Stuart Crabtree – Passionate About Reaching Young People for Christ

Apr 23, 2024
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Ministry Profile: Stuart Crabtree 

Reaching Young People for Christ

Lifeway Baptist Student Pastor Stuart Crabtree writes about his life and how important it is that children know and feel they belong in Church. Read on to find out . . .


I was born in Devonport, but spent most of my childhood in South Riana, a small country town south of Penguin. I spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors and climbing trees, but I also enjoyed reading a good book. 

My mother became a Christian in her late teens, and my father sometime after they were married. Mum was conscientious about teaching us from the Bible, emphasising the importance of believing and obeying God’s Word. Dad was a great role model of being a Christian husband (for which I am very grateful in my marriage today!). In this environment of regular exposure to the Gospel, I became convicted of my own need for salvation at the age of 10. 

Family Life

My wife, Melanie, is a creative soul who sings beautifully, and is an aspiring author. She also makes great coffee and works at the local bookshop. Together, we have two children, Eliana (9) and Gryphin (6). Eliana, like her mum, has a wonderful imagination and spends a lot of her time there! Gryphin loves spending one-on-one time with people and wants to be a monster truck driver when he’s older. We enjoy the gentler pace of life here in Tassie, as well as the cooler weather. 

I am an amateur Ukulele player and also enjoy cooking. I think I’ve mastered the art/science of making panna cotta and have a number of my own recipes (with several more in the works).  

Ministry at Lifeway

I share responsibility for the children’s ministry at Lifeway Baptist with Morgan Read. My focus is the Kids’ Church program that runs during the Sunday morning service. 

My first experience of ministry was at the age of 15, at Camps Clayton and Riverbend. Having enjoyed being a camper at Camp Clayton since grade 5, I was excited to progress to (being a) cabin leader. I don’t think I really got what ministry was about, though. I had a pretty superficial understanding of what made a good cabin leader and had looked up to some cabin leaders for superficial reasons – they were funny, cool, popular.

This changed on my seventh camp leading a cabin. My co-leader didn’t really have the qualities that I thought made a good cabin leader, but he was still an amazing one to me. He cared for our kids, he spent time with them, and he shared Jesus with them. He didn’t just lead them; he led me. From that point on my approach to cabin leading was different. It was about building relationships with kids and making opportunities to tell them about Jesus. 

Passionate About Youth Work

The following year, I became bored at school. I was in Year 11 and dropped out to find work. Instead, I ended up getting involved with Fusion and doing some training with them in Youth and Community Work. Following this, I spent a couple of years doing voluntary Christian work in schools, churches, and campsites. Camp Clayton gave me some casual work running their activities, and about a year later I moved into a full-time position running their holiday camps. I had become passionate about reaching young people for Christ. This theme shone through the next two decades, as I have continued to work in various youth and children’s ministries (as well as being a teacher at a local public high school).    

The Rewards and challenges

I love it when kids have ‘aha’ moments and understand something about God that they hadn’t before. I also enjoy seeing them grow in Christlikeness, being kind, gentle and compassionate with one another. 

It’s important to me that children know and feel that they belong in Church. For some children, this presents more of a challenge than others – their bodies or minds may be significantly different from others, and this may create a sense of disconnect between them and the community.  

Balancing my time between church, family, ministry, work, and study can be difficult. Another challenge we have – and a welcome one – is that the number of children in the church is growing. This means we need more volunteers to help with Kids’ Church.  

The best advice I had when I was growing up was from the Pastor of my church. He frequently told our youth group not to take his word for it (whatever he was teaching us), but to go to the Bible and see for ourselves. Such an attitude taught me to revere God’s authority over that of people. It also taught me to have my own personal relationship with God and develop my own faith rather than vicariously adopting the faith of others. 

Stuart Crabtree family
Pray For… 

Please pray that these children will know the love of Christ in and through the Church. Please also pray that we can find enough volunteers to properly care for children with extra-needs as they participate in Kids’ Church.

Stuart Crabtree

Short ‘n’ Sweet

I am looking forward to. . . long service leave  

I am worried about. . . being misunderstood

I am confident that. . . coffee is better than tea 

I am joyful about. . . spending time with my children  

I would like to change. . . my inability to consistently sing in tune  

I am at my best. . . when I know what’s happening 

Stuart Crabtree

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