About Brisbane North Salvation Army
|Leadership: Two senior co-leaders plus ministry team|
When Donna and Craig Todd began their time at North Brisbane Salvos, they wanted to develop a clear and owned vision, in collaboration with their churchgoers. The year before their arrival, the church had benefitted from transitional leaders, to help the church navigate the change, from past long-term leader to new long-term leaders. So as part of their arrival, they established a process whereby all churchgoers could journal, pray and talk together about their discernments for God’s call on the church and set directions together.
This is one approach that reflects the collaborative style and mentoring that appear not only in Donna and Craig’s leadership style, but throughout the leadership team we interviewed.
Also intentional in their approach are the welcoming facilities and social spaces of the church. As you make your way towards the entrance your eyes are drawn across a large green leafy block of land to a children’s playground, a basketball court, a shaded courtyard with garden borders and party lights, then a wide curved driveway to the door. It speaks welcome, ease and accessibility. In its physical character, the space looks social, built for connection, fun, and sharing life, before you even meet a person.
The church has an OpShop facility on site and many community connections and program partnerships, with schools, local businesses, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Throughout our conversations, it seemed clear this church’s leadership team have a zest for life, they appear generous in their tones and actions. They are not afraid to summon a determined passion as they consider “What will you fight for?”, whether in advocacy, social justice action or service, which heralds back to the roots of the Salvation Army. There is also a joy, as they express gratitude for the generosity of God and mimic that characteristic.
That’s not to say their load is light. The number of community initiatives, groups, services and activities on their Facebook page alone shows a church who is highly active and life-giving, investing in many people around them.
In balance to all that, the leaders spoke clearly and honestly about sustainability, about the need to ensure people have time off, to recreate, to play and relax. In fact one church camp involved water skiing, camping and rest, as well as devotional reflection.
Not only in the language, but around the church you see their values, their mission and their strategies clearly communicated- to connect people, to love them and involve them, and ultimately to grow followers of Christ. From the photo boards to the Hub desk in the foyer, there are concrete ways people can constantly connect in, feel a sense of belonging, and get involved.
As you dig deeper in conversation, there exist clear intentional pathways from a person walking up to the church, or clicking on their social media or website, to be welcomed as a visitor, invited to get involved and resourced to mature as a follower of Christ. These strategic plans and programs are all clearly expressed throughout the leadership team.
This may be the Salvos way, but there is a sense of authentic care and interest in their approach to connecting with and caring for people, from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, to nurture hope wherever it is needed most. Trust is also identified as a central goal for developing and releasing new leaders. As Craig says “I trust you” is a key phrase he says, supporting and resourcing leaders, rather than micromanaging a set of administrative tasks, this approach is set on mentoring and growing leadership potential in people.
The culture of learning and trying new things is quite evident. The leaders spoke easily of what they’d been reading, who they’d spoken to about a new idea, and how they’d tried something new, taken a risk and then reviewed. The establishment of a new church service on a Saturday night involved significant preparation time, developing a team, resourcing them well to become sustainable. This constant willingness to try something, regroup, to remain relevant to the needs of their community and to think forward into the future, was also quite evident, and reflected in one of their reflection series on “Growing Young”.
Lastly, both Donna and Craig say one of their goals is to foster a diverse range of new leaders, and are happy to make sure lots of faces are represented in up front roles, including a balance of genders, cultures and ages. Their Sisterhood Rising program seeks to nurture women in leadership and the Mosaic program aims to celebrate and include people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds in leadership roles and positions.
In 2021, leaders Donna and Craig Todd give us their reflections on how the COVID-19 restrictions have impacted on church life and leadership, as well as an encouragement to other leaders.
Read their reflection on the impact of COVID-19 on church life here.
Stories from North Brisbane Salvation Army
Browse through some of the stories and wisdom that leaders of North Brisbane Salvos shared with us, on how they enliven their ministry and church life.