Life In The Manse (Growing Up)

This is a brief piece I gave at the Celebration of 25 years ministry for Dad and Mum recently. It’s very much written to speak not to read. Also, I ad-libbed a bit in the actual talk.

It is a great privilege to be able to come before you today. Thank you to Gordon for asking me to speak on “Life in the Manse”.

In preparing I had to answer a number of important questions. Was growing up in the manse akin to being the child of a hollywood movie star? Spoiler alert: No. Not really. Was life in the manse a dreamy cascade of dancing through tulips swinging baskets of flowers through the air? Again, no .. Not really.

I’m incredibly thankful to God for the privilege of growing up in the manse.

We were at the coal-face of ministry. My Dad and Mum SERVED people for a job. Dad preached the gospel in and out of season. Mum gave of her time and energy to promote the gospel to all those around. And we grew up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD every single day.

I’d like to talk about growing up in the manse.

But fair warning, it is well known that my capacity to remember events is slightly biased and limited.


Chores were a part of our life from a very early age. As their name suggests, they weren’t fun and sometimes involved the spilling of blood, as this next unbiased and very accurate memory will show.

It was pre 87 in the kitchen of the manse in a sleepy little town called Miles, qld. A dispute erupted between Katy and myself over who would dry up the big sharp knife. I won’t make any judgement calls, but it was me, the placid and restrained personality that ended up with blood streaming from my thumb. Obviously I survived this vicious encounter a wiser and more refined character.

As we grew and got older, the chores increased in their complexity and variety. I believe it was here in Tamworth that the first ROSTER was created.

The Roster was a cause of much grimacing and griping. But in the end, a Roster provided stability.

And stability is what chores gave us. We would mumble and grumble, but doing the daily and weekly chores instilled discipline and work ethic.

At least, it did for me. But I’m the oldest, and we all know parents start slacking off after the first kid.


Life in the manse was heavily shaped by our relationships.

Manse life involves being a part of the church community. You share in all the different elements of people’s lives.

There are times of grief and times of joy.

Any given day at the manse could bring a whole range of emotion.

Lets face it, ministry is in large part made up of births, deaths and marriages.

It was an honour to watch and experience my Dad and Mum minister to all different people in all different situations.

Growing up in the manse taught me a great deal about life, it’s sudden changing nature, and what was really important.

That we hold on to the truth that is only found in trusting Jesus.

We All Went To The Polling Booth

The tension and pressure that whirls around politics has always been foreign to me. The first time I got to vote, it was at a youth camp up in the wilds near Tamworth. I voted for who my parents voted for. My good friend and political mind Gra was there, and still ribs me today for it.

It wasn’t because I couldn’t think through the issues, or worry over who would do this or that or where the country would go with my vote.

It was because, in the simple parts of my brain, it didn’t matter so much.

But that’s me. Politics ARE very important. They form part of God’s Will for our creation.

The Bible is very clear about respecting our leaders. It says to do it. Simple.

There’s a gentleman in the U.S. who has a blog about christian ministry. It’s really good. Heartfelt and passionate, broken and humble.

He wrote a piece called “On God’s Election of Obama”.

It’s a very clear rebuke (and encouragement) not to make an idol of politics and not to forget that our Almighty God is absolutely SOVEREIGN.

One line in particular hummed and sang in my heart as I read it.

The worst event in the history of the world is when we hung our Creator on a tree and let him die. We all went to the polling booth and said, “We will not have this man to rule over us.” We voted against the very incarnation of goodness, righteousness, and truth.

Ahhh, perspective. How good is that!


Thanks Mr C Michael Patton .. The Lord bless and keep you and yours.