Farewell Jeff McKinnon!

Jun 16, 2021
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Advance Dec-20, Jeff McKinnon
Above: Jeff (right) with Mission Director Stephen Baxter

After over 20 years of service to Tasmanian Baptists, Mission Leadership Team member Jeff McKinnon finished his time on staff on Wednesday 30th of June. While Jeff has “retired” from Tasmanian Baptists, he will continue with City Baptist (Launceston) for some years yet!

Let’s say “Farewell Jeff” by thanking him for his amazing contribution to the Baptist movement.

In particular, Jeff has impacted the Tasmanian Baptist Council with his work, passion and energy. The two most recent chairpeople were approached for comment about Jeff . . .

Peter Clarke, Chair, Tasmanian Baptist Council, 2018 to the  present

“I have been serving with Tasmanian Baptists for just over 20 years. Throughout that whole time one of the constants has been Jeff McKinnon.

“Jeff has served in a huge number of roles including local church pastor, and leadership with Tas Baptists. His name just keeps on cropping up wherever you go. Ministry has never been “just a job” for Jeff. It is a calling which he has sown into sacrificially.

“I have been inspired by his passion and commitment to the important things in life – the sort of things Jesus would be concerned about. Jeff has shown that faith in Christ should be accompanied by real and tangible efforts to improve the lives of the vulnerable and for each of us to live responsibly in God’s beautiful creation.

“As he moves into this new season in his life I know that God will continue to use Jeff to bless others.”

Wendy Marston, Chair, Tasmanian Baptist Council, 2014 to 2018

“I worked closely with Jeff particularly when I was the Chair of the Tas Baptist Council. Jeff has skills and attributes which are many and varied. I’ve made a list – although no doubt there are more!”

  • Thorough
  • Gives thoughtful responses
  • Passionate about justice for all,
  • Diligent
  • Great teacher
  • Helpful
  • Good listener
  • Good at bringing people together
  • Great Bible knowledge
  • Reliable
  • Good facilitator
  • In depth, well-researched preaching.

Farewell Jeff by playing the Wordfind using Wendy’s words:
There’s Something About Jeff >>>

Overview of Jeff’s Work with Tasmanian Baptists, 1990 to 2021

1990 to 1999

Jeff and Sue McKinnon (pictured) commenced ministry in Tasmania in June 1990 as Rob Beeston was retiring as Superintendent. After a brief gap, Norman Pell became the Superintendent for seven years in the 1990s. During these years Jeff worked closely with Norman, especially with two stints on the Pastoral Committee, the second as Chairperson.

Norman encouraged Jeff to start Baptist Pastors Renewal Retreats. This grew into an interdenominational retreat strategy initially run by Tasmanian Baptists. Ladies’ retreats were also added. Jeff led this strategy for over 20 years. He also offered support to Baptist church plants at Bridport and Port Sorell.

2000 to 2010

After Norman’s retirement there was a gap between Superintendents. Jeff served on a Review Committee led by Ivan James in the late 1990s. From this, Garry Billing was called as Superintendent in 2000, serving until 2010.

Jeff worked closely with Garry in various ways including convening his advisory group. During these years Jeff coordinated the Tasmanian Baptist Consultancy Team, receiving six years’ training from Les Scarborough. He served as Vice President, President and then Immediate Past President, including serving on the Tasmanian Baptist Council, in 2000-2003. With Ivan Jordan, Jeff facilitated a well-attended rural ministry day at Sheffield.

Jeff has served on the Mission Leadership Team since 2008. Within that role he has provided oversight of the northern churches and pastors, and the Town and Country Churches.

Northern Pastors Sept 2019

In Launceston, he encouraged pastors to meet for coffee weekly and church leadership groups to gather three or four times per year (pictured in September 2019). In about 2010 Jeff wrote a paper considering options for the future of Tasmanian Baptists. Should we join the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV)? Could we join BUV as a special region? If we retain our independence, what leadership model will serve us best?

2010 to 2017

John Smith, former Seperintendant

At Garry’s retirement in 2010, John Smith (pictured) was inducted as Superintendent. He served in this role for about eight years. In this period Jeff again led the Pastoral Committee.

In 2011, in liaison with the BUV, Jeff drafted policies regarding pastors, and from 2013 implemented the Professional Development Process.

Jeff was a founding board member of A Just Cause (“Baptist Churches working for a more just world”). He also represented Tasmanian Baptists at various national meetings. Since 2016, Jeff also led a number of Converge teams from Tasmania to Canberra. He set up the Pioneering Incubator in about 2015.

In 2016 the first Understanding the Baptist Movement study intensive was held. As at 2021, 49 people have completed this study.

In 2016 Jeff assisted the Superintendent as Investigator and then Supervisor in a matter of serious allegations of misconduct of one of our pastors. This process continued over a twelve-month period.

2017 to 2021

Stephen Baxter (pictured with Jeff) became Mission Director in July 2017. Jeff set up and coordinated the Tasmanian Baptist Social Justice Taskforce. He returned for a final year on Council in 2020-2021.

Jeff has conducted reviews and consultancies in about eight Baptist churches, plus one for the Hobart churches; preached in 22 of our churches; conducted interim ministries at Citywide, Taroona, City and Wynyard; mentored numerous Baptist pastors, each for 2-4 years; and assisted five churches find new pastors.