25 years ago, a 17 year old girl boarded a plane from Mackay to Brisbane into a whole new world she had no idea existed. I had just spent the last 2 and a half years not living my potential - living in a world of drugs, fake love, manipulation, insecurity, feeling trapped and in darkness. I had just discovered the saving power and love of Jesus Christ – I had thought that I had done so many bad things that I had gone beyond where God could reach me. Thankfully through a few people who hadn’t given up on me, I came to know that there was nowhere I could run from God’s love.
I walked off that plane into a life-changing year of youth ministry and personal formation with NET ministries. I travelled for a year with the National Team, served a second year in a local parish and school, became the first youth worker of Darra Jindalee parish, and ran Alpha programs with my (new) husband Patrick in Redcliffe parish.
In 1999, when God called Patrick and I to join Emmanuel Community, I recall Shayne Bennett pulling together 3 young couples to discuss how we could revive the youth ministry. It was then that God first spoke to me about building up the young people in and around Emmanuel, and I have pretty much been in the thick of it ever since. Youth ministry is my life’s work. I didn’t go and seek a career elsewhere, I just invested where I believed God was calling me and where the Spirit was leading me.
I have been involved in various facets of Ignite Youth over the years; pastoral care, high-schoolers, event planning, and – my highlight of every year - the Ignite Conference. Along the way I completed studies in professional counselling, served for 5 years as a senior supervisor with NET Ministries, and co-founded Real Talk, an organisation all about getting real on the topics of sexuality and personal identity. I have had the pleasure of raising 3 beautiful children in the last 20 years, all of whom know, love and serve God in His Church. My husband Patrick took up the role as Ignite Youth Director in 2012 and I served on the leadership team with him since that time, whilst still travelling with Real Talk and counselling teenagers and young adults on the side.
I am so excited to see where God is calling Ignite Youth – this ministry has still not yet reached its fullest potential! Am I excited? Yep! Am I scared? Yep! But Ignite Youth is not reliant on any one person - it takes a team. We are a team who dream big, and though we are small we are called and passionate about our vision to see young people come to know Jesus and experience his love. To quote our tagline – ‘not just changed for a day, but transformed for life’.
I thank Patrick profoundly for his authentic leadership of Ignite Youth the last 6 years, and am constantly grateful for his love, support and heart for the renewal of the Church. Please pray for me as I embark on this new journey in my own life, and pray for Ignite Youth - that we would take our place and be all we were created to be!
Director, Ignite Youth