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7 Questions with Allyson Parker
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7 Questions with Allyson Parker
Name: Allyson Parker
Current title: Generations Pastor Imagine nations Church, Australian Christian Churches (ACC) National Safer Churches Director, ACC NSW/ACT Kids' Director
Current organisation: ImagineNations Church
Born and raised in country NSW, I came to Sydney to study nursing. I met my husband, James while at University and we have lived in Sydney since then. I spent three years working in Emergency, before becoming a full time Mum. We have three daughters and two grandchildren.
I was born again and began attending church when my first daughter was 6 months old and Ps Jack and Carol Hanes have been my Pastors since then.
I had a very clear call into the Children's Ministry early in my walk with God and this has been my passion since then.
I became the Children's Pastor in 2003 and this year have moved to a Generations Pastor role.
I started training NSW church teams in Safer Churches ministry in 200 9, moved to the State Safer Churches position in 2015 and to the National role in 2019.
I took on the ACC State Kids' Director role at the end of 2019.
I love the privilege of being able to form faith foundations in children, helping them to fall in love with Jesus and His church, then grow them as servant leaders filled with purpose. I love seeing families strong in faith and serving together. I love seeing multiple generations continuing to pursue the call of God, knowing that our ministry had a part to play in that God story.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
For me, overcoming the uncomfortable mental co-existence of who I am in Christ and who I see myself to be. My greatest regret is not working through personal insecurities earlier. I had to give myself permission to be who God called me to be and really shine doing it. This and always serving from a heart motivated by an audience of only Jesus.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I volunteered for 11 years weekends and mid- week to serve in the Children's ministry. I knew that this was where God had called me, so I gave all I could to it. I would see a need and try to meet it. It was rare that I had to be asked to do a task- and, if I was asked, my answer was yes. I took on greater levels of leadership on the team over those 11 years and that 'yes' to greater things is still in my heart. It's such a joy to serve Jesus and His church.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I'm a morning person, so my days start early with personal devotion, then walking before work.
I try to stay on top of emails as much as possible, so that communication is efficient for everyone, so I work to answer them first thing when I get to work. I schedule my days around my different roles. If I try to work on small bits of various roles in a day, I achieve very little- it's too 'all over the place'. I like to have one day with no meetings, or offsite ministry.
My daughter, who works with me, is very good at making me stop for lunch and leave my desk, which is good for my productivity.
I try to avoid too many evening meetings, as I'm not at my best, however, if I am meeting with a team, I'll always try to have them for dinner, so it is more than just 'business'. Conversations over food create space for discipleship, friendship and genuine relationship.
Down time for me is gardening, reading, floristry or watching cricket.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"Glorious Intruder" by Joni Earekson-Tada was the book that brought me to Christ- so probably the book that has had the most impact in my life, and therefore, my leadership. Learning to recognise the Holy Spirit's presence in all circumstances, still impacts my life today.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Details still matter.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
You start with the discipleship of your children.
You deliberately and consistently teach leadership to your generations, give them opportunity to serve and train them in servant- heartedness through the culture of the team they serve in.
And you love people and make serving and leading fun.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
When I was training as a nurse, I failed showering the first time. How is that even possible?
I was showering an elderly lady, and my clinical supervisor was 'old school'. She had no time for laziness, carelessness, or 'I can't do it'. (I am indebted to her for what she taught me personally and professionally). When I had finished the shower process, she told me I had failed, then proceeded to ask permission of my patient if she could show me what I had missed. Once granted she showed me the most disgusting buildup of gunk between the lady's toes, which when cleaned properly, revealed raw infected skin.
She turned to me and said, "She deserves better than this. She deserves someone to treat her as though she was their own grandmother. She cannot spread her toes apart anymore and she needs you to do what she cannot do."
She deserves better than this. She needs you to do what she cannot do."
This is a life lesson I've never forgotten- not while nursing, nor in ministry.
This story is from before I had any leadership role, however it was to form the principle in my life that Jesus and people deserve the best I can give them.