We’re praying and planning to increase the number of MTS apprentices training through the AFES ministries at UTAS in Hobart from 2 to 6 in the next 5 years… and we’re also building an internship/Year 13 type program for still more people to have a taste of gospel ministry training.

In the process of thinking this through… we are also keen to invite people from elsewhere in Australia and the world to consider coming and training in Hobart. A beautiful part of the world, a way to contribute to a ‘gospel ecosystem’ in another, perhaps less-resourced place, that is striving to build a momentum of evangelistic, theologically rich, gospel-centred ministry.

But there are also unique benefits to training in a regional city:

  • shorter travel times gives the opportunity to mingle with a whole range of ministries and ministers,
  • regional churches without their own pastors provide extra preaching platforms,
  • smaller overall population gives the opportunity to observe and learn from a whole gospel ecosystem,
  • going somewhere culturally fairly similar, but also different means you can fruitfully serve fairly quickly rather than simply observe as an outsider.

Here’s a Twitter conversation I had with a pastor from regional Victoria who shared some similar experiences:

ME: Would be fun if Tassie became a place people came to serve in mission and train for ministry!

“Uni Fellowship is  planning to start offering a more deliberate Year 13 / Gap Year / Extra Ministry internship with Uni Fellowship (8-24 hours per week)”

HIM: Sounds great! Modelled on an MTS style apprenticeship? Or intentionally different by name and nature as an internship? Paid/unpaid?

ME: Kind of a feeder to MTS hopefully. So more the internship, unpaid type thing. A book list, lots of 1:1, invite to sit in on training and staff meetings, a few key jobs.

HIM: Really formative stuff, and ideal for that gap year where many “don’t know what to do next” but can do something in gospel work with leadership training for life. May it be a feeder for Tasmania and beyond.

ME: I pray so! Could also work for students who have capacity to do even more WHILE studying, especially if they take a 50-75% load. Even possibly older people whose life is in flux? We’ll see…

Seeing ‘explore Tasmania’ tourism billboards on Sydney bus shelters made me realise: us regional types need to turn our weakness into a strength — come for a Tree Change AND do ministry. Almost like short-term mission…

HIM: Absolutely! We see the regions have excellent opportunities to explore ministry experiences that are diverse (and relatively inexpensive on the $). I cut my teeth preaching because regional ministries are crying out for trainee preachers to step in and serve.

ME: YES! And travel times mean you can network with a larger number of minister(ries) in a more in-depth way.

HIM: Back in the day (2002) we used to load an old Tarago with trainee preachers from the uni ministry and do a Sunday circuit (also networking AFES). Travel time was debriefing/rewriting sermons for the trainees. Kind of like the speech writing team on airforce one.

ME: I’d watch that Netflix series.


Xian Reflections is written by Mikey Lynch.

Mikey graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. In 2000 he became one of the founding leaders of Crossroads Presbyterian Church where he was the lead pastor for 7 years from 2003.

Mikey now works as the Campus Director of the University Fellowship of Christians, University of Tasmania, Hobart. Mikey is the chairman of The Vision 100 Network (Tasmania) and a founding director of Geneva Push (national) – both church planting networks. He is also a chaplain at Jane Franklin Hall and the chairman of New Front Door: the Church IT Guild.

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