Lay Preacher Training

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Lay Preaching Unleashed
2021 National Conference of Lay Preachers


hosted by the UCA Queensland Synod

For lay preachers, candidates and those interested in leading worship.

Share in a wonderful couple of days and be encouraged, supported and challenged in your ministry.

Saturday, 11 September & Sunday12 September 2021

Website: National Lay Preachers 2021 – Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod (

Lay Preaching Unleashed






Conference Opening

Rev Andrew Gunton


Opening Worship

Rev Andrew Gunton


Preaching Beyond the Choir

Rev Paul Clark





Inspiring and passionate Worship

Rev Andrew Ross


Worship as Co-Creation with the Holy Spirit

Rev Alexandra Sangster





National Meeting of Lay Preachers (incl National and State reports)

Chair, Max Howland





WORKSHOP – Break Out Sessions

  1. Don’t Immunise the Kids Against an Active Faith in God
  2. Purposes, Pitfalls, Priorities & Possibilities for Music in the Worshipping Community


Rev Paul Clark

Rev David McGregor


Lay Preacher Resources Forum

Leanne Davis,
Rev Nigel Rogers


Preaching Missionally

Rev Nigel Rogers


Concluding Prayer – Day End


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*** The information in this document is subject to change without notice

Lay Preaching Unleashed






Opening Prayer

Max Howland


And the stones will cry out: Preaching as Prophet to a sleeping world

Rev Alexandra Sangster


Working with Indigenous Ministry

Rev Dr Robert Brennan and Nicole Clevens





Preaching from the Pauline Epistles in a Post Everything Culture

Dr John Frederick


Law and Grace – Code of Ethics vs Common Sense

Max Howland





WORKSHOP – Break Out Sessions

  1. Working in Indigenous Ministry
  2. Communicating in a Multi-Cultural Context


  1. Rev Dr Robert Brennan
  2. Ps Levon Kardashian


Lay Preacher General Questions and Answer Forum

Max Howland and others





Preaching from the Margins

Ps Levon Kardashian


Worship and preaching for inspiring the people of God in their participation in God’s liberating mission

Dr Deidre Palmer


Closing Worship

Dr Deidre Palmer


Conference Closing


Presenters (in order of appearance)

Rev Andrew Gunton Moderator, Queensland Synod

Rev Andrew Gunton, Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia from 22 October 2020. Growing up on the southern Darling Downs, Andrew’s childhood was formed by his family’s strong commitment to the local Uniting Church. Andrew began his academic journey at the University of Queensland and completed a Bachelor or Science (Botany) in 1991. While studying a postgraduate diploma of philosophy at the University of Queensland, Andrew heard a call to ministry and candidated for ministry and began a Bachelor of Theology at Brisbane College of Theology in 1999. Andrew completed his theological training and was ordained as a Minister of the Word in 2002. In his first placement, Andrew served the congregations of Rockhampton South Uniting Church. This was followed by a placement at Arana Hills Uniting Church, after which he served as the Presbytery Minister for the Moreton Rivers Presbytery. Following a period of acting as the Associate General Secretary for the Queensland Synod, Andrew became Minister of the Word for Oxley-Darra Uniting Church. Andrew was elected to be Moderator-Elect for the Queensland Synod at the 34th Synod in May 2019. Has served on the Board of the Queensland Community Alliance and as Chair for Barnabas Council Durack, a home for people with disabilities. Andrew is married to Lyndelle and they have two children, Ellie and Ben.

Rev Paul Clark children’s and youth ministry specialist

Rev. Paul Clark is the Lead Minister of the Redcliffe Uniting Community. He has a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus with people of all ages both inside and outside the church, he is also passionate about the church being connected to the community. Paul comes with lots of experience in youth and children’s ministry as a puppeteer and children’s author [Car Park Parables], but he’s also great with adults! He has written over 15 books with 35,000 copies in print. Oh, and you might have heard his At the Top spots on radio across Australia. He has recorded over 800 of these. Paul is married to Becky and they have two young adult children. He served in Nth Qld before coming to Redcliffe. Paul is heard by hundreds of thousands of Australia’s on Radio each year and read in the local newspapers and online. Session Topics:

Preaching Beyond the Choir – Lay preacher training trains you well to preach to the choir. Preaching in church is safe, but that’s not what preaching was invented for. Preaching was birthed at Pentecost, nurtured in the public square and honed in the Areopagus. How do you preach beyond the church? At rotary, in a funeral, Anzac events, Christmas Carols, Radio, Newspaper? How do you proclaim the gospel to people who don’t share our presuppositions about Scripture?

WORKSHOP: Don’t Immunise the Kids Against an Active Faith in God Working in private school, I saw the way our worship, rather than pulling young people into the church immunised them against the gospel. We unintentionally gave them an insipid gospel that made them think they knew the real thing and rejected it. Speaking to children and youth – how do you navigate the children’s development challenges and present a gospel that compels rather than repels? Whether presenting a kids talk in church or a full presentation to kids, how do we do this well?

Rev Andrew Ross Minister, Broadwater Uniting Church

Andrew has served in ministry in a variety of contexts since 1996. Central Queensland mining towns (7 years), Sunnybank Brisbane (14years) and his current placement at Broadwater Road Mansfield (4.5 years). He is passionate about creating community and the church living as a place of belonging. Through his heart for the local church and leadership in community organisations and community development processes, Andrew has developed a keen insight into the blessings and struggles of being community both within and outside the Church. The place of context, in both the global and individual spheres of life, is an important aspect of his ministry philosophy and has enabled him to lead others in navigating the changing world, while remaining faithful to the call and mission of Jesus. His life and ministry experience has seen a deep appreciation for the diversity of the ways people worship and the challenges presented by such diversity, when seeking to lead a local congregation.

Session Topic:

Inspiring and Passionate Worship As a musician and vocalist, Andrew has an eclectic taste and is keen to find ways in which people can connect to God in Christ. This presentation will introduce a Trinitarian understanding of worship, that is then expressed incarnationally in the variety of ways in which people connect to God. It will explore the importance of knowing a communities Core Values in respect to worship, and its implications for the Generations from Builders/Boomers to Z’s and Millennials and the possibilities this provides as we engage our context.

Rev Alexandra Sangster Advocate for Assembly Worship Circle

Alex has been a minister in the Uniting Church in Australia for over 12 years and is committed to opening up worship to all people and finding ways to connect people into God’s story incarnated in Jesus Christ. She has lead worship in Iona and Portland USA and worked with a number of networks in Australia and the USA on worship. Alex is the convenor of the Assembly Transforming Worship Circle.

Alex is also active in a number of spheres within the church and beyond including on justice and environmental issues. Alex is passionate about breaking open Story in ways that liberate, inspire and awaken and in ways which create connections with the emerging church and those who are spiritually hungry but culturally anti–institution. She works as a social justice activist with both Love Makes a Way and the Australian Response to Climate Change. Alex is an actor and facilitator with the Melbourne Playback Theatre Company.

Session Topics:

Worship as Co Creation with the Holy Spirit

And the stones will cry out: Preaching as Prophet to a Sleeping world

*** The information in this document is subject to change without notice

Max Howland National Lay Preacher Committee Chairperson

Max is one of those people sometimes described as “a child of the Church”: son of a Lay Preacher, grandson of an ordained minister, immersed in church life along with the family all his childhood and teenage life – and indeed ever since. He is Convener of the Lay Preachers’ Committees in SA and nationally; he was commissioned as a Lay Preacher in 1997. Max became a teacher through the Teachers’ College and University of Adelaide and had a teaching career involving foreign languages, maths as well as spending time as a Teacher-Librarian. He left paid employment early and undertook degree studies in theology, during which time he took up a number of volunteering roles, some of which continue still. Max is the secretary for his Presbytery and with this and other experience obtained quite a bit of peripheral engagement with the philosophy behind UCA Codes of Ethics. Max is married to Maureen; they have 5 children and 5 grand-children between them. At the time that they met, they were both widowed single parents. Max enjoys listening to music – most kinds: it’s one of the few of the arts capable of moving him to tears; he keeps an eye on developments is scientific areas at the “consumer” level and indulges in a bit of photography.

Session Topic:

Law and Grace – Code of Ethics vs Common Sense He will tell a story or two about why they’re needed (in principle, not only Lay Preachers). Then the other Codes, such as Ministry Practice, the relationship to Safe Church screening and ending with a look at disciplinary processes.

Rev David MacGregor Panel member – Assembly Transforming Worship Circle

David is a Panel Member for the Transforming Worship Circle, and is particularly passionate about the church’s worshipping life, including the place of music in growing discipleship and community, as well as Christian education across the ages. David is a published worship songwriter with a commitment to the national UCA SONGWRITE movement. David offers a broad array of Lectionary-linked worship song suggestions. Rev David MacGregor has served in many ministry contexts including children & youth ministry, as well as school chaplaincy in urban and provincial city Queensland, having previous been a primary school teacher. David, along with wife Dale has particular ministry passions in encouraging authentic, inclusive worship; Christian education & discipleship and community among God’s people. He served for many years at Trinity College Queensland as a sessional lecturer. In March this year, David retired from full-time ministry and is open, with Dale, to God’s new repurposing work through them. David and Dale have three adult sons and one grandson. He is a friend of the Iona Community and long ago was a primary school teacher. David is a sporting tragic, passionate about cricket, rugby league and tennis … but ordinary at all three. Session Topic:

WORKSHOP: Purposes, Pitfalls, Priorities & Possibilities for Music in the Worshipping Community Why include music in the community of faith’s worshipping life? What is its place? What must be given priority? Is music in worship all about praise OR are their additional considerations? How do worship and mission inform each other? What are some fresh options to encourage God’s people in their worship and discipleship? This workshop will explore these questions and much more, as we gain from the hopes and insights of each other.

Rev Nigel Rogers Dean of Formation and Dispersed Learning Trinity College Queensland

Nigel has a deep passion for serving the mission of God as it plays out across Queensland and beyond. During this time. He has been fortunate to have a wide range of experience across the life of the Uniting Church having started in full-time ministry in 2002. In 2014, he accepted a call to the placement of CEO/General Secretary in the South Australian Presbytery and Synod. In 2018, the family returned home to Queensland, where Nigel commenced in his current role of Dean of Formation and Dispersed Learning at Trinity College Queensland. As part of this role lectures in the areas of Missional Leadership,

Faith and Work, Discipleship, and Ministry Formation. Nigel has always placed a high value on continuing education. After completing a Bachelor of Theology, he then undertook a Graduate Diploma in Ministry and a Master of Theological Studies. He is married to Jo and have three amazing children Harry, Esther and Anna. To get some downtime, Nigel enjoys nothing more than getting to the beach or out for a run.

I also love being fully engrossed in a good book and drinking a quality cup of coffee.

Session Topic:

Preaching Missionally Interpreting and making sense of the bible as a missional text has a significant impact on developing and preaching a sermon. In this presentation Nigel will briefly explore a missional hermeneutic framework that can be applied to sermon preparation and delivery

*** The information in this document is subject to change without notice

Rev Dr Robert Brennan Theology Course Coordinator, Wontulp-Bi-Buya College

Robert Brennan is an ordained Uniting Church Minister with a background in industrial physics and theology. He has recently been made a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology ISCAST. He currently the Training Manager at the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran and Uniting Indigenous ministry training college Wontulp-Bi-Buya in Cairns. He teaches and coordinates a team of over dozen full time and part time teachers. Wontulp-Bi-Buya has between 80-to 120 students each year. Robert’s doctoral degree focuses on the history of the relationship of Theology and Science and the Holy Spirit. Robert continues to contribute to the theology and science dialogue. Robert also has a master’s degree in Physics, as well as other degrees in Arts, Theology and Science and is interested in how to describe the Christian faith and spirituality in ways that work with different cultures. Working with the students God calls to study at WontulpBi-Buya College continues to be a delight that he never imagined. The greatest treasure is seeing people gain confidence and begin to grow as leaders in their communities, as they become all that God calls them to be.

Session Topics:

WORKSHOP: Communication tools when working with indigenous people – Discussion concerning communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will occur. Ten facets of this communication will be dealt with. They are not hard, but understanding and taking the right approach are important. PRESENTATION: Interview with Nicole Clevens – Nicole is a member of the Wontulp community and lives in south East Queensland. Nicole has served as a prison chaplain. This gives an insight into experience in dealing with indigenous situations.

Dr John Frederick Lecturer in New Testament, Trinity College Queensland

Prior to John’s current position at Trinity he was an Assistant Professor of New Testament, Theology, and Worship at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Before that he was an Adjunct Professor of New Testament at the Boston Campus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. From 2011-2013 he was an adjunct lecturer of New Testament Greek at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author of Worship in the Way of Cross: Leading Worship for the Sake of Others (InterVarsity Press, 2017) and several other works, all of which are better than sliced bread. After all sliced bread is not that impressive; most things exceed its supposed metaphorical excellence. When he’s not composing bios about bread and Nintendo his research focuses on Paul in his Greco-Roman and Jewish context and the exploration of topics that focus on emotion and God.

Ps Levon Kardashian Previous Presbytery Multicultural Project Officer

Levon was born in Beirut Lebanon and he is of Armenian heritage. He has studied engineering, marketing and management, and IT. Before starting his studies in theology Levon worked in graphic design and publishing. His first placement, after receiving his M.Div and concluding his formation, was in a country parish on the border of Syria and Turkey. In 2009 Levon moved to Australia and did further theological studies and got involved in cross-cultural ministry. Levon has worked with refugees providing pastoral care, and was the domestic violence awareness project officer of the Social Justice Forum with Uniting NSW. Levon who speaks a number of languages, worked as the multicultural officer for a couple of years in the South Moreton Presbytery. Currently Levon is the ministry agent in Logan Central Multicultural Uniting Church in the South Moreton Presbytery in the Synod of Queensland. Levon, with a few like-minded ministers, started the Christ and Cultures Gathering where together they explored ministry from different perspectives. Levon has prepared and delivered several workshops on worship, hermeneutics and preaching. His has a passion in exploring scripture from different perspectives and languages.

Session Topics (multicultural ministry):

WORKSHOP: Communicating in a Multi-Cultural Context Exploring meanings from different languages in a sermon.

Preaching From the Margins Interpreting the text from different angles.

Dr Deidre Palmer President of the Uniting Church in Australia

Dr Deidre Palmer served as President of the Uniting Church in Australia from July 2018 until mid July 2021. Prior to becoming President, Deidre served as Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia. Deidre has been involved in theological education for much of her life. She has served on the faculty of the

Adelaide College of Divinity, Flinders University School of Theology and Uniting College in South Australia and Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In her work at the Adelaide College of Divinity she coordinated Lay Preachers courses and taught “Introduction to Worship in the Uniting Tradition” for Lay Preacher candidates and people exploring the Period of Discernment. Deidre is also a social worker. She worked for four and a half years with Uniting Communities as a counsellor with their Childhood Sexual Abuse Counselling team, prior to becoming Moderator.

Session Topic: Worship and preaching for inspiring the people of God in their participation in God’s liberating mission

*** The information in this document is subject to change without notice