Interview: Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor plans to plant a church in Sydney with Sovereign Grace Ministries. We're Facebook friends :-)

Christian Reflections: What books have been especially helpful in your thinking over the last few years?

Dave: 'Living the Cross Centered Life' by C.J.Mahaney, 'The Reformation' by Stephen Nichols, 'Spurgeon' by Arnold Dallimore, 'Simple Church' by Thom Rainer, 'Down Under' by Bill Bryson.

CR: Can you tell us a bit about where you're from and what your past ministry experience is?

Dave: I grew up in Spalding, England, in a small rural church. I moved to Cardiff, Wales at the age of eighteen to attend university. At that time, the Gospel didn't sparkle before me... However, following a series of sinful major blunders in my life... the Gospel began to sparkle, and I was amazed that God would save me…

...After many months [my pastor, Pete Greasley] started to engage me with the question, "What do [you] want to do with [your] life?" It took some time, but... in 2000 I headed off to America... to be a part of the Sovereign Grace Pastors' College to continue my training. It was a great year! I not only got to learn theology, I saw the Gospel worked out in the Church, in marriages, in parenting, and in friendships. For a whole year I got to be a part of C.J.Mahaney's care group… it was a rich time.

I returned to a two-year internship at... the church that sent me to college... I had the privilege of getting involved in almost everything from worship leading to running Christianity Explored... I also had the privilege of helping Pete in his church planting work, watching two local churches get planted...

I then became Executive Pastor of Christchurch... and in God's kindness seeing the Church go into a new phase of their story...

CR: What do you think is fair about the critique of the 'reformed charismatic' movement that's come out of Sydney?

Dave: To be honest this is a tricky one because at the moment I'm still trying to figure out who exactly it is that speaks on behalf of Sydney? It doesn't take long to realise that this is a very current topic... the discussion seems wide and varied as you read through people's comments…

However, answering this question in relation to the 'headlines' I'd say that I think the critique of 'reformed' is very fair.... The challenge for me relates to the critique of 'charismatic'. It seems to have been narrow and one size fits all which is just not the case and that's why we made the decision to put a short video on our website... to hopefully avoid us being put into this narrow 'charismatic' box.

CR: What contact have you had with Australian church leaders so far? What's their responses and advice?

Dave: One of the best things about this season has been the overwhelming kindness and support I have received from pastors in Sydney and beyond. Apart from a couple of challenging emails, the overarching welcome from folk has been so encouraging and kind to myself, my family, and Sovereign Grace Ministries. Big shout out to Sydney…. Thankyou!!

CR: How will you maintain a focus on evangelism, rather than simply attracting Christians attracted to the Sovereign Grace Ministries brand?

Dave: To be honest, this is a new one for me. Here in the UK practically no one would care if Sovereign Grace Ministries, or any other movement really, were planting in a city near you. Folks don't tend to follow 'brands' over here... I guess my answer to this question would be two-fold;

'Won't do' – What we wont do is to try and unsettle folk who are in other churches and seek to attract them to us on the premise of 'come with us, we'll do you good'.

'Will do' – What we will be doing is preaching 'Christ and Him crucified' and positioning folk as best we can... If people are truly amazed by the Gospel in heart and action, and if there are appropriate private and public structures in place to facilitate evangelism, then I believe that this will help keep our focus clear.

It is my prayer that the focus would not be on anyone's brand, but on the Gospel, on Jesus and all that He has done for us. It isn't therefore our heart to come and just 'attract', it's our heart to come and be 'co-labourers of the Gospel' with others wherever we can.