Today we welcome Laura Haines from Tasmania to Thinking of God. As part of the Ministry Matters series, we are taking a look at people in ministry across the country and finding out a little about them, about their work and about how God is working in their part of Australia. May you be encouraged as you learn more about Laura.
1. Hi Laura. Thanks for coming on Thinking of God. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi there, thanks for having me. I live in Hobart, Tasmania, originally I am from Canberra. I studied Psychology and Counseling at the University of Tasmania and after finishing my studies I did an MTS apprenticeship with the University Fellowship of Christians (the local students AFES group at UTAS). Now I work there full time!
I am married to a wonderful man named Chris, and we are members of Crossroads Presbyterian Church. He works as the office manager at the Christian Reformed Churches in Southern Tasmania Network. In my spare time you’ll find me watching Netflix with Chris, spending time with friends, or sewing something to wear.
2. How did you come into a relationship with Jesus?
I grew up in a Christian family and I thought I knew a lot about the Bible as a kid. When I was 10 years old we moved from Canberra to the rural north-west coast of Tasmania because my dad became a minster in the Anglican church and we were placed there with BCA (Bush Church Aid). It was only really when I was in my first year of high school that I put my faith in Jesus. I had been a bit of a bully to the less popular girls in my year and it took losing my friends for me to realise that the sin stuff that I had learned about from the Bible was a problem I had and that I needed Jesus for me to be right with God. So that’s when I knew I had to repent of my sin and accept Jesus as my Saviour and Lord.
3. What is one of your favourite Bible passages and why?
My favourite Bible passages change all the time, but one that has been a favourite for a while is Romans 8. It is a beautiful passage explaining the certain hope we have in Jesus, that nothing can separate us from His love. It also tells us that God helps us and doesn’t leave us to struggle through life alone. He adopts us as children, He gives us His Spirit who helps us as we wait for the glorious new creation. It’s a great summary of what happens when you become a Christian and it’s wonderful!
4. Can you tell us a little about how you are involved in ministry?
I work with Uni students at the University of Tasmania as an evangelist. I am also the only woman on staff currently so I do a fair bit of work with the female students too. A big part of what I do, apart from meeting with women to read the Bible, is running our outreach on campus which includes running mission weeks and evangelistic courses, and training students in how to run the courses. It’s not something that I imagined I would be doing when I started my ministry apprenticeship, but God has grown a love for it in me over the years. It is such a privilege to be able to share the gospel with students, some of whom don’t have any idea of what the Bible teaches at all, and to see some grasp it for the first time and come to faith. Being able to be a part of students becoming Christians is definitely the best part of the job!
5. What is something you have learnt from your time in ministry?
I have learnt a lot about God and His Word by working in ministry, and I still have a lot to learn! But I have learnt that God has plans for me, and He has plans for how His gospel will go out into the world, and when I ask Him to use me in whatever way He will for His kingdom work, that’s when life can be most unexpected, hard, and wonderful. I didn’t plan to be working in ministry when I was studying, but God had other plans and they have been far greater than my plans!
6. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering full-time ministry?
Do it! But don’t expect it to always be easy. Often it can feel like people don’t appreciate the effort you are putting in at the time, and Christians can disappoint you just as much as other people, we’re all human! But keeping humble, remembering that it’s God’s work, not your work that saves people, and faithful, trusting that if you are faithfully teaching the gospel that God will use you, are a couple of ways to keep on going.
There are so many great things about working in ministry, how many jobs are there where you get to keep working on your knowledge of God so intensely everyday?! But do make sure you have support from others. It can be easy to pour all your energy into other people or ministry events and have none left to stay sane, or to love your family. Make sure you have people and things which fill you up again.