Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT is made up of many different wonderful church/ministry pastors and leaders. In this series (‘Meet the Leader’), we introduce you to some of these people – to encourage you with how God is using men and women across the state, and to help us better connect as a denomination/movement!
My name is Bob Dennis – Senior Pastor at Merrylands Baptist Church for 8 years (with Pastoral Ministry for 33 years, including pastoral ministry in rural NSW and the Blue Mountains). At 28, while in the Air Force, my life was suddenly changed when I discovered the grace of God. After my conversion, I was told I had a ‘pastors heart’ and ought to consider going to college. After a lot of soul searching and God moments, I commenced training at Morling College for pastoral ministry. I think it was really God opening the doors and leading me step-by-step along the way through prayer, people, and circumstances, that I found myself in pastoral leadership. I now also have four adult children and am on a steep learning curve as a grandparent!
Merrylands Baptist Church began in 1901 as a preaching station of Parramatta Baptist Church. In 1930 the church was officially formed with 21 members, pastored by college students. In 1945 it had its first full time pastor and acquired its first manse. By 1968, the church building had been enlarged to seat over 300 people for worship and all aged Sunday school and the building was converted into a two level multipurpose building. By 1990, the church adopted a more contemporary form of worship and openness to a greater involvement of women in ministry. It also joined other local churches in outreach to 5 high schools and multiple primary schools.
God himself has been my real sustainer. Prayer and meditation in the Word has played a big part in my life. There are times when I have been prostrate on the floor praying desperately for answers and seeing God come through. I also went through a time of inner healing where I was set free from the wounds of the past. Investing in our marriage and family life has been crucial to providing emotional support through the ups and downs of ministry.
Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT has provided me with sound theological grounding and leadership training through formal courses, training programs, and meaningful connections with many amazing people. To cite a few examples, I remember how my first pastor’s renewal retreat powerfully reinvigorated me for ministry during a time of discouragement. A leadership training course came at the right time when I was in much need of development in that area. And last year, the excellent leadership provided by the Association kept me well informed and equipped to lead during the Covid crisis.
Please pray that I would be encountering Jesus in fresh ways and be open to the opportunities that He provides.