As part of this year’s Annual Assembly (on October 31st), we agreed to the accreditation of nine ministers serving across a number of churches in our movement. Accreditation is the highest level of pastoral affirmation within the Association, and is a benefit to the individual, the local church, the Association and the wider community. Our 2020 Accreditation Service was a wonderful time of witnessing and celebrating those who have committed themselves to ministry and service within our Baptist Church. After several years of dedication and hard work, one of those newly accredited pastors is Dennis Park of Sydney Grace Community Church (which received accreditation as a Baptist New Start Church back in 2017).
Dennis reached the point of salvation in 1992. His spiritual journey continued as he studied the Bible in Christian communities. “As I was growing in faith, others began to see fruits in my life, and some invited me to lead Bible studies,” he shares. “This small group of people and I, after much prayer, started a church plant where I provided the leadership as their pastor. From this time, the Lord started working in my heart to consider the call to ministry prayerfully and seriously…To me, preaching the Gospel and helping people grow in faith was the most worthy work one can engage in, as stated in 1 Timothy 3:1 – ‘If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work’.”
Dennis has completed a Master of Ministry at Morling College and also studied at The Master’s Seminary and at Grace Advance Academy. Aside from pastoring SGCC, he also oversees Vose Training’s VET courses in Ministry and Leadership & Management at Morling, and trains/teaches Taekwondo at Lee Taekwondo Club in Wentworth Point (he is 4th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo)!
As he started his ministry with Baptist churches, both he and his church wished to be accredited with the Baptist Association in order to be well connected with the movement and more effective in their ministry. “From the early part of my spiritual journey, I was drawn to Baptist Churches for Baptist distinctives,” Dennis says. His accreditation journey began with a visit to Morling College, where he ended up spending four “wonderful” years studying (whilst pastoring his church). “I had to do several more units post-MMin degree to satisfy accreditation requirements,” he explains. “Throughout the process, I had continual support and follow-up from the Committee for Ministry team at the Baptist Association.”
Dennis is thankful that he could celebrate his accreditation in person this year. “I felt grateful for what God has done in bringing me to where I am now,” he says. “It was encouraging to finally experience the accomplishment by God’s grace.”
Jenny Casey, our Coordinator of Pastoral Accreditation & Recognition, says: “Accreditation is a rigorous process. Candidates are screened, undertake study, are interviewed, and given requirements they must carry out. They submit to this process because they know they have been called to this, and yearn to serve God & his Kingdom with godly leadership. It was a delight to see Dennis and the other accreditands become Baptist ministers because they are demonstrating their obedience to God and his call!”
Dennis hopes that God will use him to grow His Church, as he serves his church plant and trains future church leaders through the work he does at Morling College. Please pray “for more empowering and effective preaching and teaching” for him.
Congratulations to Dennis (and Andrew Allinson, John Bomford, Andrew Hulme, Enoch Nagabyrava, Lyndon Rumsey, Andrew Sumpton, Daniel Waugh and Robert Li) for having fulfilled all the requirements/qualifications and been approved by the Assembly of the Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT as being suitable for ministry! May you continue to be instruments in God’s hands, and may your journeys inspire others to pursue accreditation.