Profile Rev. Ian Stehbens

Rev. Ian Stehbens has recently concluded a period of voluntary ministry in Tonga and returned to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, in Imbil.

He has a very strong commitment to ministry of the 'whole body of Christ' and therefore seeks to equip and release Christians to use their gifts, so that the congregation becomes an authentic, evangelistic and therapeutic community from which diverse ministries emerge. He regards both personal and congregational maturity as one that is enriched by and can celebrate the traditions of holiness, social justice, charismatic renewal, evangelical witness and sacramental life.

He loves photography and is a family historian, loves walking on the beach, delights in his grandchildren, hikes in the wilderness and intends to climb the east face of Tibrogargan soon and take up sculpting.

During parish ministry, he initiated new congregations including the planting of a new church in a rural residential area on Brisbane's fringe. In that church more than 70% of the congregation had never previously belonged to any church.

He comes from a rural childhood, where he was nurtured by a loving Methodist community that developed his trust in Jesus Christ a concern for refugees, a love for the environment, and a deep appreciation of the value of community.

Ian has qualifications in education, geography, health ecology, science and theology. His professional life began in education, and he taught in Queensland secondary education for more than 20 years, and was honoured by his peers for his contributions to geographical education in Australia. Then he and his wife Margaret, were called into set apart ministry and ordained int he Uniting Church in 1990.

Currently he is the director of PeaceBuilders International which he founded. In this capacity, he serves in various international contexts as a consultant peacebuilder, teacher and training director. His recent work includes post-conflict reconciliation in Solomon Islands, peace and justice teaching in Tonga, consultant to the Bali Christian Church, peace monitor in Indonesia and Timor Leste and key trainer at intensive programs conducted in Makassar, Indonesia, in major cities of New Zealand and in Sydney.

Previously he was for 14 years the principle, Alan Walker College of Evangelism, Sydney. The College was established as a non-formal education institute to research and teach responsible and effective evangelism, and it was in this capacity that he introduced councelling training to many churches of the Pacific empowering women and men as transformers of their societies and that he was called to address the issues of violence and conflict in the SW Pacific and SE Asia