Q&A: Stephen Baxter
Long Faith Journey to Tasmania
Stephen Baxter is the Mission Director of Tasmanian Baptists, and the also Senior Pastor at Hobart Baptist Church.
He and Jenny moved to Hobart in 2007 after having lived in the north of the state for a few years.
Where were you born and what was it like growing up there?
I was born in Bendigo in Central Victoria. We moved around quite a lot as my Dad was a school teacher. That said, it was a stable family, and life felt safe.
When and why did you move to Tasmania?
We moved to Tasmania in early 2004 with four of our five children to work with Fusion from their base in Poatina. This was following the collapse of the publishing company we had been involved in for over 20 years, 36 Media Ltd, which used to publish On Being, Alive and Christian Woman magazines.
What do you enjoy most about living here?
In Tasmania I love the beautiful landscape, the more relaxed pace of life, the opportunities, and the mission and ministry work I do.
Tell us about your family.
Jenny and I married in 1981, and we have five children and three grandkids. Some live in Melbourne (Marion & Luke, with Eli and Zoe; Joe and Hilary); some in Hobart (Elliot & Nicole, with Theo), and one in Paris, France (Alice, working with YWAM).
Pictured: Stephen and Jenny with their family, the last time they were all together in August 2019.
How did you become a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian family, and following Jesus has been a growing journey through all that time. I don't think I can pinpoint one moment when I became a follower of Jesus. Important moments of commitment were when I was 7, 15, and 21 years old. And more recently, in 2004 and 2016, I experienced key moments of decision.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
The thing I have heard, and now learnt, which has impacted me most is that God is always with us.
When people ask you how you spend your time, what do you say?
My time is made up of leadership in three different areas: Tasmanian Baptists as the Mission Director, as Senior Pastor of Hobart Baptist Church, and also within the broader community. As well, I enjoy time with my family, I do a lot of reading, and every now and then, Jenny convinces me it would be good to do some work in the garden!
What excites you most about what you do?
I am excited to be called by God to partner in the Kingdom's work in the world.
What challenges do you have as you do this work?
My biggest challenge is to get out of the way of what God is doing! I have to stay on my toes to be alert and aware of what he is up to.
How can we pray for you and your work?
Please pray that I will stay alert. And for the courage and boldness to go where God wants me to go.
Short and Sweet
I am looking forward to ... Jesus coming again.
I am worried about ... the future of Tasmania, given COVID-19 and the worldwide responses to it.
I am confident that ... God has the planet and our future secure in Jesus.
I am joyful about ... the gift of life each day.
I would like to change ... our hearts, including mine, to be generous, humble, and open to the work of the Spirit.
I am at my best when ... I am least self-conscious.