Q&A with our director

Rev Simon Gillham

Rev Simon Gillham is the director of the Centre for Global Mission, and has been the head of Department of Mission at Moore College since January 2016.

He was ordained as a deacon and priest in 2000 at Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle and has a strong background in pastoral ministry, church planting in Australia and abroad, as well as theological education and ministry training in a cross-cultural context. He worked at Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) for a total of 8 years where, as acting principal, he oversaw a major curriculum review and its subsequent accreditation. He has also been involved in consultations in Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya and his papers are extensively published.

What excites you the most about leading the Centre for Global Mission?

We have tremendous resources in and around Moore College and amongst our graduates. The centre lets us harness those for other theological institutions which are struggling in other parts of the world. I’m really excited that we can be part of levelling the playing field and seeing that our resources in Sydney are shared much more broadly and readily. The centre gives us the opportunity to engage a much bigger group of people and to better organise our response.

What sorts of resources are you focusing on?

In theological education in the developing world, sometimes it’s about money but there are other major issues with which Moore College is in a position to help – in terms of knowledge and resources for teaching, for running an institution, an IT department that develops databases and online learning platforms.

“The centre lets us harness those for other theological institutions which are struggling in other parts of the world.”

Before joining the ministry, in the 1990s you served for five years in the NSW Police Service, in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. How did you make the leap from being a policeman to running churches?

For my last few years in the police service I was a field trainer, which involves training rookies on the job, and I loved it. I realised I could continue to train people for a job that’s important but has a limited lifespan, or train people for a job that makes a difference for eternity. That was what brought me over into Christian ministry. Right from the start it was about training for me.

How has that policing background informed the work you do now?

Whatever work you do shapes you for the next thing. One of the things I’ve gained from policing is that I don’t get flustered easily, I tend not to get scared or panic, I come across fewer and fewer things that I regard as real “emergencies”. It gives you a perspective and a calm assurance. Importantly, I was exposed to a side of the world that I might not have seen otherwise – from hardened criminals, to people who were struggling with drug addiction, to celebrities and politicians and popular figures. It is an important skill to be able to speak to all kinds of people.

You’ve got an extensive background in planting churches. What inspired that aspect of your calling to ministry?

I’ve always felt attracted to do things which needed to be done and which didn’t have other people lining up to do them. I’ve tended to go to areas where the needs are greater; where there are fewer churches and the resources are thinly stretched. In the Hunter Valley, or in Namibia, or in the South West of Sydney, there are great needs in all kinds of places.

“I’ve always felt attracted to do things which needed to be done and which didn’t have other people lining up to do them.”

When you worked at NETS you led staff from seven denominations, 10 nations and many cultural groupings. What was the most rewarding aspect of working in a team with such a variety of backgrounds?

The biggest challenge is in communication. Particularly as you cross cultures, there’s a heightened chance of mucking up communication and misunderstanding someone else, or being misunderstood, and that’s the real challenge – to get to know and love others well enough so that you have a good sense of what they hear when you speak.

Would you like to help resource our mission partners?

Moore College’s vision is evangelical and international. Our students are from a wide range of church and cultural contexts. Based in Sydney at our Newtown campus, our College provides ministers for the Anglican Church in Sydney, as well as other Diocese and denominations. Moore also trains workers for ministries to children, youth, families and cross-cultural mission. We offer enrolments in diploma, graduate, postgraduate and distance courses.