How has he managed to “stay fresh over the long haul,” sustaining a 40-year ministry with the same congregation?

That question is often posed to Bill Brown, senior pastor of Syndal Baptist Church in Australia and national chair of Australian Baptist Ministries.

He shared his insights with during the Baptist World Alliance’s 2016 annual gathering in Vancouver, offering nine keys to long-term ministry.

These include:

  • Remember that the church is God’s and not the minister’s.
  • Stay close to God and to people, and bring the two together.
  • Model what you want others to do.

He also shared seven tips for remaining healthy and productive in carrying out one’s calling.

Drawing on Stephen Covey’s concept of “big rocks” that help prioritize what is important, some of Brown’s foundational practices that shape his ministry include:

  • Be a lifelong learner – physically, emotionally, relationally, intellectually and spiritually.
  • Be an extended family member and friend to neighbors, club members and so on.
  • Be a leadership developer – especially investing in younger leaders.

Brown served for 10 years as Syndal’s associate minister and then for the last 30 years as the congregation’s senior pastor. They average 900 to 1,000 in weekly worship attendance.

Other interviewees at BWA 2016 included Fine Ditoka of Fiji, Olu Menjay of Liberia and Sam Tolbert of the United States. They can be viewed here.

Five news stories written by Brian Kaylor, contributing editor at, about the BWA gathering are available here.

Pictures from the event can be viewed on the Facebook page and Pinterest page.

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