Associate Pastor, Matt Henderson – Hobart

Matt Henderson Hobart

Ministry Profile

Matt Henderson, Hobart

Associate Pastor Matt Henderson was inducted at Hobart Baptist Church in February 2022, so it’s high time to find out about him. Read on to discover where he came from, and what his ride has been like over the last year.

Growing Up

I was born in Fairfield, Sydney but I’ve lived in Tasmania since I was very young. My family moved around a lot and we lived in many homes right across Hobart. I also spent a lot of my childhood on my grandparent’s farm in Geeveston. Tasmania was a wonderful place to grow up, and although I considered moving interstate as a young adult, I’m now very glad that I stayed here.

I love the ‘smallness’ of Tasmania. Our community here in Tasmania is still small enough that it is possible to build and maintain strong and close-knit communities. We are so blessed to live on an island with so much natural beauty, and because Tasmania is so small, all of that natural beauty is accessible in a way you can’t find in many places in Australia, or anywhere else. Kylie and I believe that Tasmania is the best place in the world to raise children.

I grew up in a very loving family. My older sister has a disability, and because of this I grew up with a different perspective about diversity, inclusion and people with special needs. My wife, Kylie, and I met at a young people’s Bible study, eventually marrying in December 2006. Kylie and I have two boys, Daniel (15) and David (10). Both of our sons are on the Autism Spectrum. I also have an older son, Isaac (23). Kylie and I recently became grandparents. Our granddaughter’s name is Dawn.

Kylie works as Citywide’s Accounts Manager, and does similar work for HBC as a volunteer. Kylie feels led to serve churches in the area of finance, and she also assists a couple of other churches in the Baptist Union in this area.

Matt Henderson, Hobart at Isaac's wedding
The Henderson family at Isaac’s wedding in 2021

Growing Up

I was raised in a Christian family and became a Christian when I was nine, on a children’s camp at the Blue Lagoon Christian Campsite. Unfortunately, I had negative experiences of churches as a child, and did not attend a church for a long time. I became serious and committed about my faith and working for Jesus in my mid-twenties when I became involved with a community of Christian young adults and families and got involved with children’s ministry and camps.

Growing up, my family attended very traditional Brethren churches. I was attending Eastern Shore Brethren Assembly when I met Kylie, who was a new Christian attending there because her mum attended there. After we got married, we attended another Brethren church in Hobart, where I worked for a year as the Sunday School coordinator. However, we became increasingly uncomfortable with the teaching around the role of women in these churches. Then, after Daniel was born and began exhibiting early signs of being on the Autism Spectrum, we felt increasingly excluded from that community.

We spent a lot of time un-churched, as we didn’t know how to navigate fitting into a church community as a special needs family.

Finding a Church Home

We really struggled to find a church that was accepting of a special needs family. However, when we visited Citywide’s Lenah Valley campus in 2015, we were immediately blown away by how welcoming and accepting the people there were. We became part of a church family there for the first time. When Matt Garvin arrived in 2017, he showed both myself and Kylie a way of following Jesus that lit a fire for both of us to become more active in serving.

At Citywide I discovered, developed and built my skills, stepping into areas of service and leadership I had previously shied away from. While there, we experienced Christian community in a very different, and much more fulfilling way, than I had ever experienced before. We became more open as individuals, more open as a family, and more willing to share with others.

Matt and Kylie
Matt and Kylie, 2023

As a result of encouragement at Citywide, I got some theological training. This challenged me to develop and practice leadership skills While there, I learned a lot about being part of a community of Jesus followers. I learned that I had leadership skills and I learned a lot about teamwork and church governance.

Our time at Citywide was a pivotal time of personal growth for both myself and for Kylie. We grew up spiritually there, and some very special people mentored us. Citywide is a place and community we will always have tremendous love for.

What Matt does now

Now, I am the Associate Pastor at Hobart Baptist Church. I wear many hats, and it’s both challenging and a lot of fun. My first job is to learn. This is my first time serving in pastoral ministry, and there are a lot of mistakes to be made, and a lot of learning to do. I see my most important task as building relationships within the church community.

Our senior pastor, Stephen Baxter, has a lot of big picture stuff to do with Tas Baptists, so I try to handle as many of the small picture, but just as important, details at Hobart Baptist Church (HBC). Much of my work involves liaising between different teams.

I oversee HBC church service planning, including our livestreaming, and a lot of our social media interactions. As well, I work with Stephen on our vision and direction for HBC, and our teaching plan and roster. I also do fairly regular preaching at HBC.

Leaving a church community like Citywide where we had built up deep roots over seven years was a very costly and difficult change for us. However, we have found the community at HBC to be welcoming, accepting and full of wonderful people. The culture is very different and adjusting has taken a little while for us.

I am still adjusting to working in pastoral ministry. Thankfully, I love the challenge and it is a blessing to have a great mentor to work with in Stephen. I am quite introverted, so there are many aspects of my work I find challenging, but also rewarding.

From a family standpoint, working pastorally with special needs children is a different kind of challenge. It would be fair to say that even after a full year here, we are still adjusting – but its been largely positive.

Matt Henderson, Honart

It’s all about P-E-O-P-L-E

What’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given? Building a strong church community is not about structures or programs, it’s about the people and what Jesus is doing in their lives.

Kylie and I would both appreciate prayer for managing the balance between our ministry work, and the needs of our family.

Short ‘n’ Sweet

am looking forward to . . . seeing people grow in their relationship with Jesus.

I am worried about . . . how negative the public voice of Christianity often is.

I am confident that . . . as I learn, I will make a lot of mistakes.

I am joyful about . . . the rich diversity at Hobart Baptist Church.

I would like to change . . . how we think about disability and inclusion in the church.

I am at my best when . . . I’m part of a team.

Matt Henderson Hobart

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Associate Pastor, Franz Brosch – Wynyard

Franz and Heidi Brosch

Ministry Profile

Introducing: Franz Brosch

Associate Pastor Franz Brosch was inducted at Wynyard Baptist Church on Sunday 12th February, 2023. He will work alongside Senior Pastor Owen Muskett. Franz and Heidi are excited to be in Tassie, after God brought them on quite a journey!

A long time ago in a country far, far away . . .

I was born and grew up in a town in Southwest Germany called Mühlacker. It wasn’t exactly a rural setting, but still a reasonably small and well-connected community, with neighbours having chats across their fences. Our suburb was beautifully located, surrounded by fields and forests, and it had a river flowing through. It was a good place to grow up.

At the age of 20, I moved 40km away to Karlsruhe – a city of 300,000 – in order to study Computer Science at university.

My wife Heidi and I moved to Tassie after having spent the last eight years in the Camden area, near Sydney. It has been lovely to explore our new hometown, Wynyard, and its surrounds.

We love the stunning beauty of the sea shore, but also the rolling hills and mountains inland. We have also enjoyed getting to know the community here. People are friendly, and everyone has time for a chat!

Franz and Heidi Brosch
Franz and Heidi Brosch

Both Heidi and I come from relatively small families. I have my parents and two older brothers living back in Germany. All of them have visited us at some stage after our migration to Australia in 2012.

Since it was only Heidi and me who came out, we are thankful for modern technology. It enables us to stay in touch through phone calls and video chats.

As far as I can think back, I have always believed in God. As a child I was part of the Catholic Church. However, in secondary school a group of evangelical students invited me join them. They met in the breaks between classes for prayer and Bible reading. Being part of this group greatly increased my understanding of the Gospel.

As an adult, I joined an evangelical church, where I was baptised. While I had been baptised as an infant, I took this step to make a conscious declaration of my faith.

The path towards leadership

My first career was in IT, working as a software engineer. I loved the work, yet over time it became increasingly clear I was not really passionate about it. I wanted to dedicate myself more fully to Christian ministry, but I did not know which direction to take.

After moving to Australia, the Lord brought us in contact with a number of Christian ministries and communities. This gave me a much better understanding of what it would mean to pursue vocational ministry. Looking back, I think all these experiences worked together to make me ready to accept leadership responsibility for a community of believers.

I think all these experiences worked together to make me ready to accept leadership responsibility for a community of believers.

Having served as a ministry intern at Narellan Community Congregational Church, near Sydney, for three years, I felt it was time to seek a new ministry position to broaden the scope of my experience.

I was hoping I would still be able to serve under a senior pastor, rather than on my own. Plus, I wanted to work part-time, to allow for the completion of my ongoing theological studies.

At Wynyard Baptist Church, exactly such an opportunity opened up! I am excited the church accepted me as their new Associate Pastor. Heidi and I moved to Wynyard in January 2023, and I started work in February.

Loving, teaching, serving

I have received so much valuable advice over the years, and it is impossible to single out one piece of advice above all others. But one that proved to be crucial was for me to take up theological studies. The advice came first from Heidi. Then from a friend who noticed my growing love for God’s Word, and my desire to understand it more deeply.

My Master of Divinity studies at Morling College have shaped me a lot. They have greatly increased my readiness for vocational ministry in the Church.

Having only just started the Associate Pastor role at Wynyard Baptist, the working out of my focus areas is an ongoing process that will still take time. At the moment, I am working three days/week, and spending time getting to know all aspects of the life and ministry of the church.

I love worship, and have been playing the keyboard in our Sunday services. As well, I am on the church’s preaching roster. More things will come in time.

I am greatly excited to see that God uses deep passions within me, such as worship and teaching, to serve his people and to bring fruit for his kingdom. I love the fact that I can spend my time and energy in ways that really matter and have eternal becoming more and more post-Christian.

Many of the older ways of reaching the lost are simply no longer effective. Part of the challenge of ministry today is thinking of new ways to re-engage people with the message of Jesus.

My challenge

I feel the work of ministry can bring out the worst of our brokenness, both in myself as well as in others, as it is a ministry from and to the heart. The process of spiritual transformation can be frustratingly slow and suffer all kinds of setbacks.

The challenge, then, is to keep looking to Christ and trusting him to take our efforts, imperfect as they are, and use them to continue to build his Church.

At this stage, I would appreciate prayer for the continued process of settling in at Wynyard Baptist Church, as well as life in Wynyard.

Pray my ministry in the church will grow and mature over time, and that as a church we will be a blessing to the community, to all those whose lives we touch. Pray, too, we will cooperate well with other churches in the area in proclaiming the Gospel, and many in our town turn to Christ.

And briefly

am looking forward to . . . the year ahead with Wynyard Baptist Church.

I am worried about . . . the increasing secularization of Australia and other Western nations.

I am confident that . . . coming to Wynyard was the right step to take.

I am joyful about . . . the beauty of creation across Tassie.

I would like to change . . . myself to do more exercise and eat less sweets.

I am at my best when . . . what I do corresponds with the passion that God has laid on my heart.

Franz Brosch

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Ben Cochrane – Somerset

Ben Cochrane, Somerset

Ministry Profile

Ben Cochrane Moves In

Ben began as the new pastor at Somerset in March 2022. Having had a few months to settle in, it’s a good time to touch base and find out more about him.

Pastoral beginnings

I was born in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane and am the second of four siblings. My dad was (and still is) a pastor in the Pentecostal Church, so much of my childhood revolved around the church. My parents modeled for me a sincere passion for Jesus and a costly commitment to His people.

The Cochranes
Ben Cochrane, and Sharmani, with their daughter Margo

Because I grew up in a Pastor’s household, I was exposed to the Gospel from an early age. However, after experiencing a number of personal crises in my late teens, I started engaging with my faith with fresh eyes. All of a sudden it was as if the Lord Jesus became real to me in a way that He hadn’t in the past. Since then, I have been on a spiritual path of discovery in the Lord.

My wife, Sharmani, and I arrived in Tasmania in March 2022. For some years we felt drawn to this beautiful place and to serve God’s people here. It all came together when an opportunity arose to serve as Pastor of Somerset Baptist.

Sharmini and I love the wild beauty of the North-West. The cooler climate is also a welcome change from the sweltering humidity up in Queensland. But what we enjoy most about living here is the people. The locals have just been so warm and generous towards our little family.

Changes, changes everywhere

Be patient, Ben Cochrane Somerset

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to be patient! God works in His own time! Because I have the tendency to rush and be impatient, this was some sound advice.

I am the pastor of Somerset Baptist. As a pastor of a small church, you tend to have to wear my different hats! But I consider the primary focus of my role to be helping others follow Jesus. In a world that is rapidly changing, this is getting harder and harder to do. 

I spend my time shepherding people. Depending on the given week, this may look different. It may look like doing an Alpha Course with someone exploring the Christian faith. It may look like visiting an older member in a nursing home and encouraging her in her faith. Or even meeting up with a younger member for a coffee and reading the Bible together and thinking about how it applies to our lives.

All this variation is part of what makes ministry exciting. 

I get excited by witnessing God’s transforming power at work in the lives of everyday people. This might sound really basic, but I get a front row seat to this!

My big challenges focus around how our culture is becoming more and more post-Christian. Many of the older ways of reaching the lost are simply no longer effective. Part of the challenge of ministry today is having to think of new ways to re-engage people with the message of Jesus.

Please pray for our family as we continue to settle into a new community. Pray for boldness to step out of my comfort zone and make connections with people in Somerset. And, most especially, pray for patience. 

And briefly

am looking forward to . . . seeing God show His faithfulness.

I am worried about . . . whether I have what it takes.

I am confident that . . . God has my back!

I am joyful about . . . watching my family grow and seeing God’s transforming grace in people’s lives.

I would like to change . . . my pessimism.

I am at my best when . . . I’ve spent five minutes in silent prayer, and had my morning coffee!

With thanks to Frans Ammerlaan (Sassafras) for his assistance in compiling this interview.

Ben Cochrane

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Matt Holloway – Westbury

Matt Holloway and Lacey

Ministry Profile

Matt Holloway

Matt began as the new pastor at Westbury in April, moving from Shepparton Victoria when Tasmania called him back!

From TAS to NSW

I was born in Burnie, and lived there until I was about four and a half. Burnie was a wonderful place to live. I loved living on a hill and seeing the beach every time we went into town. It’s so good that I have many great and funny memories of life in Burnie.

My dad trained for, and began ministry, as a Baptist Pastor in NSW, so I began and completed my primary school life there . This let me experience a wonderful mix of city life and outback living, as life as a pastor’s kid moved us around. I didn’t enjoy the busy city life, but I loved the life in the outback and all the adventures that came with it.

My dad was my inspiration for becoming a Christian. In his early life, my dad had been a chronic alcoholic. He didn’t have much education, and couldn’t really read or write, only enough basics to get through everyday life. He gave his life to Christ after marrying my mum.

During my early years he felt called to ministry and accepted God’s call. I watched my dad grow in faith, and I watched God give him the abilities to study and complete his college work. Seeing God at work in dad, I wanted to know and have this God in my life. One night as dad was heading out for street mission, I decided this was it. I grabbed him by the leg and told him I wouldn’t let go until I had Jesus in my life.

And from VIC to TAS!

Matt Holloway and Lacey

My wife Lacey, my son Larry, and I moved to Tasmania in April this year. I had wanted to move back to Tasmania for some time. Lacey and I had a belated honeymoon in Tasmania, and she expressed how good it would be to live here one day. After God heard our hearts and with much discernment, God opened an opportunity to come to Tassie. We moved over to Westbury after being called to pastor Westbury Baptist.

I enjoy how beautiful Tasmania and Westbury are. After living in such a flat part of Victoria, I love the mountains and the nature around us. I am excited to find time to get out and explore it. I also love the people. People here are so friendly and engaging. I am excited to get to know my local community.

The way I spend my time is constantly changing. It is a mixture of preparing for Sunday worship service, engaging with the local community, meetings, coffee meet ups, appointments, and time with family. What I should to say is Loving God, loving family, and Loving others.

Connection and challenge

I am privileged to be the Pastor at Westbury Baptist church. My role is to nurture and grow believers in their faith and to engage with the local community to make Christ known and grow his kingdom. I love connecting with people and discovering people’s journeys. It is such a privilege to be let into other people’s lives, to journey with them, and share Christ with them. What excites me most is seeing God at work in people’s lives and situations, especially people finding Christ for the first time.

There are many challenges in ministry and everyday life. There is time management, making time for church, community engagement, appointments, most importantly God and family. As a newcomer to town, there are challenges as I seek to engage with the community. Finding where and how to connect in the community. Many people have been hurt by churches in the past and this presents challenges on connecting with them now and then there is the constant spiritual battle that goes on daily as I seek to gain ground for God.

Praying for Matt and Lacey

I would really appreciate if you would pray for us. Pray that God will open doors to reach into the community of Westbury and the surrounding area. That God would give discernment on how to manage time to be effective, that my heart and focus is on Jesus and the people he wants me to engage with. And finally, that I would see and overcome the spiritual battles waged against us as we seek to do God’s will.

The best advice I have had is to give God your availability and he will give you the ability to do what he calls you to do.” It is only through Christ, his strength and empowering that we can step into the calling on our lives and carry out his will.

And briefly

I am looking forward to … exploring Tassie with my family, including my mother-in-law who I hadn’t met until recently because she lives in Georgia USA!

I am worried about … homelessness and housing shortage and the wider unseen implications. It is very concerning.

I am confident that … we are where God wants us, and God will use us.  My aim is to always be seeking God’s will.

I am joyful about … serving God and spending time with my family.

I would like to change ... church from being comfortable inside to going beyond the walls to the people and places that God calls us.

I am at my best when … close to God and functioning in God’s strength.

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Dan Evenhuis – Citywide

Dan Evenhuis with Dannie and thekids
Dan Evenhuis - Citywide

Ministry Profile

Dan Evenhuis recently began working at Citywide Baptist as the Executive Pastor.

I hail from Smithton, and I spent my early years with my four siblings on a cattle farm. My family had a strong Christian focus, with Bible readings and prayer at mealtimes. Currently, I am Executive Pastor for Citywide Baptist Church. My job is to help the smooth running of our church. I’m also focusing on worship, pastoral care, and outreach.

We lived in Melbourne when I was between the ages of four and 12, while Dad ministered to the Melbourne Jewish Community. Then, when I turned 13, we returned to Smithton. I found the transition very difficult, although it was during this period I met Jesus, who became my best friend. I was constantly aware of His presence and a natural friendly relationship developed, and I was very conscious of God with me. As I rode my bike to the milking shed at 5:30am, I’d talk to Jesus along the way as though it was the most natural thing.

As an adult, I have loved working with the Youth and Community organisation Fusion, with committed godly communities around the world, seeing others being saved. I loved to see the effect no matter what the denomination.

Reaching our communities is the long-game.

Dan Evenhuis

My most recent experience with Fusion was in Oxfordshire UK, bringing the community together in a three-day festival. It was an amazing few days, ending a quite depressing year. I felt people were feeling something like, “I respect and admire these people and know they are Christians. They’re smart and don’t seem deluded, but they really believe in this God stuff. I must be missing something.” Reaching our communities is the long-game. It’s a lot of work and investment, but so worth it.

Family and the BIG move

Danni and I have been married now for 21 years. Back in the UK she taught and did dance instructing. Now, she’s teaching at Calvin Christian School in Kingston. We have four children aged from 11 to 17 years old. When I am asked how I do spend my time, I say: “I have four kids!”

Last year, we decided to come back to Tasmania after 18 fulfilling years of ministry in the UK. Back in 2014 a few of us in Oxfordshire started a less formal, and more welcoming, family-friendly Church. It continued to grow due to its unique ministry and had become stable. Now that the church is sustainable, Danni and I thought it’s time to go back to Tasmania. Family is important, and yet for 18 years we’d been doing mission on the other side of the world. It was time to expose our English-born children to Aussie culture as well as give them time to get to know their cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunties. Slowly, they’re beginning to settle into Tasmanian life. It’s going to take a lot of time though for them to feel like they belong. Please pray for them after this big international move.

Evenhuis children 2022

In Tasmania, we love the nature and the outdoors, the beauty, and the stunning surroundings. We always thought Hobart was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and now we live here! My family also enjoy having extended family around. It’s different to being in a country on our own. I remember on a holiday here seven years ago, my kids were surprised someone had a photo of them up in their loungeroom. It was my Auntie from Burnie. Family is like that.

I am really looking forward to getting to know the Citywide family, and other Christians across the state. I think the church seems to be struggling a fair bit here in Tasmania, and I’m so keen for us to work with God and throw all we have into His ministry.

Life Challenges for Dan Evenhuis

Dan Evenhuis received some great advice: "A calm sea never made a good sailor"
“A calm sea never made a good sailor”

The best advice I have received is: “A calm sea never made a good sailor”. God does not ask us to cram our Christian mission beyond our busy life. We decide how much time to allocate. I’m keen for the church to be a source of enlightenment in our community – for us not to be in our Christian ghettos, but to bring Christ within reach of those around us.

I have many challenges in everyday life. Running a church is busy work and I want to be careful that we manage how much of our effort goes into a Sunday Service. Many churches invest around 80% of their time and resources into that one Service. I would instead love to say, if you want to get to know our church, don’t just turn up on a Sunday, come and see us through the week as well. For example at Citywide, there is an amazing craft group which meets on Thursdays, with about 100 attendees. Our purpose is to stay outward focused because we exist for those who are not in the church yet!

I’d really appreciate your prayers for me, that I can stand back and have some time with God regularly so I can work out what he wants me to work on. There are no end of jobs to do, but I want to do what he has for me today.

And Briefly

I am looking forward to … bushwalking with my family.

I am worried about … many struggling churches across Tasmania.

I am confident that  I’m where God wants me.

I am joyful about … being around family.

I would like to change … church being performance- and sermon-driven. I’d love to see the church becoming a vibrant, God-centred community of believers involved in whole-life ministry.

I am at my best when … I am close to God and aware of His love for me.

FIND OUT: Citywide Baptist Church
READ: Jeff Percival (Lwr Barrington) Ministry Profile

Dan Evenhuis

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