle (21), Janine (19) and Liam (18)

She loves going to kids movies, playing on roller coasters and even has her own bouncy castle!

2009

Held at Anglesea’s Camp Wilkin in Victoria, this was our first residential conference allowing for a unique sense of community.  Our speakers and downloads of their keynotes are below.  Read about what delegates said about their experience of our 2009 conference here.

Leadership

with Duncan Brown
The greatest investment you can make for our kids is to invest in the people who invest in them. Duncan will look at how you can shift your focus from running great kids’ programs to developing passionate kids’ leaders … starting with parents and families … for a more fruitful and sustainable ministry.
Duncan is the Senior Pastor at New Peninsula Baptist Church, Mornington Victoria
Duncan has journeyed a diverse path to full time ministry. From a farming background in Queensland, Duncan spent seven years as a journalist with the Fairfax and News Limited groups in Queensland and Victoria before completing a Bachelor of Ministry in Victoria. He then returned to Queensland where he spent five years as the CEO of SU Queensland, a non-denominational Christian youth and children’s organization now employing 500 chaplains. After his time at SU, Duncan and his wife started a Christian based consultancy supporting more than 30 organisations in the areas of strategic planning, marketing and fundraising. During 2008 Duncan took up the position of Senior Pastor at New Peninsula Baptist Church, Mornington Victoria.  Duncan is married to  Tricia have three children Emily 5, Jack 3 and Laura 1. His interests include footy (rugby – the real version), fishing and anything to do with horses, cattle and farming.
Download Audio – 57.8MB

Evangelism

with Dave Fuller
Idolisation or Neglect: Missional Engagement with Children in an age of extremes
Daniel Donahoo in his book ‘Idolising Children’ (2007) says of his work, “This book is a call for us to consider how we view children. It challenges us to examine all the different images we have about childhood and youth, and to question whether or not they are adequate.” In contrast to the ‘Idolisation of Children’ are the stories about the abuse and neglect of children. In an age of apparent extremes around our children, how do we as Christian workers engage with children  & their parents in a manner that is appropriate to the context and sensitive to the developmental stage of the child?”
Dave is the Director of the Chaplaincy Services Division for ACCESS Ministries
David Fuller was appointed to the role of the Director of the Chaplaincy Services Division for Access Ministries in February 2007.  He comes to the role with over twenty years of professional Christian Ministry experience behind him.  He has a Bachelor of Theology and a Master of Arts in Theology through the Australian College of Theology.  Dave, his wife and two children live in Melbourne’s inner north and worship at St Michael’s Anglican Church, North Carlton.  Other interests include enjoying family life, reading and motorcycles.  He is a life member of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club.  David was ordained as an Anglican priest at the Cathedral Church of St Paul in November, 2005.
Download Audio – 39.1MB

Advocacy

with Tania Watson
Hear Tanya’s story of how God led her into children’s ministry as an advocate for the status and place of children within the Australian Church. The purpose of taking this approach is to mirror the core challenge of engaging with Child Theology and to find the practical application of this way of doing theology. Child Theology challenges the Australian church to recognize that the way that it regards children, for the most part, deeply grieves the heart of God.
Tania’s roles include Minister-Ministry Integration at South Perth Church of Christ
Tania is the Minister-Ministry Integration at South Perth Church of Christ.  Tania is a lecturer in Children’s Ministry at Vose Seminary in WA and is Chair of Kids Vision WA, the Churches of Christ WA Children’s Ministry network.  For the past 10 years, Tania has been leading transformational change in the children’s ministry at South Perth and has been an advocate for the place of children in churches in the wider church in WA.  Tania is married to Neil and has 2 teenage children (Sebastian and Lucy).  She is an avid movie watcher, book glutton and fussy coffee drinker.
Download Audio –  58.3MB

Discipleship

Wendy Strachan
Discipleship … if it’s so obvious, why does it seem so difficult? Let’s take a fresh look at:
• what it means for a child to follow Jesus: to have the courage to choose differently in a world of conformity and risk-minimisation.
• how we as leaders can set in place the kind of discipleship where the adventure is not a formula, where faith is more than knowledge, where ‘response’ is more than good behaviour, where relationship is more than contact, and where our support is more than protection.
Wendy is the Children’s Ministries Coordinator for SU International
At the age of 15, Wendy started teaching Sunday School: 23 three and four year olds in the kitchen of a small church.  No training, no mentoring – but the experience ignited a commitment to children that has defined her journey since.   After 11 years teaching children with special needs in Queensland and 2 years teaching in a secondary school in Papua New Guinea, she joined Scripture Union Queensland for 6 years.Wendy works as the Children’s Ministries Coordinator for SU International, responsible (with terry Williams) for the training and resourcing of SU staff across the globe, as well as the development of global partnerships and initiatives for children.  Wendy is now based in Brisbane Australia, but previously worked for 12 ½ years in Kenya, first as SU field staff in the coastal city of Mombasa and later as Children’s Ministries Coordinator for SU Africa with its diverse ministries (from children’s camps and clubs, to work amongst street children, child soldiers and refugee families, and a biblically-based AIDS education program in schools).
Download Audio –  83.1MB