7 Questions with Church leaders

Read insights and thoughts on leadership from Church Leaders around the world.

Thank you to the amazing church leaders who have answered our 7 questions so far, we hope you find their answers helpful for you in your leadership journey!

7 Questions with Lyn Edge

Name: Lyn Edge

Current title: Secretary for Mission (National)

Current organisation: The Salvation Army

Lt Col Lyn Edge is the Secretary for Mission for The Salvation Army Australia. In her role she is responsible to resource and support the flourishing of corps and faith communities ministries, lead our social policy and advocacy work and also the operational management of Social and Community services across Australia.

Lyn has been a Salvation Army officer for over 25 years, working in Sydney and Paris before moving to Melbourne. She has been a Corps Officer (church leader) of both new and established corps, a social worker and a chaplain, and also worked in education. Being committed to life long learning she holds qualifications social work and theology, including a Doctorate of Ministry. Along with Major Gregory Morgan she is the co-author of Partnering with God: Being a Missional Salvationist, which explores mission from a Salvation Army point of view.

Having lived in Paris for 4 years, she speaks French and pre COVID, was loving the opportunity to travel and keep up her language skills. These days life doesn't get a lot better than having good coffee and a packet of chips whilst reading or watching the ABC. Actually that's not true, any time with her grandchildren is better than anything.

7 Questions with Bruce Stevens (Lieut. Colonel)

Name: Bruce Stevens (Lieut. Colonel)

Current title: Executive Officer - Investigations (previously Victoria State Leader)

Current organisation: The Salvation Army

I have served as a Salvation Army Officer since 1992, spending 16 years in congregational ministry before taking on denominational leadership responsibilities. I have always relished opportunities to work alongside and develop effective leaders. From our origins, The Salvation Army has focused on sharing the gospel holistically; responding to the spiritual and practical needs of people.

Prior to moving into ministry, I worked as a Corporate Tax Consultant for a multinational Business Consultancy Firm. Those business skills certainly proved to be a great asset and I have had extensive responsibilities with The Salvation Army in business and governance matters over the last 13 years.

In recent times, I led the VicOne Project that brought together the multiple divisions of The Salvation in Victoria Army into a single structure. This was part of the largest 'merger' in Australia in recent years given our extensive community service ministries and it even got the attention of many corporates. Throughout that period, I served on the Steering Committee that guided the process.

Together with my wife, Debra, I moved into leadership of the newly created Victoria Division and served through until January 2021 to drive the new culture and mission strategy developed.

I have now moved on from strategic leadership into a support role with our National team. At aged 62 and being a survivor from a recent cancer journey, my focus is moving to new ways of investing in leaders.

As an aside, I love music and enjoy serving with the Melbourne Staff Band, the premiere brass band of The Salvation Army in Australia..

7 Questions with Richard Coombs

Name: Richard Coombs

Current title: Australian Director; Teaching Pastor

Current organisation: MECO (Middle East Christian Outreach) Australia; Wattle Park Chapel

Brought up in Christian family as 'Preacher's Kid'. Theological training through NZ Baptist Theological College(1977-80). Pastored two churches in NZ (1980-88); two in Melbourne (1988-2002); MECO Australia (2002 - present); Teaching Pastor (2018 - present). Also Chairman of Belgrave Heights Convention.

Married to Margaret. Three married sons - two in ministry.

Enjoys reading, cricket, golf and rugby union.

7 Questions with Ric

Name: Ric

Current title: Senior Pastor

Current organisation: Strong Nation Church

Born 1966 into a rural family, with one older brother, mum and dad (still together after 58 years).

Move to the city as a 6 year old and raised in Penrith.

Became part of Ps Gordon Gibbs' fellowship which grew to be Penrith Christian Life Centre (now Imaginations Church). As a teenager, I was born again and become one of youth leadership team, under the leadership of Ps Steve Kelly. Dad became the pastor overseeing Pastoral Care for 25 years, and becoming an adult I volunteered a day to assist him.

Married Naomi (nee Thornton) in 1989 and began our family 1992.

1997 the new pastor Ps Jack Hanes offered me the role of Youth Pastor; an office i held for 10 years.

Through a burden for true discipleship, our ministry grew to over 800 young people attending small groups and our Friday night youth service weekly.

2007 I was offered the Senior Pastor role at Hawkesbury Church in Windsor NSW. Hawkesbury Church was renamed Strong Nation Church in 2012 and in the last 7 years we have planted churches in Springwood NSW, Jordan Springs NSW, and Cambodia.

We have 5 children born between 1992 and 2004, 3 daughters in law, and 6 amazing grandchildren. Our adult children are all in ministry fulfilling pastoring and chaplaincy roles.

7 Questions with James Ayodeji AKANDE

Name: James Ayodeji AKANDE

Current title: Pastor

Current organisation: The Redeemed Christian Church Of God Lighthouse Queensland

James Ayodeji Akande is a servant of the most high who is passionate about serving God, loves sharing the word of God and believes in the efficacy of prayer.

He is married to Abimbola Akande and blessed with two children; Samuel & Shalom.

He’s a Network Engineer by profession.

7 Questions with Ron Simms

Name: Ron Simms

Current title: National Leader

Current organisation: The Full Gospel Churches of Australia

Ron placed his faith in Christ in 1972. He joined the local Methodist church and later a Pentecostal church. Ron joined Full Gospel in 1989 as the pastor of a local fellowship. Ron has, over the years, served in a variety of ministry-focussed positions from youth work to missions, in local churches and para-church organisations. He has taught in Bible colleges and ministry training schools as well as engaging in a number of successful businesses. He currently serves with his wife, Justine providing support and member care for pastors throughout Australia and is the Dean of the College of Ministry Leadership.

Ron holds a master’s in ministry with a major in Leadership (Harvest), an Executive Master of Business, Leadership through Coaching and Mentoring (EMBA - LCAM) from Queensland University of Technology [QUT], and an Executive Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (QUT).

Ron and Justine have two adult children, four grandchildren and two little white fluffy door-bells (dogs). Ron enjoys sudoku, writing and people.

7 Questions with Mark Macakay

Name: Mark Macakay

Current title: Senior Pastor

Current organisation: Forest Lake Baptist Church

Married to Catherine with 4 kids, I grew up in a Christian home but didn't really personalise my faith until my late teens. I've been a pastor at Forest Lake Baptist for 15 years and, before that I worked as a Chartered Accountant.

7 Questions with Geoff Folland

Name: Geoff Folland

Current title: Team Leader

Current organisation: Power to Change Australia

Geoff grew up in the Hills District of Sydney's northwest attending Epping Gospel Chapel. Always driven to be a high achiever, he went to James Ruse Ag High School, studied a B.Ec at Sydney Uni, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant while working for one of the Big Four firms.

In 1995, he returned to Power to Change and served at Macquarie Uni from 1995 to 2008, except for a one year stint in Boulder, CO in 1998/9. This allowed him to get to know the rest of his wife's (Liz) family following the tragic death of her mum. He moved into a state leadership role while completing his M.Div at Denver Seminary in 2010. He returned to a direct campus team leader role in 2014, leading the PTC team at Sydney Uni and Notre Dame. He finished that role at the end of 2020 and moves to Melbourne for a national leadership role in 2021. Geoff married Liz in July 1997, and they adopted two children from the Philippines (Philip, 19 and Katrise 15)

7 Questions with Matt Anstey

Name: Matt Anstey

Current title: Pastor

Current organisation: Kruger Parade Baptist Church

I love Jesus, my family & my church, plus a healthy side love of footy, running and action movies! 8 years pastoring Kruger Baptist in Ipswich, 7 years on the Gold Coast as a Youth Pastor and 10 years designing roads. Married for 21 years to my beautiful wife and we have 3 kids in high school.

7 Questions with Aleisha Reader-White

Name: Aleisha Reader-White

Current title: Director

Current organisation: Equipped for Grace

A bit about me - I love family! And I want everyone to have an amazing family to return to at the end of the day, so I’ve dedicated my life to serving others in this capacity. My company, Equipped for Grace, is dedicated to developing resources for churches, equipping our amazing people to deal with life’s toughest situations, child protection, domestic violence, suicide and self-harm, mental health issues etc. I love it!

I am a mum of two, wife to a beautiful man and love a good chat.

I am the typical eldest child, always organized, on time and studious. I love organisation!

At age 19, I was working in the finance and the entertainment industry and finding little to no satisfaction from all its attention, glitz, glamour and glory. So I started to attend church, but It wasn’t until I went on a mission trip to South Africa that I decided this is what I wanted my life to be that life really started. So what else to do…but quit my job, pack up everything and start on a new journey. In this time, I completed a Bachelor of Justice and Legal Studies, Graduate Diploma in Psychology and commenced working in the criminal justice sector, where I was for over 12 years.

7 Questions with Miriam Gluyas

Name: Miriam Gluyas

Current title: Divisional Commander (NSW/ACT)

Current organisation: The Salvation Army

I was born into an amazing family, who told me that I could do anything and be anything. I was well loved, beautifully cared for, wanted for nothing, and have known Jesus for as long as I can remember. I thought that I would be a professional golfer, and sports teacher, but felt called by God to be a Salvation Army officer. What a journey that has been. I have served in Australia and PNG, had amazing opportunities in all of those places, in church planting, multicultural ministry, youth and children’s ministry, and supporting and resourcing our people. I have seen God do amazing things. I continue to believe that God will grow His church. I am single, love my nieces and nephews - I get to take them to all kinds of exciting places, and am blessed to still have my mum and dad alive. I have lived a blessed life, and continue to live by my mission statement of live (life to the full), love (God, others, self) and make a difference (in someone’s life every day)

7 Questions with Shirleen M Johnson-Cook

Name: Shirleen M Johnson-Cook

Current title: Bishop

Current organisation: No Bounds Ministries, Spirit Alive Ministries, GAP Ministries

I am a licensed and ordained woman of God that only wants to aid the Lord in the transformation of His people. I own and operate a global Christian Podcast Network; Spirit Alive