Assistant Minister – David Shead
David leads the Mt. Riverview and Blaxland congregations, as well as our small group Bible study ministry. After completing a BA in linguistics, he went to Moore College, and then on to Slovenia, where he worked in University and church planting ministries before returning to Australia in 2007. David’s dream of playing lots of sport and keeping fit has remained spectacularly unfulfilled. However, his attempts to keep his hand in at the piano have been a bit more successful. He is married to Bronwyn, and they have three children.
I had the wonderful privilege of growing up in a Christian family, with parents who taught me about Jesus from my birth and modelled a life-embracing trust in him. I have therefore always known that God is real, that through Jesus he has made me his child, and that he wants me to live as his friend forever. In fact, my very earliest memory – from about 3 or 4 years of age – is of walking around the garden of our house, expressing to God a deep desire to serve him.
As I grew, so my baby understanding also matured, so that at about the beginning of high school I came to a clear realisation of the fact that Jesus’ death for me has completely removed every guilt and barrier between me and God, giving me full confidence that my eternal future will be with him. The technical expression (as I now know) is ‘justification by faith alone,’ but at the time I just knew that God has accepted me fully because of Jesus, even though I can never earn or deserve his forgiveness.
Another big thing I’m very thankful to God for is the way he has taught me, from my early years right through to today, that this life is temporary while his future new creation is forever. My life has been spread across three continents: the first 10 years in India, then 20 in Australia, then 8 in Slovenia, before returning to Australia in 2007. All this moving has forced me to reflect on where I want to call ‘home.’ What God has taught me is that, as his child, the answer doesn’t lie here, but that this world is merely a bus stop on the road to eternity with him.
And so I long to see people from every corner of the globe liberated from their dependence on what is fragile and fleeting, so as to entrust themselves to the one whom they can truly love and delight in forever. My designated corner of the globe at the present time is the serene and leafy Lower Blue Mountains, where my great pleasure is to open up the riches of God’s word to others and to see the penny drop for them as well: “Knowing and serving the Lord Jesus is the best!”
Dave Swan – Assistant Minister
Dave is our assistant minster who seeks to help us tell as many people as we can about how great Jesus and what He has done for us. He also seeks to help people connect into our congregations so they can grow in their love for God and love for others. In his spare time, he likes to hang out with his family, make stuff with his hands, fix things that are broken and try to get some exercise when he can. Dave and his wife Elizabeth have four children.
I grew up in the heart of western Sydney with what I like call the Christian trifecta: I had a Christian home, went to a small Christian school and our family attended a Christian church where Jesus was proclaimed as Lord and Saviour. I always felt I was in the “right” place, yet I couldn’t shake off the nagging idea that Jesus was meant be my Lord, that he was meant to be the centre of my life and I was to honour him in everything. For many years I wanted to keep Jesus on the edge of my life, an added accessory but not the centre. It wasn’t until I was a young adult, when some mature Christian friends taught what it meant to follow Jesus and read the bible with me, that I realised Jesus was all that I needed.
What became clear was that no matter what I achieve in this world, no matter what I own or what others think of me, it is what God thinks of me that matters most. He loved me enough to send his Son Jesus to die for me, to pay the price for my rebellion against God, even though I had ignored him. I love it when I see people come to understand what I now understand, that Jesus is the centre of everything.
After training for full time ministry at Moore Theological college Elizabeth and I have served in the country, first at Gunnedah and then in the beautiful small town of Bingara in the north west of NSW before venturing back to the Lower Mountains.
Josh Ord – Assistant Minister – Youth and Children
Josh has trained at both Moore College, and Sydney Missionary and Bible College. Before College, he worked a few different jobs in Aged Care, as well as Camping Ministry. He enjoys music, most things with engines, and the occasional LAN party.
I was born in Fairfield hospital, and have spent most of my life so far in the multicultural Southwest of Sydney. I was born into a Christian family and was always sent along to Sunday school. However I didn’t really become a Christian until High School. As a younger guy, I didn’t enjoy church at all, I would much rather have been doing what I considered to be more interesting things (nowadays, I can’t get enough of Church! It’s the best!).
By about year 9 or 10, I started going to Youth Group at a new local Church because some friends of mine invited me along, and spoke of how fun it was! (Albeit, I didn’t believe them at first.) It was as I began attending Youth Group I came to see the need I had for Jesus. At this point a few key leaders invested in me, helping me to learn what it meant to follow Jesus for real, and since then I have found a great joy in serving in Children’s and Youth Ministry.
It was (and still is!) rewarding to see young people growing in their understanding of the Gospel truths, and energised to come back and hear more the following weeks! I found that I loved getting alongside teens, in the same way that my Youth Group leaders got alongside me. It was at that point that I went on to study a Diploma at Moore College, and a Bachelor of Theology at SMBC. I finished my studies in 2016, and am very grateful for the opportunity to serve our Lord Jesus in the Lower Mountains, doing both Children’s and Youth Ministry, the two things I love!
Parish Administrator – Siena O’Brien
I have been aware of God for as long as I can remember but through the dedication and faithfulness of school scripture teachers I came to realise that awareness wasn’t enough and made a commitment to Christ when I was about 13. For many years after that I continued to ‘make a commitment’, thinking that my sins were evidence I hadn’t ‘done it right’ the first time. Thankfully I matured from that way of thinking and was eventually able to accept the truth that Christ’s blood offered me forgiveness, that I in no way deserved, once and for all.
Since then life has presented me with many hurdles, and it has been in the toughest times where I have learnt the most about God, and myself. I have experienced and come to truly understand that ‘because of God’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning’ (Lamentations 3:22, 23).
I love working in the area of administration. Having always assumed this meant I was not a creative person, I happily came to the realisation that God’s first acts of creation were all about organising the universe and putting things in their place. It seems that bringing structure and order to an environment can be an expression of creativity after all!
In my spare time I thoroughly enjoy having conversations with people that make me think or laugh and I also enjoy walking, cooking, quilting, and learning new skills.