Willow Creek Australia exists
to see people meet God…
Willow Creek Australia exists to see people meet God in a real and personal way, dedicate themselves to follow Him and as a result grow in Christlikeness through loving people and meeting them at their points of need.
We believe that this mission is best and most effectively carried out by a community of Christ followers, exploring faith and growing and serving together.
We know this community as the local church, in its many different cultural and denominational expressions.
We believe that for churches to thrive in their mission they need to be well-led. So Willow Creek’s particular focus is on partnering with Christian leaders to inspire, equip and encourage them.
Meet The Board
Meet the board at Willow Creek Australia
Stu is the Lead Minister of Newlife Uniting Church on the Gold Coast, where he has served for more than 10 yeaSturs. Newlife is a large, growing, contemporary and diverse community with a vision to see ‘more people, more like Jesus.’
Newlife has been a GLS host site for many years and Stu has attended and supported many Willow events, both in Australia and North America. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the WCAA Board.
Stu is passionate about evangelism, leadership and seeing the local church thrive and flourish. He is married to Sue and they have 2 young adult children, Joel and Emily.
He cheers for the Adelaide Crows (loudly) and plays golf (badly).
Karen Wilson is the WA State Director for Baptist Women’s Ministry and an itinerant preacher around Australia. She has had many years’ experience with the Willow Creek Association hosting GLS events. She has been in pastoral ministry for many years and was the Executive Director for the GLS Asia for 2006-2011. Karen is married to Mark and has two adult children and one daughter-in-law.
Karen has always had a love for working with people from all walks of life. Her passion is in seeing them grow and develop to their full potential. She enjoys communicating and has a pastoral, relational approach to leadership.
In her spare time she loves anything adventurous or to do with people – anything from skydiving to coffee with a friend.
Graham Humphris has been a Uniting Church Minister for 30 plus years. He was Senior Minister at Aberfoyle Uniting Church (now Seeds) for 16 years and CEO/General Secretary for 8 years.
He has had many years’ experience with the Willow Creek Association as Chairman of the Board, National Director and longtime supporter of the GLS.
Graham is married to Janis and they have 3 adult children who have all now left home!
Graham is passionate about seeing churches proclaim Jesus so that lives are changed and people grow to become mature disciples. Over the last few years his key emphases have been on visionary leadership, strategic planning, and organisational transformation,leadership development, coaching and managing change.
In his spare time he supports Port Power in the AFL and tends his fruit trees.
Leonie Wright is a Senior Pastor at Kardinia Church, working alongside her husband Rick; they have been senior leaders for 20 years. Kardinia has 5 campuses across Victoria, Geelong, Melbourne, Warrnambool and Ballarat. Kardinia Church also operates 2 Childcare and Kindergarten centres, an indoor Playcafe and Outlet café.
She has been involved with Willow Creek Association hosting GLS for 9 years, also participating in the production team for GLS Victoria.
Leonie and Rick have 3 adult children,a son and 2 married daughters.
Leonie’s passion is about reaching and seeing people come to know Jesus and seeing them know their God given purpose in life. She uses her time to strategically plan for the entire organisation and ensures leaders are being continuously developed.
Steve Fitzallen is the Senior Minister at Door of Hope Christian Church, Launceston, Tasmania where he has served for 18 years. Door of Hope is a large, diverse, community focussed church with a vision of being a door of hope, through Jesus Christ, in a fragile and uncertain world.
He has had many years’ experience with the Willow Creek Association hosting GLS events since its commencement in Australia in 2005 and travelling to Chicago of a few occasions to attend the live event.
Steve has been married to Karen for 18 years and together they have 2 children.
Steve has a genuine love for people and a passion to help them grown and change to be more like Jesus. Steve is an encouraging voice inspiring and motivating others to a life of purpose and impact.
Scott Cochrane serves on the executive team for the Willow Creek Association, as Vice President, International Ministries.
Scott was born and raised in Canada, where he became connected to the Willow Creek Association, first as a marketing director and later as the ministry’s Chief Operating Officer. Following a 5 year stint as Executive Pastor of a large church,
Scott returned to Willow Creek Canada in 2009 as Executive Director, and in 2012 relocated to Illinois to take up his current post with the Willow Creek Association.
Scott has been married to Nora since 1985, and they have 3 grown married children, Adam, Amy and John.
Allan Demond is the Senior Pastor of NewHope Baptist Church in Victoria, where he has served since 1995, the Executive Director of NewHope Community Care Inc. and an adjunct lecturer at Whitley College.
He has served on various Boards in Canada and Australia and currently sits on both state and national leadership bodies in the Australian Baptist movement. Allan has benefited enormously from the ministry of Willow Creek over many years and has participated in and hosted numerous Willow Creek events.
As a pastor and an educator for more than 30 years Allan is passionate about individual transformation, institutional renewal and the re-visioning of the church. He enjoys serving as a communicator, mentor and strategist and he celebrates the privilege of walking with many creative and godly colleagues who have shared his journey of trial and error, pain and progress, at the coalface of local ministry.
Allan is married to Janet who is an artist and they have three adult children.
Andy is the Team Leader of the Hillsong Leadership Network – connecting with and training leaders around the world with the principles and practises to grow a healthy local church.
Since attending the GLS as a teenager back in the UK (even skipping school to do so), he has held an unshakeable belief that the local Church is the hope of the world, and is committed to helping churches of all sizes, styles and denominations realise their untapped potential.
Andy sits on the Executive team that organises the Hillsong and Colour Conferences, and is the series producer of “The Leadership Collective” on the Hillsong Channel.
He and his wife Naomi live in Sydney with their baby boy Crusoe.
Meet The Staff
Meet the staff of Willow Creek Australia
Liz McNamee is the Executive Coordinator at Newlife Uniting Church and has been on staff for over 12 years. Liz has been instrumental in the transition and transferring of knowledge in the relocation of the Willow Creek office to Newlife.She will remain in an executive role, resourcing the Board, overseeing the Administrator and office for one day per week.
Liz has been involved in Global Leadership Summits over the past 7 years and last year was an event coordinator. She is passionate about using her skills, gifts and position at Newlife to resource Willow Creek Australia achieve its mission.
Bronwyn Nance will be the voice you hear when calling Willow Creek Australia. She will serve Willow Creek in an administrative role.
Bronwyn, comes with a vast array of experience including her previous employment as ministry assistant at Parramatta Baptist Church and Koorong. She has also served in volunteer roles within her local church.
Bronwyn, is married to Andrew and the mother of 3 young boys. She is very excited about her new role and looks forward to what God will do in and through her.
Phil Thomson serves as our Executive Officer. Phil is passionate about equipping Christian leaders in the local church and the marketplace with practical, Christ-centred leadership training. He has experience in both the business sector and faith community, and is a qualified Leadership Coach, Trainer and Speaker, certified with the John Maxwell Team. He enjoys partnering in ministry with his wife Bel Thomson (award-winning Christian singer, songwriter and speaker). They have recently welcomed their first child Michael, with whom Phil is looking forward to sharing his love of the Liverpool Football Club.
National Producer GLS
Ann Fair has a background in education and music, and experience in church leadership positions for over thirty years, and most recently as Conference President of Churches of Christ in Vic/Tas. Having trained in the programming of church services and events at Willow Creek in Chicago, Ann served ten years leading creative arts at Door of Hope Christian Church, a highly innovative 500+ church in Launceston, and has been participating annually in the international GLS producers team in Chicago since 2008.
Ann understands the local church scene in Australia and the use of creative arts to enhance the learning experience, and has served as National Producer for the GLS in Australia for the past 8 years.
Digital Design & Communications Manager
Danny manages marketing and digital design for Willow Creek Australia. With over 15 years of industry experience, Danny is passionate about keeping up to date with the latest developments in web technologies. Danny is passionate about creating positive experiences for users online because if we get it right, these experiences create lasting connections with people and results in growth.
Danny is married to Naomi and together they have 3 boys which he loves spending time with and exploring the local BMX tracks or bush walks on the weekends.
We seek to serve and support leaders across three focal areas
We focus on the emotional and spiritual health of leaders. If leaders are unhealthy then their churches and movements will be unhealthy. Evidence suggests that over half of the Christian leaders in Australia consider themselves to be less than healthy, either due to overwork, stress or unhealthy practices. Our goal is to connect leaders with teaching, resources and avenues to support so they can live and lead in healthy ways.
When a leader gets better everyone wins. Leaders grow in their leadership capacity through intentional development pathways. Leadership capacity can’t be developed in one day or one event – it is a daily discipline of learning and practice. So Willow Creek trains and resources leaders through its conferences, resources, networks and online programs.
We don’t focus on leadership for leadership’s sake. We seek to see healthy and skilled leaders leading transformational movements that seek to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth through living the gospel in word and action. So we seek to equip and inspire leaders in areas of evangelism, discipleship and care and compassion.
What We Believe
Willow Creek Australia holds to the beliefs of the international Willow Creek community outlined here.
- The Bible is God’s unique revelation to people. It is the inspired, infallible Word of God, and the supreme and final authority on all matters upon which it teaches. No other writings are vested with such divine authority.
- There is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, who exists eternally as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each fully God yet each personally distinct from the other.
- All people are created in God’s image and matter deeply to Him. Central to the message of the Bible is that God loves people, and invites them to live in communion with Himself and in community with each other.
- Apart from Jesus Christ, all people are spiritually lost and, because of sin, deserve the judgment of God. However, God gives salvation and eternal life to anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ and in His sacrifice on his or her behalf. Salvation cannot be earned through personal goodness or human effort. It is a gift that must be received by humble repentance and faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
- Jesus Christ, second Person of the Trinity, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless human life, willingly took upon Himself all of our sins, died and rose again bodily, and is at the right hand of the Father as our advocate and mediator. Some day, He will return to consummate history and to fulfill the eternal plan of God.
- The Holy Spirit, third Person of the Trinity, convicts the world of sin and draws people to Christ. He also indwells all believers. He is available to empower them to lead Christ-like lives, and gives them spiritual gifts with which to serve the church and reach out to a lost and needy world.
- Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. At the final judgment, unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. Believers will be received into God’s loving presence and rewarded for their faithfulness to Him in this life.
- All believers are members of the body of Christ, the one true church universal. Spiritual unity is to be expressed among Christians by acceptance and love of one another across ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, national, generational, gender, and denominational lines.
- The local church is a congregation of believers who gather for worship, prayer, instruction, encouragement, mutual accountability, and community with each other. Through it, believers invest time, energy, and resources to fulfill the Great Commission – reaching lost people and growing them into fully devoted followers of Christ.