From Dreadlocks to University Chaplain: Young Adult Mission and Ministry Developer Announces Farewell
Tom Schmidt, the LCAQD Young Adult Mission and Ministry Developer, has announced that he will be leaving his position in October this year. Tom has played a significant role in the lives of young adults throughout the LCAQD for 9 years. In this time he has supported many young adults moving to Brisbane, as well as being a voice for young adults to the wider church. He leaves this role to take on a new position as Chaplaincy Coordinator for Griffith University.
Read more about Tom, from bare foot, dreadlocked teenager to ministry worker:
I was an 18-year-old with dreadlocks who walked around in bare feet. The last thing I had on my mind was to get involved in paid ministry. Obviously, God had different plans. Attending a state-wide Lutheran youth camp, my heart was gripped by the love, grace and power of God in a life-changing way. My life was forever on a different trajectory.
As I wrestled with the implications of what this looked like in my life and what the next steps were, I was surrounded by caring adults who listened, supported me, spoke into my identity and called out my potential.
As a country kid who had moved to the big smoke, This community had quickly surrounded me and cared for me in numerous ways, from meeting my very basic needs to helping me discern God’s voice and call on my life. They regularly Picked me up (I wrote off my car within the first few weeks of moving to the city) and drove me to various church events and fed me more times than I can remember. I vividly remember riding in a passenger seat of an old postal van where the front doors slid open and we would often drive with the door wide open to and from my place. I can’t recall the number of times I was handed arms full of leftovers or invited around for dinner as they knew I was a “poor uni Bum”.
It was in the midst of this community and the very real encounter with God that It all became quite clear very quickly that God had different plans for me than I had imagined, I finished up what I was studying at Tafe and enrolled in Bible college. I knew that God had called me into paid ministry with young people.
As I continued this journey there became more and more adults who trusted me and gave me so many opportunities to explore and grow in the gifts that I was discovering God had blessed me with. It felt like an incredible time to be alive and the possibilities of what God might do seemed en
For the past nine years, I have had the privilege to help countless young adults have a similar experience. To have their bellies filled and sent home with leftovers. To encounter the alive and almighty God in a real and personal way, to be transformed by Love, Grace and the renewing of hearts and minds. To help create places where young people belong, are embraced in whatever life stage they are and are encouraged to grow into all of their potential.
I am continually in awe at what I see in our young people and what I see God doing through them. They are full of Hope and energy and courage. They are resilient and passionate about so many good things. They are aware of their flaws and are always seeking opportunities to grow. They are insightful and realistic about the state of the world and still full of hope for what Could be and their role in it.
When I think of all the young adults that I have had a small or large part in journeying with over these years, I am full of pride and hope and joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to have hundreds if not thousands of hours of conversations that have shaped and supported and encouraged so many lives. I’m excited about what they will do next and who they will become. I know that our hospitals and schools, our building sites and banks are full of the presence of God and are in good hands because these people are stepping into these places fully aware of God’s call in them.
Our young people are world changers. They have what it takes.
Do we believe that? Do we trust that? Are we ready for that in our own lives and our own churches? This is the key question we must all ask.
As I move onto a new chapter as Chaplaincy Coordinator for Griffith Uni, I am excited to continue the good work God has called me to, of helping young people know and live into all that they are; to know they are loved and that grace changes everything.
I’m grateful for every young person who has trusted me to speak into their life in even a small way.
I’m grateful for every leader who tirelessly seeks to bring the Gospel to our young people knowing this is the most important work we have to do as a church.
I’m grateful for every adult who has taken the steps to engage with young people in their lives and show the love and support and nurture that our young people so desperately need.
I’m grateful for my time working with both LYQ and with the Mission and Ministry department and I look forward to continuing to work in partnership to help young people know God’s grace and meaningfully belong in community.
Young Adult Mission & Ministry Developer
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