Earlier this year I accepted the call to serve as the next Superintendent Minister/CEO for Wesley Mission, succeeding Rev Keith Garner who is retiring from the role after 15 years of exemplary service. My transition into the position will commence on November 2 learning through a handover period alongside Keith, culminating after Christmas this year when I will take on all the responsibilities of the role.
This year unfolding as it has means I’ve been limited in my ability to share the range and scope of the role I have been called into, which I will attempt to redress a little now. Wesley Mission is a remarkable organisation with an incredible history that has been served by some of Australia’s most admired Christian leaders. Previous Superintendent Ministers have included Rev Gordon Moyes and Rev Sir Alan Walker. To be called to serve as the next Superintendent Minister/CEO is a humbling privilege.
Thoroughly evangelical in its theological convictions and public witness, Wesley Mission enjoys a heritage spanning more than 200 years, tracing its history back to the very first Methodist Church established in Australia in 1812. Based in the heart of Sydney, the majority of its ministry serves the people of NSW, but also includes programs and staff serving in other states and territories.
Drawing directly from the inspiration of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, the purpose of Wesley Mission is to continue the work of Jesus Christ in Word and deed in seeking to “do all the good you can by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” This purpose is fulfilled through the ministries of Wesley Congregational Life and Wesley Community Services, both of which I will lead as Superintendent Minister/CEO.
Wesley Mission has 10 congregations with total average weekly attendance of 1500 (pre-Covid), meeting both in the Sydney CBD as well as suburban locations. The CBD based congregations meeting in Pitt Street and are blessed with facilities including a 900-seat theatre and a 250-seat chapel, as well as an extensive number of other rooms. Services are conducted in English, Mandarin, Indonesian and Samoan. Worship styles across the congregations ranges from contemporary and charismatic to more traditional. Wesley congregations are made up of people from diverse backgrounds, including many who find a spiritual home at Wesley who would struggle to ‘fit’ in a more conventional church.
As Superintendent Minister I will be responsible for leading all of Wesley’s congregational life, serving alongside a team of ministers, pastors and other staff. I will be working closely with the Senior Minister, Rev Dr Rick Dacey. As has been the case at Newlife, I will be preaching most weekends. Where and when will be worked out when I commence and get a sense of how I can be most helpful.
Wesley Community Services is served by 2300 staff, 3000 volunteers, has an annual budget in excess of $230 million resourcing more than 130 different programs, serving 15,000 people in need every month. Ministries include counselling, homelessness, employment, disabilities, residential aged care, mental health and education services – to name just some. Wesley is one of the largest providers of foster care services in NSW and has established, and now resources 101 Lifeforce suicide prevention networks across Australia. Lifeline 24/7 suicide prevention, now a global initiative, was established by Wesley Mission.
As CEO I will be responsible for leading Wesley Community Services, working closely with the board and Chief Operating Officer, Chris England as well as a senior management team. I will be responsible for managing Wesley’s relationships with politicians (local, state, federal), government departments and other social sector leaders. Leading such a significant ministry is going to be both a steep learning curve and a wonderful privilege.
Former Prim Minister of Australia, John Howard, is the Patron and actively involved in supporting the mission and ministry of Wesley Mission.
Another significant part of my role will be media ministry. Working with a team, I will be responsible for producing a half hour TV program called Wesley Impact, which currently is broadcast nationally on Channel 9 at 5.30am each Sunday morning. Currently Wesley Impact comprises musical items, interviews with well-known Australians and other guests and stories of Wesley’s extensive work and witness. Every Easter Wesley Mission broadcasts nationally on the Seven Network a Sunrise Service from the Opera House, where I will be preaching. I am already nervous! I will be the primary media spokesperson for Wesley.
Sue and I will be living in a manse provided for the Superintendent Minister in the lower north shore suburb of Roseville. My primary office location is in Pitt Street in the CBD, a short walk from the mall.
In summary, in my role as Superintendent Minister/CEO for Wesley Mission I will be responsible for, amongst other things, leading the senior leadership team, developing and executing vision and strategy, preaching and communication and spiritual leadership for both congregational life and community services. I will be working closely with a wonderful Board (Community Services), Mission Council (Congregational Life) and leadership team, many of whom I have met already, in a city I know Sue and I will come to love.
We covet your prayers – that God would use us for his glory and that Wesley Mission will continue to flourish and profoundly impact our nation with the love of Christ.
You can find out more about Wesley Mission here: https://www.wesleymission.org.au/