The new EFAC Queensland Chair talks to Wei-Han Kuan.
Lynda Johnson is Assistant Minister at North Pine Anglican Church and the EFAC Queensland Chair.
Lynda, you and your husband Chris work together on the team at the North Pine Anglican Parish in Brisbane. Tell us what that’s like.
Chris and I met while we were both studying at Ridley in the 1980s. I guess you could say that our life together has always been about shared ministry. It seems to work well for us. We have complementary gifts, which means that as a clergy couple, we’re not duplicating each other. I have been ordained for eleven of our twenty-five years together. Apart from three years working in a different parish when I was first ordained, we have always shared in ministry. We bounce things off each other all the time, whether it’s about pastoral needs, or thinking strategically about a ministry issue. It’s hard to imagine life any other way. We feel very blessed.
Is North Pine typical of churches supporting EFAC in the Brisbane Diocese?
It is hard to describe a typical EFAC-supporting church. We are all different. However, here at North Pine we believe that under God our growth can be attributed to faithfully proclaiming the Bible and not watering down the message of salvation through repentance and grace. We are actively trying to empower every member of our church to grow in ministry and to know and exercise their spiritual gifts. And, we are committed to our vision—Bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ, and growing together in Him—and excited about our parish plan. We are so amazed at the people we’ve got in this church and feel privileged to be able to minister alongside them. They are very gifted and focussed and united about our goals. We are currently committed to adding to our staff team with the appointment of a youth minister, and are working to see that become a reality in the near future. It’s a very exciting time for North Pine.
What can you tell us about EFAC in Queensland?
There are about 14 parishes in the Brisbane Diocese where I believe the clergy would identify as being Evangelical and probably another four where the clergy may have some interest in things Evangelical. The involvement in EFAC across these parishes varies widely from no involvement at all, to many people attending and supporting every event. Of course the Queensland branch of EFAC covers not only Brisbane Diocese, but also the Rockhampton and North Queensland Dioceses. It’s a vast state, and the relative number of evangelical churches across all the dioceses is very small indeed. Not many people realise that it’s further from Brisbane to Cairns, than it is from Brisbane to Melbourne, so our task of maintaining fellowship in practical ways is very difficult.
What do you think is the most encouraging thing happening in your branch at the moment?
Over the last few years we’ve seen lots of ‘on the ground’ activity and purpose in spreading the good news of Christ. We have partnerships with other organisations like the Simeon Association and the Mathew Hale Public Library, which are working very hard to promote Biblical understanding and growth across the Brisbane Diocese. And it’s great to see new people with evangelical commitments joining us here in Queensland. Archbishop Phillip is committed to the Brisbane Diocese ‘going for growth’ and we are hopeful that we can partner with the Diocese in that vision. I’m hopeful of being able to talk with the Archbishop about how that might happen.
What plans for the year ahead?
One of the things the Queensland Committee is trying hard to work on is how to engage younger evangelicals (clergy and lay) and network with them in ways that are helpful. Joining organisations is not necessarily high on the agenda these days, so we are finding that the way forward is to encouraging ideas and events is the way forward. We also continue to be committed to bringing great speakers to Queensland and providing opportunities for learning and discussion, growth and fellowship.
How can the EFAC Australia community best support evangelicals in Queensland and how can we pray for you?
Well, it goes without saying that prayer will be the most effective way of supporting us here in Queensland. As I have already mentioned distance is a real problem for us as we try and provide opportunities for good and encouraging fellowship. I think the most effective prayer for us at the moment would be for God to continue to show us ways of contributing positively to all our dioceses across Queensland. Often we just want to retreat into our own parish, but I believe we need to be more confident that we have something to offer, so prayer for us to be more influential would be great.
Thanks Lynda. We look forward to seeing great answers to prayer for EFAC Queensland!