Developing as a Preacher in Your First Five Years

Most of us have preached a bit before going into vocational ministry, but there’s a world of difference between preaching occasionally and preaching regularly. As a result, many of us struggle in our first five years. What are some of the pitfalls in this period? How can we improve?

Des Smith

Church: Trinity Church Lockleys, Adelaide Role: Senior Pastor Des is married to Suzie and they have four children. Des grew up in a church home, became a Christian at 18, and is grateful for the great preachers God has used to feed him the gospel over the years.

Toby Neal

Toby’s journey to becoming Lead Pastor at Vine Church started more than 15 years ago when he took off to surf the reef breaks off Samoa with his brother. Worried for his safety, his dad asked him, “Why are you risking your life surfing when you could be risking it telling people about Jesus?” The lure of the waves proved too strong and Toby still went to Samoa, but he came back with a desire to travel throughout the Middle East sharing the hope and freedom that only Jesus brings. He may not be risking his life talking about Jesus in Surry Hills, but Toby does think most people in our city are too distracted to give time to think through the claims of Jesus, and believes someone needs to help ‘undistractify’ them in order to save theirs. Toby originally studied accounting and finance (B Com (Acc), B App Fin) and worked in the industry for a couple of years before moving into church work. He has worked for St Philip’s York Street, St Andrew’s Cathedral and Christ Church Gladesville. In 2011 he graduated with a B Divinity (Honours 2A) at Moore Theological College and is ordained as a Presbyter in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. Toby lives in Surry Hills with his wife Liz and his three kids Maisy, Evie and Archer. He enjoys staying fit, and has competed in the Port Macquarie Ironman and Six Foot Track Marathon. These days he mostly just surfs at Bronte and Maroubra Beach.